Many of us carry deep long-lasting wounds from our childhood. It may have been something that now feels trivial or outright painful but the reality is that still takes up space in our bodies. We may have sunken into a depression once, or many times, when the memories are re-lived or when we feel its presence in our day-to-day lives. Worse, it’s not easy to shrug off. While we may not want to open a can of worms with our childhood traumas, doing so with a comprehensive psychotherapy model may help us work through our depression rooted in our traumas. We can treat depression in Los Angeles with NARM.
What is NARM?
Neuro-Affective Relational Model (NARM) is a type of psychotherapy that addresses complex PTSD (Developmental Trauma Disorder) including relational, developmental, and attachment trauma that may lead to depression. The therapeutic model comes from Attachment Theory, Gestalt Therapy, Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, and Somatic Psychotherapy. It tackles understanding how childhood experiences affect the present, and how the psychological and biological connect to influence development. NARM theory states that it’s the survival styles (coping mechanisms) developed from a traumatic experience are what distorts the present that causes symptoms of trauma such as hyper-vigilance, isolation, disassociation, and self-destruction. NARM also confronts identity distortion–the perception adults have internalized about themselves based on their caregivers’ behavior toward them. For example, people who had emotionally-distant caregivers may have viewed themselves as unlovable and continue to do so in adulthood which can lead to poor self-esteem and depression. NARM therapy helps those with complex PTSD to view themselves and their caregivers in a positive light of understanding and compassion.
What to expect
Upon starting treatment, your therapist will need you to verbally clarify why you want to take on this approach, and what your intention is. For instance, it will be necessary to understand what you want to get out of the therapy, what outcomes you hope will come out of therapy, or to explore why you suffer from certain mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. This intention will build a foundation for you and your therapist to build from. Once there is clarity around the why for the treatment, a therapist will start to ask exploratory questions. This allows you and therapist to better understand your internal process. During this time, your therapist will reinforce the notion that you play a role in your own internal and external issues, or that you have control of how you react to situations, while empowering you to cope with it in a healthy way. Your therapist will likely celebrate the positive physical, emotional, cognitive, behavioral, and relational shifts you make using the tools gained in therapy as you notice the dissolve of old identifications.
A therapist using NARM will focus on working with empathy, helplessness, and countertransference. NARM uses five principles incorporating supporting connection and organization, exploring identity, supporting emotional completion, working in present time, and supporting re-regulation of all the systems of the body. It’s understood that there are specific life themes that determine our sense of self. These themes include connection, attunement, trust, autonomy, and love-sexuality. When these needs are met, we feel safe enough to live authentically in the present moment. When they’re not met, we use unhealthy coping mechanisms to survive the imbalances. NARM allows people to work through their strengths and their survival styles as they assist in developing self-regulation capacities. In other words, NARM focuses on mindful awareness of the self in the present so that there is more importance on the present moment and not the past. This type of mindfulness is comprised of somatic mindfulness and mindful awareness. These organizing principles of adaptive survival styles can help you become mindful of cognitive, physiological, and emotional patterns triggered from the past.
For more information on how to treat depression in Los Angeles using NARM, call Trauma and Beyond Center at (818) 651-0725.