A Pilot RCT of A Body-Oriented Group Therapy For Complex Trauma Survivors: An Adaptation of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy

J Trauma Dissociation. 2021 Jan-Feb;22(1):52-68. doi: 10.1080/15299732.2020.1760173. Epub 2020 May 18.


This study is a pilot randomized controlled trial that examined the efficacy of a body-oriented group therapy designed to address chronic fear states in the body due to complex trauma. The Trauma and the Body Group (TBG) is a 20-session group psychotherapy that draws upon the principles and techniques of sensorimotor psychotherapy. Thirty-two women with a history of childhood trauma were randomized to immediate treatment or a waitlist control condition. Assessments were conducted one month prior to treatment, immediately after treatment, and six months post-treatment. Significant improvements were found in body awareness, anxiety, and soothing receptivity when comparing treatment to no treatment. The TBG appears to be a valuable tool for helping clients acquire mindfulness and self soothing skills that they can use to reduce posttraumatic symptoms. This study provides preliminary evidence that the TBG provides complex trauma survivors an opportunity to challenge their avoidance of two prominent trauma-related triggers - their bodies and interpersonal relationships - and in so doing may help survivors develop greater body awareness, increase their capacity for self and relational soothing, and reduce their anxiety symptoms.

Keywords: Complex PTSD; child sexual abuse; chronic traumatization; group therapy; impact of trauma; innovative treatments; interpersonal relationships; outcome; somatic psychotherapy; treatment efficacy.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult Survivors of Child Abuse*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mindfulness*
  • Psychotherapy
  • Psychotherapy, Group*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic* / therapy
  • Treatment Outcome