Information for Psychotherapists

OTA The Koomar Center is committed to working with individuals who have had trauma experiences and/or attachment challenges. After recognizing many clients receiving services at OTA also had trauma and attachment histories, our late president, Dr. Koomar, began to seek out collaborative partnerships with colleagues across disciplines to establish effective treatment models to best support our clients.

According to research, individuals who have experienced trauma can have challenges in how they process sensory information and self-regulation skills. These challenge areas can be supported by occupational therapy. Many of our therapists have received specialized training in working with children, adolescents, and adults with trauma and attachment difficulties. The complexity and profound effect that trauma and attachment can have on an individual requires a collaborative model of professionals. Our therapists work closely with psychologists and mental health clinicians to support the multi-faceted challenges these individuals present with. Additionally, our therapists receive monthly consultations with a psychologist who specializes in trauma to further our awareness and model of care.

Many therapists have also received extensive training from Dr. Dan Hughes, a clinical psychologist who has devised the Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy model, an attachment-focused treatment that relies heavily on the theories and research of attachment and intersubjectivity to guide his model of treatment and parenting.

Dr. Hughes and the late Dr. Koomar presented together across the country teaching their SAFE PLACE model Sensory Attunement Focused Environments + Playfulness Love Acceptance Curiosity Empathy – Parenting Strategies for Facilitating Attachment and Sensory Regulation. Their DVD is available for purchase.

Dr. Koomar was also a coauthor of the Trauma Center/JRI SMART Approach Manual, a child trauma psychotherapy model involving OT training and initial supervision when employing the SMART model. The addition of sensory integration principles for regulation within child psychotherapy has been observed to significantly improve the efficacy of the child psychotherapy model.

Children with Developmental Trauma Disorder

OTA provides occupational and speech therapy with a sensory integration approach. Many children with trauma and attachment diagnoses also can be diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder (also referred to as Sensory Integration Dysfunction).

Sensory processing problems occur in two dimensions. The first, sensory modulation problems, result in regulatory issues and sensory over-responsiveness that contribute to emotional and behavioral difficulties. The second is sensory discrimination or perceptual problems that result in motor coordination and planning, or praxis, problems affecting oral, eye-hand and/or body skills such as eating, handwriting and sports participation. It can be difficult to know sometimes if the sensory modulation problems are the result of trauma or something that has occurred since birth due to genetic, environmental or birthing process issues. Sensory Modulation problems from birth may contribute to the child’s vulnerability in developing traumatic symptoms.

Detail the sensory integration issues, providing a more complete profile in combination with trauma assessments and neuropsychological assessments.

Addresses regulatory needs affecting social emotional development and many daily activities as well as improvement of body scheme and development of perceptual and motor skills. Intervention provides sensory motor experiences that lay the foundation for all other areas of development.

Occupational Therapy with a Sensory Integrative Approach is based on 10 Core Principles

Physical Engagement Elements

Process Elements

Adult and Adolescent Services

OTA The Koomar Center offers the highest quality evaluation and treatment to adolescents and adults. Many adolescents and adults have sensory processing disorders that make daily activities challenging or even impossible. For example, auditory sensitivities may interfere with the ability to work, ride public transportation, and participate in family activities. Tactile defensiveness is often related to difficulties with intimacy with a spouse or significant other and frequently affects interpersonal relations with friends, co-workers, and family. Vestibular processing problems affect the ability to drive, ride in airplanes, and engage in daily activities such as descending stairs, riding a bike, walking on uneven surfaces.

OTA is very happy to work in conjunction with psychotherapists to orchestrate the process of an assessment and intervention plan so that it works well for each individual client. Some psychotherapists accompany their clients to the initial session.

Evaluation Process

We tailor the initial consult, evaluation and treatment approach to meet the individual’s needs. A free initial consult can take place over the phone or in the clinic. The therapist will decide with the individual the best approach for a comprehensive evaluation, which typically takes the form of a consultation or interview. During this process the therapist will obtain an in-depth clinical history to determine the type and nature of the client’s sensory integration and motor problems and how those difficulties are affecting participation and occupations, as well as the client’s social-emotional state. Please contact Melanie Salort, our intake coordinator, for more information at

Therapy Process

Therapy may include specific programs such as listening therapy or cranial sacral therapy. OTA provides three different choices following a listening assessment at various price points.

  1. Therapeutic Listening
  2. The Listening Program
  3. Integrated Listening Systems

After the assessment a home program with consultation or direct weekly therapy may be recommended. Typically intervention is most effective if it can be started with an intensive period of treatment where the individual can observe significant changes in sensory processing over a several-week period. If possible clients are typically seen three to five times per week for three weeks, with some clients maintaining this frequency for more than four or five weeks. This intensive program, which consists of both home and clinic activities, typically results in notable changes. Some health plans, such as Harvard Pilgrim and Harvard Vanguard, design their plans to provide up to three sessions per week for 60 days.