“The relational dynamics that NARM is speaking to are so rooted in our biology and our relationships and our everything, our connection to the sacred; everything is informed by these principles.” ~Dr. Mazen Atassi
In this episode, Transforming Trauma host Sarah Buino speaks with Mazen Atassi, naturopath and NARM Practitioner, about how he uses NARM principles to support psychobiological healing in his medical practice. Throughout the episode, Sarah and Mazen explore the idea that NARM is for everyone and they take a closer look at how Mazen has applied NARM in the naturopathic realm.
Mazen is passionate about the relationship between mental and physical wellbeing, a critical link that he says traditional mechanistic traditions often overlook in their response to illness. In his search for additional supportive modalities with which to treat clients, Mazen discovered the NeuroAffective Relational Model, NARM. For Mazen, the NARM model honors the somatic, bottom-up processing of the body, and also brings a needed top-down element that focuses on a crucial component: the relationship to self. The model’s approach to addressing complex trauma and re-establishing self-compassion align with Mazen’s healing philosophy. He shares his experience utilizing the tools the NARM model provided him and how the tools support two key naturopathic principles: Tolle Totem, treating the whole person, and Tolle Causam, address the root cause of disease.
Mazen shares how the internal chaos from complex trauma can lead to a range of psychological and physiological symptoms, from anxiety, depression, and addiction, to digestion issues, migraines, auto-immune disorders, and more. In his practice with his clients, he has used NARM, in addition to his other tools, to intentionally bring organization to the order of therapeutic interventions. He has found it most effective to start with counseling to explore the client’s relationship to themself and their self-worth, and then move into other direct interventions that address their symptoms. Mazen credits the NARM model for supporting his clients in reconnecting to their self-compassion and resilience. This reconnection to the self can serve as a pathway to reclaiming optimal physical health.
Throughout the episode, Sarah and Mazen also discuss the stigma surrounding mental health in the Muslim community, of which Mazen is part. The pair share that within practiced religion, there can often be cultural dynamics, generational trauma, and spiritual bypassing that can fragment a person’s relationship to self within these systems. Mazen shares how he’s been able to employ his NARM skills and shared religious heritage to breach barriers with some of his Muslim patients. The resulting intimacy allows communication to flow freely and liberates clients who might not otherwise seek help. “If we open ourselves up to that, it's not even that we're doing anything. It's like we are sharing in this gift of life and this healing, you know? And it's such a beautiful thing. It's like a springtime in every session. It's like this rebirth.”
Mazen shares with listeners his hope for how NARM can touch more than just those in the clinical space. “I hope [NARM principles] can be underlined and emphasized to the greater population as a way of creating a conscious culture of a healthy civilization…These principles are crucial, and they’re not just for the clinical space.” The episode concludes with Mazen sharing moving stories from both his practice and his own NARM training experience.