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NeuroAffective Relational Model (NARM)

The NeuroAffective Relational Model (NARM) is a cutting-edge biopsychological therapeutic treatment model to treat C-PTSD, relational trauma and ACE’s (Adverse Childhood Experiences).  It is  used by specifically trained and certified therapist practitioners at Clinic Les Alpes. 

The fundamental principal embraced in our work with NARM is that there is a driving force in all of us which is a spontaneous movement towards connection, health and aliveness.  No matter how withdrawn or isolated we have become – whether through addiction, mental health issues or relationship problems – no matter how serious the trauma we have experienced - on the deepest level, just as the plant spontaneously moves toward sunlight, there is in each of us an impulse moving towards connection and healing.  This organismic impulse is the fuel of the NARM approach.

NARM uses four primary organizing principles to address relational, attachment and developmental trauma.  These are (a) Supporting connection and organisation (b) Exploring Identity  (c) Working in present time and (d) Regulating the nervous system.

In our one to one therapeutic and relational work with our clients, we recognise that there are five organizing developmental themes that are essential to healthy development:

  1. Connection – we feel that we are in touch with the world, our body and our emotions and capable of consistent connection with others.
  2. Attunement – this is our ability to know what we need and to recognise, reach out for and take in the abundance that life offers.
  3. Trust – we have an inherent trust in ourselves and others. We feel safe enough to allow a healthy interdependence with others.
  4. Autonomy – We can say no and set limits with others. We speak our mind without guilt or fear.
  5. Love / Sexuality – our heart is open and we are able to integrate a loving relationship with a vital sexuality.

When basic needs are met in these five areas we experience regulation and connection.  When these basic needs are not met we develop survival styles to try to manage the disconnection and dysregulation.  While what happened in the past for our clients is significant, NARM holds that trauma or adverse childhood experiences (ACE’s) alone doesn’t create the symptoms we experience as adults.  Continuing to rely on survival mechanisms that have outlived their usefulness creates ongoing disconnection from our authentic self – our bodies – our emotions and others.  No matter how serious the trauma we have experienced, the spontaneous movement in all of us is towards connection and health.

NARM resource-oriented techniques work with subtle shifts in the nervous system which is fundamental in disrupting the predictive tendencies of the brain.  This in turn helps dissolve distortions of identity such as low self-esteem, self-rejection and self-hatred.  Using techniques that increase connection with the self as well as others is instrumental in supporting effective re-regulation

The overall intention of working with NARM with our clients is to support the possibility of increasing their internal freedom – which in effect means them having choices and more possibilities.  By embodying adult consciousness, more opportunities are provided for the client to become less dependent on the environment (or the substance in the case of addiction) for their internal well-being.  This means that the client begins to experience the freedom to trust in themselves.

Self-acceptance, compassion and kindness function as solvents for old identifications (while shame, self-rejection and self-hatred binds them).

In NARM we hold that it’s not what happened in the past that drives the symptoms that people have (like other psychological models) but rather it’s the way our relationship to our own self and our world has been distorted through what happened in the past.  We develop these distorted identifications, identities and relationships which cause profound physiological dysregulation and this is the part of the adaptation to the trauma.

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