Here at the Trauma and Beyond Center, we offer many different forms of therapy to help our patients to heal. A unique model that not many people may have heard of is called “NARM.” That’s an acronym that stands for “NeuroAffective Relational Model.” Capitalizing “A” in the middle of “NeuroAffective” is the correct spelling. This neurological relational model is one more way that we can help our patients to process their trauma. In this article, we’ll discover what NARM is, how it works, and how we use it at the Trauma and Beyond Center.
What makes NARM so unique as a kind of treatment is how it integrates many different kinds of models and theories. In essence, NARM takes many different schools of thought and combines them into one model. That allows for treatment that’s perfectly matched to the patient, as there are so many different elements to draw from. For example, NARM draws upon somatic and character structure approaches, but it also liberally uses psychodynamic models like object relations and attachment theory. In a way, NARM truly is more than the sum of its parts.
Here and Now
One of the keys to NARM is how it focuses solely on the present moment. That comes from a relationship stance of somatic mindfulness, curiosity and collaboration. By putting all of that together, NARM provides a laser-like focus on biological self-regulation and giving the patient the opportunity to deepen interpersonal connection. When you have a distorted identity pattern, or one of disconnection, or even emotional dysregulation, then NARM’s dual awareness can help you to work through and eventually overcome all of those. So much of our trauma comes from developmental failures of basic core needs not being met. NARM helps you to recognize the negative patterns you’ve developed to be adaptive responses to those needs not being met, so that you may heal.
Bottom Up, Top Down
Those are just two of the approaches that NARM employs. It uses a “top down” as well as a “bottom up” approach when working with your body. Indeed, it also does the same for your emotions, behavior patterns and even your identity. Many of the most negative behaviors that we have, that we want to move past, were once protective. You developed them for a reason, they are maladaptive survival strategies now, yes, but they didn’t come out of nowhere. NARM examines attachment ruptures throughout your life, but we’ve found that it often focuses primarily on a person’s critical periods of development.
A Model for Self Compassion
All of that being said, it’s important to remember that NARM is non-pathologizing. It’s strength-focused, developed to help patients become stronger in multiple ways. We use this model to build our patients up. By “build up,” we mean to build their capacity for self compassion. Self compassion is such an important part of overcoming maladaptive survival strategies. It shows your body and your emotions that you don’t need to use those survival strategies anymore. Instead, you can move forward, towards the life that you want. Often, that incorporates something else that NARM helps clients to build: relational effectiveness.
So many of us suffer from low self esteem. How often have you gone through a day and thought that you just weren’t good enough, or worse? Almost all of the time, we’re better than we think, but we can’t see it. For many of us, we’ve developed strategies over time of protecting ourselves from reaching out or trying to connect to others because the prospect of being hurt was worse than not making the connection. Now, as we age, these survival strategies hold us back in life, keeping us from enjoying our lives nearly as much as we can. Indeed, many of us don’t even know where these traumas began in our lives, as they were often afflicted upon us during our developmental stages. That’s where NARM comes in.
NARM has proven to be highly effective in helping clients to overcome their low self esteem. However, that’s not the only negative survival strategy that NARM has helped with. Indeed. It’s been great against chronic self-judgment, debilitating guilt and shame as well as plenty of other psychobiological symptoms. When you suffer from all of these, you don’t have to live with them anymore. There is a way to move past them.
Here at the Trauma and Beyond Center, we have NARM specialists on staff that can use this model to help you to live the life that you want. However, it’s important to remember that NARM isn’t the only model that we use. When you meet with us, we figure out a therapy that’s uniquely tailored to your situation. To find out more, give us a call at (818) 651-0725 or head to our site.