An Introduction to NARM


Workshop: An Introduction to the NeuroAffective Relational Model (NARM)©

Category: Professional Development

When: TBD

What: This weekend workshop facilitated by NARM founder Dr. Laurence Heller, PhD explores the connection between what happened in the past and symptoms that people experience as adults due to survival styles and coping mechanisms that have outlived their usefulness.

Who: Professionals interested in learning the history, basic principles, clinical benefits, and practical applications of the NeuroAffective Relational Model

Cost: $1,500 (includes training, lodging, meals, ground transportation from and to Phoenix International Airport)

CEs: Eligible professionals can earn 17 continuing education credits or NBCC clock hours

Lodging: Friday and Saturday nights included (double-occupancy shared room)

Workshop Quick Take:

Developed by Dr. Laurence Heller over the course of his 45-year clinical career, The NeuroAffective Relational Model (NARM) is a method of psychotherapy specifically aimed at treating attachment, relational, and developmental trauma, otherwise referred to as complex trauma, complex PTSD, or C-PTSD. This developmentally oriented, neuroscientifically informed model emerged out of earlier psychotherapeutic orientations including psychodynamic psychotherapy, attachment theory, gestalt therapy, and diverse somatic psychotherapy approaches.

All About the Workshop

NARM holds that while what happened in the past is significant. It is not what happened in the past that creates the symptoms that people experience as adults, it is the persistence of survival styles appropriate to the past that distorts present experience and creates symptoms. These survival patterns, which include dissociation and isolation as the primary coping mechanisms, have outlived their usefulness. This creates ongoing disconnection from our authentic self and from others.

Developed by Dr. Laurence Heller over the course of his 45-year clinical career, The NeuroAffective Relational Model (NARM) is a method of psychotherapy specifically aimed at treating attachment, relational, and developmental trauma, otherwise referred to as complex trauma, complex PTSD, or C-PTSD. Integrating top-down psychotherapy with bottom-up somatic approaches within a relational context, the NARM clinical model has precise and effective techniques for working with the core themes of identity distortion and physiological dysregulation. In the NARM approach, practitioners work simultaneously with the psychology and the physiology of individuals who have experienced developmental trauma and focus on the interplay between issues of identity and the capacity for connection and regulation.

NARM uses five primary organizing principles:
· Supporting connection and organization
· Exploring identity
· Supporting emotional completion
· Working in present time
· Supporting re-regulation of all systems of the body

Organizing Developmental Themes

There are five developmental life themes and associated core capacities that are essential to a healthy sense of self, capacity for intimacy, and capacity for emotional and biological regulation.

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

To the degree that these five basic needs are met, we experience ourselves as authentic and develop the capacity for human connection. We feel safe and trusting of our environment, fluid and connected to ourselves and others. We experience a sense of regulation and expansion. To the degree that these basic needs are not met, we become symptomatic and develop survival styles to try to manage the disconnection, distortion of identity, and physiological dysregulation which drive the symptoms.


Cost is $1,500 per person, which includes two meals Friday, three meals Saturday, two meals Sunday, lodging at Rio Retreat, and ground transportation from and back to the airport.


Laurence Heller, PhD

Senior Fellow, Meadows Behavioral Healthcare

Dr. Laurence Heller holds a PhD in psychology and spent more than three decades in private practice, but he is probably best known as the founder of the NeuroAffective Relational Model©. This specialized psychobiological approach to working with developmental trauma is detailed in his bestselling book Healing Developmental Trauma: How Early Trauma Affects Self-Regulation, Self-Image and the Capacity for Relationship, currently available in more than 15 languages.

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Learning Objectives

After completing this training, attendees will be able to:

  • Review the history and development of the NARM® model of therapy.
  • Discuss NARM’s basic assumptions about connection/disconnection.
  • Review NARM’s orientation around working with the adaptations to trauma as more primary than the trauma itself.
  • Define NARM’s understanding of futuristic memory.
  • Review the first pillar in the NARM approach.
  • Explain the second pillar.
  • Describe NARM’s central tenet of agency.
  • Discuss the role of the body in the NARM approach.
  • Discuss the three basic capacities that become distorted in response to developmental trauma.
  • Review the three steps of the emotional completion process.
  • Talk about deconstruction and how that relates to working in the present moment.
  • Describe briefly NARM’s model of health.
  • Name the five adaptive survival styles.
  • Discuss the theme of subjectivity as it is understood in NARM.
  • Summarize the non-regressive and non-cathartic orientation in NARM.


Lodging at the Rio Retreat Center is included in the cost for Friday and Saturday nights. Purposely free of the distractions that often accompany hotel lodging, rooms are simply appointed and are shared occupancy (two guests per room). Guests will be placed with a roommate who is also attending the training. Transportation will be available from and back to Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. Details will be sent with your confirmation email upon completion of the registration process.

Qualified participants who complete the course can earn 17.0 continuing education credits or 17.0 NBCC clock hours.

  • The Meadows is an NBCC-Approved Continuing Education Provider (ACEP) and may offer NBCC-approved clock hours for events that meet NBCC requirements. The ACEP solely is responsible for all aspects of the program. (Provider #5687)
  • This course has been approved by The Meadows, as a NAADAC-Approved Education Provider, for 17.0 CEs. (NAADAC Provider #62791) The Meadows is responsible for all aspects of their programming. Course addresses Counseling Services from NAADAC Counselor Skill Group.
  • The Meadows is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Meadows maintains responsibility for this program and its content. This course meets the criteria for 17.0 hours of continuing education for psychologists.

This workshop begins at 2 pm Friday afternoon and the final training session concludes Sunday at 4 pm (please note that we are on Mountain Standard Time). The Rio Retreat Center campus is strictly alcohol-and drug-free, and we have a dress code, cell phone, and smoking policy. For more details about this workshop and to register, call 866-536-5011 to speak to a Workshop Coordinator.


An Introduction to NARM



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