Training program

The purpose of the training is to build clinical skills. The training will ensure the theoretical, scientific and empirical basis for understanding the elements of NARM and emphasize is on developing the participants own clinical skills and practice.

Dr. Laurence Heller will be the main instructor. To facilitate the skill-building there will be assistants during the training to support group work and exercises. There will be approximately 1 assistant/instructor for 5 students. There is space for 35-45 participants in the training.

The training and materials will be in American-English. Some of the assistants speaks Danish and can supervise and provide NARM therapy sessions in both languages.

Introduction (course description)

The NeuroAffective Relational Model (NARM™) is an advanced clinical training for mental health and somatic practitioners who work with developmental trauma. 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.

In the NARM Practitioner Training you will learn (objectives)

  • The different skills needed to work with developmental versus shock trauma; when and why shock trauma interventions may be contraindicated in working with developmental trauma.
  • How to address the complex interplay between nervous system dysregulation and identity distortions, such as toxic shame and guilt, low self-esteem, chronic self-judgment, and other psychobiological symptoms.
  • How to work moment-by-moment with early adaptive survival styles that, while once life-saving, distort clients’ current life experience.
  • When to work ‘bottom-up’, when to work ‘top-down’, and how to work with both simultaneously to meet the special challenges of developmental trauma.
  • How to support clients with a mindful and progressive process of disidentification from identity distortions.
  • A new, coherent theory for working with affect and emotions, which aims to support their psychobiological completion.

Course Structure

The NARM Practitioner Training consists of 120 contact hours divided into 4 live modules. The 4 live modules will be held for a total of 20 days over the 2-year period of the training. The live modules are typically spaced 4 - 6 months apart, or 2 per year, to allow time for continued study, practice, peer meetings, and the webinars, in support of greater integration of the NARM clinical approach.

Supplementary learning opportunities include: study and practice groups, individual and group consultation, individual NARM sessions, access to library of demonstration videos, and other learning intensives.

Teaching Methods

All modules include a combination of 2 complimentary instruction approaches:

  1. Didactic and theoretical learning: including lecture, question and answer periods, class-wide discussion, case consultation, and deconstruction of demonstration videos.
  2. Experiential learning: including self-inquiry exercises, small group activities, role-plays, active coaching and guided skill practice.

2-Year NARM Practitioner Training Curriculum Topic Overview

Module 1

  • NARM Theoretical Orientation
  • Working with Shock and Developmental Trauma
  • Working with Top-Down and Bottom-Up Integrative Approach
  • NARM Organizing Principles
  • Overview of 5 Adaptive Survival Styles
  • Distortions of Life Force
  • Distress and Healing Cycles
  • Pride and Shame-Based Identifications
  • Reframing Attachment and Attachment Loss
  • Introducing the 4 Pillars of NARM
  • Establishing a Therapeutic “Contract”
  • The NARM Relational Model
  • Connection Survival Style
  • Connection: Clients Whose Access to Sensations and Feelings are Compromised

Module 2

  • Developmental Process: Attachment & Separation-Individuation
  • Asking Exploratory Questions
  • Somatic Mindfulness
  • Attunement Survival Style
  • Identifying and using Resources
  • Working in Present Time with Dual Awareness
  • Reflecting Positive Shifts
  • Autonomy Survival Style
  • Working with Anger and Aggression
  • Working with Shame & Guilt

Module 3

  • Trust Survival Style
  • Core vs Default Emotions
  • Anger & Aggression
  • Narcissism and Objectification
  • Narcissistic vs Sadistic Abuse
  • Supporting Agency
  • Love-Sexuality Survival Style
  • The Psychobiological Process of Shame (“Shame as a Verb”)
  • Tracking Expansion & Contraction/Connection & Disconnection
  • “Drilling Down”/Deconstruction of Experience (in the function of Disidentification)
  • NARM Languaging
  • Deepening Study into the Connection Survival Style Issues, Symptoms and Related Disorders
  • The Polyvagal Theory
  • Trait-Survival Style-Personality Disorder Continuum
  • Identifying Core Dilemma: Core Themes vs Survival Strategies (Behaviors, symptoms, etc.)
  • Countertransference & the Traps of Goal-Oriented, Solution-Focused Psychotherapy

Module 4

  • How to Develop a Working Hypothesis
  • Freeze & Intrapsychic Conflict
  • Self-Hatred & Self-Rejection
  • An overview of NARM’s different orientation to working with personality disorders
  • Therapist’s Countertransference Acting-Out & Re-Enactment
  • Unmanaged Empathy and Therapist Efforting
  • The Interplay of the Survival Styles: Primary and Secondary Patterns
  • Survival Styles as they relate to Intimacy and Sexuality
  • Developing Capacity for Pleasure
  • Working with Couples
  • Working with Identity
  • Disidentification: Loneliness and Freedom
  • Supporting Increasing Complexity, Capacity and Resiliency
  • Addressing the Physical Structure of the Adaptive Survival Styles
  • Working with the Social Engagement Channels: Eyes, Ears, Face and Touch
  • Integrating NARM Effectively Into Our Clinical Practice
  • Addressing Identity from both a Psychological & Non-Western Perspective

Sessions and Supervision:

The participant has to have 10 sessions of therapy and 10 sessions of supervision, 3 of the supervision hours has to be with dr. Laurence Heller. Group supervision with dr. Laurence is provided during the training modules. If the group is up to 8 participants 2 hrs equal 1 session, with more than 8 participants 3 hrs equal 1 session. Exception from this is the group with dr. Laurence.


To become a NARM certified therapist one has to participate in all training days, work clinically with NARM in between trainings, and fulfill the acquirement of supervision and therapy.

If a participant cannot attend training, we will record the lessons and the participant has to watch the video and have 1 extra hr of supervision/training related to the missed training for each missed day. This will be for an additional cost for the participant.


Dansk Psykologforening:

has approved the first 5 day training as: Specialist i psykotraumatologi: Intervention på individuelt plan i relation til længerevarende og kroniske traume 12 timer samt Psykotraumatologisk teori; hovedområde/paradigmer 18 timer.

Introduktionskurset: godkendt med 18 timer til brug i emneområde Valgfri del

Norsk Psykologforening:

Innføringskurs i narm godkjennes som 72 timers vedlikeholdsaktivitet. (alle modulene).

Introduktionaskurset godkjennes som 21 timers vedlikeholdsaktivitet.