Sensory treatment approaches offer a person-centered, strength oriented, skill building model of care. Sensory strategies initially focus on an essential underlying building block of self-awareness and self-acceptance. They then help a person move from self-awareness to self-regulation and on to self-care and eventually to self-healing. This approach complements other components of treatment including medical care and psychosocial interventions. It can enhance your culture of care and improve therapeutic prevention and intervention strategies as people become invested in their own physical and mental health.
Treatment strategies include individual treatment, group treatment and the development of sensory sensitive environments including sensory rooms and comfort spaces. Treatment can also include individualized sensory diets to foster comfort as well as function. Sensory input can be used effectively with people with cognitive difficulties or language barriers. Coping skills and strategies can be carried over to the home environment; family members and care providers become partners in recovery as they learn ways to support their loved ones in times of crisis or discomfort.
Sensory approaches add tools and strategies that support Trauma Informed Care and Restraint and Seclusion Reduction Initiatives. The atypical sensory experiences resulting from trauma cause abnormal sensory responses that cannot be addressed through traditional psychosocial models of treatment alone. Researchers and leaders in treatment for trauma including Beth Caldwell, Emily Holmes, Kevin Huckshorn, Janice LeBell, Robert Macy, Richard Mollica, and Stephen Porges are affirming the necessity of body oriented therapies (see references). Sensory approaches are not only supported by regulatory agencies such as JCAHO but these agencies look for the competent use of sensory modalities and sensory rooms by staff from all disciplines. JCAHO will be looking for ways that treatment will be integrated into discharge plans and community re-entry.
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