The SMART programme uses movement and play to help children experience, a sense of safety, security and regulation in their systems. It is unique in the world of therapy in that it brings together techniques from the disciplines of Psychotherapy and Sensory Integration, by drawing on elements from both areas of practice SMART enables the therapist to provide a full expression of both mind and body techniques. Research has shown that working with movement and the body is key in healing trauma, as it supports the restoration of balance in the nervous system and helps bring about long term healing ( see evidence page for more info) ...
History of Smart:
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 trauma in their background, regulation of emotional, behavioural 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.
"Stressed out children function like threatened animals –they are unable to learn, attend, concentrate, enjoy friendships, play and problems solve."
Why SMART ?
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.
The SMART model 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.
The therapy typically takes places in a 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.
SMART also follows an attachment approach and during sessions the therapist acts as a source of regulation for the child.