Screen Shot 2016-05-20 at 3.31.12 PMThe NARM Practitioner Training Program Curriculum:
A Two-Year Clinical Training for Healing Developmental Trauma

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, somatic models 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 mindfulness and contemplative spiritual practices, NARM supports a non-western orientation to the nature of personality.  Learning how to work simultaneously with these diverse elements is a radical shift that has profound clinical implications for healing complex trauma and supporting personal and relational growth.

Course Objectives

In the NARM Practitioner Training you will learn:

  • 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 138 contact hours divided into either 6 live modules (3 days each) or 4 live modules (4.5 days each), as well as an additional 4 webinars.  The live modules will be held for a total of 18 days over the 2-year period of the training.  The 4 webinars will consist of 3-hour online meetings.  The live modules are typically spaced 3-4 months apart 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 complementary instruction approaches:

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


2-Year NARM Practitioner Training Curriculum Topic Overview
[Listed below for 6 module format] *
topics and schedule subject to change by instructor

Module 1

  • NARM Theoretical Orientation
  • Differentiating Interventions for working with Shock vs. Developmental Trauma
  • Working Top-Down and Bottom-Up
  • NARM Organizing Principles
  • Overview of 5 Adaptive Survival Styles
  • The Distortion of the Life Force Model
  • Distress and Healing Cycles
  • Pride and Shame-Based Identifications
  • Reframing Attachment and Attachment Loss
  • Foreclosure of Aspects of Self in Order to Protect Attachment Relationship
  • Introducing the 4 Pillars of NARM
  • NARM Pillar 1: Establishing a Therapeutic “Contract”
  • Connection Survival Style

Webinar 1

  • Connection: Clients Whose Access to Sensations and Feelings are Compromised
    • Lecture
    • Q & A
    • Deconstruct demo video
    • Case presentations

Module 2

  • Developmental Process: Attachment & Separation-Individuation
  • The NARM Relational Model
  • NARM Pillar 2: Asking Exploratory Questions
  • Somatic Mindfulness
  • Attunement Survival Style
  • A New Orientation to Resourcing Clients
  • Dual Awareness: Working in Present Time with Developmental Themes
  • Agency as the Foundation for the Development of the Adult Self
  • NARM Pillar 4: Reflecting Positive Shifts
  • Autonomy Survival Style

Webinar 2

  • Countertransference & the Traps of Goal-Oriented, Solution-Focused Psychotherapy
    • Lecture
    • Q & A
    • Deconstruct demo video
    • Case presentations

Module 3

  • Trust Survival Style
  • A New Model for Working with Emotions
  • Primary vs Default Emotions
  • Working with Anger & Aggression
  • Narcissism and Objectification of Self
  • Narcissistic vs Sadistic Abuse
  • NARM Pillar 3: Supporting Agency
  • Love-Sexuality Survival Style
  • The Psychobiological Process of Shame (“Shame as a Verb not a Noun”; “Shame as a Process not a State”)
  • Tracking Expansion & Contraction, Connection & Disconnection
  • Deconstruction of Experience (in the function of Disidentification)
  • “Drilling Down”: A Process of Challenging Assumptions & Clarifying Experience
  • NARM Languaging

Webinar 3

  • Working with Shame & Guilt
    • Lecture
    • Q & A
    • Deconstruct demo video
    • Case presentations

Module 4

  • Deepening Study into the Connection Survival Style Issues, Symptoms and Related Disorders
  • Integrating the Polyvagal Theory
  • Identifying Core Dilemma: Core Themes vs Survival Strategies (Behaviors, symptoms, etc.)
  • Working Hypothesis
  • Freeze & Intrapsychic Conflict
  • Self-Hatred & Self-Rejection
  • Splitting
  • Differentiating interventions for where Clients are on the Adaptation Spectrum: Healthy — Traumatic — Personality Disordered
  • Differentiating Personality Disordered Adaptations
  • Difference between Insight/Self-Awareness vs. Confrontation for Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Therapist’s Countertransference Acting-Out & Re-Enactment
  • Unmanaged Empathy and Therapist Efforting

Webinar 4

  • Addressing Identity from both a Psychological & Spiritual Perspective
    • Lecture
    • Q & A
    • Deconstruct demo video
    • Case presentations

Module 5

  • The Interplay of the Survival Styles: Primary and Secondary Patterns
  • Working with People, Not Survival Styles
  • Survival Styles as they relate to Intimacy and Sexuality
  • Supporting the Developing Capacity for Aliveness, Pleasure and Expansion
  • Working with Survival Style Dynamics as they relate to Couples
  • Addressing the Physical Structure of the Adaptive Survival Styles

Module 6

  • Working with Identity
  • “Cutting the Cord”: Freedom from Personal History
  • Separation/Individuation: Abandonment/Loneliness to Aloneness to Freedom
  • Personal Freedom as a pre-requisite for Real Intimacy
  • Resiliency: Supporting the Capacity to Tolerate Increasing Complexity
  • The NARM Perspective to Working with the Social Engagement System
  • Integrating NARM Effectively Into Our Clinical Practice