The NeuroAffective Relational Model(NARM) is an advanced clinical training for mental health professionals who work with complex trauma. NARM is a cutting-edge model for addressing attachment, relational and developmental trauma, by working with the attachment patterns that cause life-long psychobiological symptoms and interpersonal difficulties. These early, unconscious patterns of disconnection deeply affect our identity, emotions, physiology, behavior and relationships. Learning how to work simultaneously with these diverse elements is a radical shift that has profound clinical implications for healing complex trauma. As such, NARM is positioned to become an invaluable treatment option for the Trauma-Informed Care movement as we gain greater understanding of the nature of adverse childhood experience (ACEs).
This developmentally-oriented, neuroscientifically-informed model, as outlined in Dr. Laurence Heller’s book, co-written with Aline LaPierre, PsyD, Healing Developmental Trauma, emerged out of earlier psychotherapeutic orientations including Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, Attachment Theory, Cognitive Therapy, Gestalt Therapy, and Somatic Experiencing®, and bridges traditional psychotherapy with body-mind approaches within a context of relational practice. NARM is a mindfulness-based clinical treatment, as its method is grounded in a phenomenological approach to addressing identity and consciousness of self – who we truly are beneath these patterned ways of relating to ourselves and the world. Seen in this way, healing complex trauma is a vehicle for transformation on a personal and collective level.
NARM is a model for human growth, therapy, and healing that, while not ignoring a person’s past, more strongly emphasizes a person’s strengths, capacities, resources, and resiliency. NARM explores personal history to the degree that coping patterns learned early in life interfere with our capacity to feel connected and alive in the present moment. NARM helps build and expand upon our current capacity for connection to our body and emotions as well as to our capacity for interpersonal connection—capacities that are, as we will see, intimately related.