We present a new phase characterization technique for ultrashort laser pulses that employs self-phase modulation (SPM) in the dispersion scan approach. The method can be implemented by recording a set of nonlinearly modulated spectra generated with a set of known chirp values. The unknown phase of the pulse is retrieved by linking the recorded spectra to the initial spectrum of the pulse via a phase function guessed by a function minimization iterative algorithm. This technique has many advantages over the dispersion scan techniques that use frequency conversion processes. Mainly, the use of SPM cancels out the phase and group velocity mismatch errors and dramatically widens the spectral acceptance of the nonlinear medium and the range of working wavelength. The robustness of the technique is demonstrated with smooth and complex phase retrievals using numerical examples. The method is shown to be not affected by the spatial distribution of the beam or the presence of nonlinear absorption process. In addition, we present an efficient method for phase representation based on a summation of a set of Gaussian functions. The independence of the functions from each other prevents phase coupling of any kind and facilitates a flexible phase representation.