SMART (Sensory Motor Arousal Regulation Treatment) was initiated to explore and expand the repertoire of regulating experiences for children and their caregivers with the aim of nurturing healing and growth. For children with complex trauma in their background, regulation of emotional, behavioral and interpersonal life is exceedingly difficult. Thus, they find it difficult to live peacefully with their families, to make friends, and to learn in school. By adding a new array of strategies to the standard mental health therapy repertoire, we can better help children become more organized, playful, and expressive in their everyday lives. Caregivers can learn these strategies in the context of the therapy, while they work in tandem with the therapist.
This mental health team draws on expertise from the worlds of trauma-focused psychotherapy, sensorimotor psychotherapy, sensory integration, play therapy, attachment and family therapy, developmental psychology and human development. In the room developed especially for this purpose, children can playfully use big pillows, weighted blankets, balance beams, art materials and other equipment that call for full engagement of the whole body and mind.
This new therapy approach for treatment of trauma is designed to be helpful to children and caregivers alike. Caregivers often have their own needs to learn how to be present and calm as parents because of personal history or current stressors. Often strategies learned with their children are useful to adults. Either through participation in the child's therapy, or through private parent guidance work, caregivers can benefit from this approach.
For SMART Program information, please contact Elizabeth Warner at 617-734-5770, x3.