NARM - what is it?

NARM er en ny og effektiv behandlingsmetode. Med NARM får vi en
forståelse for, hvordan udviklingstraumer og omsorgssvigt sætter aftryk i
nervesystemet og præger hjernens udvikling. Metodisk inspirerer NARM til
en kontaktfuld, ressourceorienteret indfaldsvinkel, som både understøtter
regulering af nervesystemet og vores kapacitet til at føle os forbundet med
os selv og andre.


The NeuroAffective Relational Model® brings the current understanding of self-regulation into clinical practice. It is a therapeutic model for both developmental and shock trauma that, while not ignoring a person's past, does not put the primary emphasis on the past sources of problems. Instead, NARM helps us build and expand upon our current capacity for biological self-regulation and interpersonal connection.

NARM addresses relational and attachment trauma by working with early, unconscious patterns of disconnection that deeply affect our identity, emotions, physiology, behavior and relationships. Integrating a psychodynamic and body centered approach, NARM offers a comprehensive theoretical and clinical model for working with developmental trauma.

NARM draws on psychodynamic models such as attachment and object relations theory, and somatic and character structure approaches, in addressing the link between psychological issues and the body. Working relationally in the present moment, and within a context of interpersonal neurobiology, NARM offers a new approach of working relationally that is a resource-oriented, non-regressive, non-cathartic, and ultimately non-pathologizing model. Grounded in what NARM calls somatic mindfulness, NARM is influenced by a non-western orientation to the nature of the identity. Learning how to work simultaneously with these diverse elements represents a radical shift that has profound clinical implications for healing complex trauma and supporting personal and relational growth.

Biologically-Based Core Needs and Associated Core Capacities

NARM emphasizes the functional unity of biological and psychological development. It integrates a relational, psychodynamic approach with a nervous system based orientation. NARM uses developmentally informed clinical interventions together with somatic mindfulness to work with the link between psychological issues and the body, helps access the body's self-regulatory capacities, and supports nervous system re-regulation.

NARM recognizes biologically based core needs that are essential to our physical and emotional well being. When a biologically based core need is not met, predictable psychological and physiological symptoms result - self-regulation, identity, and self-esteem are compromised. When our biologically based core needs are met in childhood, core capacities develop that allow us, as adults, to recognize and meet these core needs for ourselves and in healthy relationship. To the degree that the capacity to tend to our own core needs develops, we experience internal organization, expansion, connection, and aliveness - all attributes of physiological and psychological well-being. And, to the degree that the capacity to tend to our own core needs does not mature, we develop survival styles to cope with the associated disorganization, disconnection and dys-regulation.

Initially, survival styles are adaptive, not pathological. However, because the brain uses the past to predict the future, survival styles become fixed in our nervous system and form what we take to be our identity. It is the persistence of survival styles appropriate to the past that distorts our present experience and creates Ongoing disconnection. Survival styles, once having outlived their usefulness, become the source of our symptoms.

The NARM process adds two new applications or refinements to the traditional practice of mindfulness:

  • Somatic mindfulness
  • Mindful awareness of the organizing principles of our survival styles

Using somatic mindfulness together with the mindfulness awareness of survival styles allows a therapist to work with a person's life story from a perspective that is deeper and broader than the story itself. Tracking the process of connection/disconnection, regulation/dysregulation in present time helps clients connect with their sense of agency and feel less like victims of their personal history; it brings an active process of inquiry to their relational and survival styles, building on their strengths and helping them to experience agency in the difficulties of their current life. Using an awareness that is anchored in the present moment, clients become mindful of cognitive, emotional, and physiological patterns that began in the past while not falling into the trap of making the past more important than the present.


Bottom-Up and Top-Down

There are continual loops of information going from the body to the brain bottom-up, and from the brain to the body, top-down. There are similar loops between lower and higher structures within the brain. Top-down therapies emphasize cognitions and emotions. Bottom-up therapies focus on the body, the felt sense, and the instinctive responses as they are mediated through the brain stem and move toward higher levels of brain organization.

NARM is an integrated top-down and bottom-up approach. Using both orientations greatly expands our therapeutic options. Working bottom-up, NARM uses techniques that address the subtle shifts in the nervous system to add significant effectiveness to the therapeutic process and disrupt the predictive tendencies of the brain. Working top-down, NARM focuses on identity, ideations, and emotions in a relational model that supports an increasing capacity for connection with self and others and complements the work with the nervous system to create a unified model.