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What Is NARM?

a therapist works with a young man after asking "what is narm?"

The NeuroAffective Relational Model® (NARM) is a leading-edge mental health treatment. But what is NARM® used to treat, and who does it benefit?

Family First integrates NARM® therapy into our treatment plans for teens with complex trauma. Call 888.904.5947 to find out if your teen could benefit from mental health treatment at our South Florida center.

NARM® Is a Leading-Edge Approach

The NeuroAffective Relational Model® is an advanced treatment theory for mental health professionals working with clients who have complex trauma.1 Rather than relying on traditional—and potentially dated—models, NARM® approaches therapy from a more holistic perspective that considers attachment and relational patterns.

Complex Trauma: Different from PTSD

Complex or developmental trauma occurs during childhood. Patterns of neglect or abuse that develop during formative years can cause long-term damage and influence a person’s behavior into adulthood. These experiences significantly impact attachment patterns in children, influencing how they interact with others and the world around them for the rest of their lives.

Attachment patterns are the ways in which individuals form emotional bonds and connections with others. When these patterns are disrupted or damaged due to complex trauma, it can lead to difficulties in relationships, self-esteem, and overall well-being.

A Foundation Built on Five Pillars

NARM® is grounded in five developmental themes that are crucial for the healthy growth of adolescents:

  • Connection – The ability to form and maintain healthy relationships
  • Attunement – The ability to understand and respond to one’s own needs and the needs of others
  • Trust – The ability to feel safe and secure in relationships
  • Autonomy – The ability to make independent choices and have a strong sense of self
  • Love and sexuality – Understanding and embracing one’s own sexuality and forming healthy intimate connections

As teens undergo NARM therapy, they will work with a therapist to explore and strengthen these foundational pillars, helping them overcome the effects of complex trauma and develop healthy attachment patterns.

What Happens During NARM® Sessions?

During NARM® therapy sessions, therapists work with their clients to help them recognize and heal from the effects of complex trauma. Therapists can use a top-down (focusing on thoughts and emotions) or a bottom-up (focusing on bodily sensations like touch and how they affect thought) approach to explore and process the client’s experiences.

NARM® therapy sessions can include techniques such as mindfulness, somatic experiencing, and attachment-based interventions to aid in the healing process. By addressing the underlying issues of complex trauma and working through them in a safe and supportive environment, individuals can create new neural pathways that promote healthy attachment patterns.

Who Can Benefit from NARM® Therapy?

NARM® is specifically designed for individuals who have experienced complex trauma during childhood. This can include neglect, emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, as well as other forms of maltreatment.

The therapy is beneficial for both adolescents and adults who have experienced complex trauma. It can help them understand the impact of their past experiences on their current behaviors and emotions and work toward developing healthier coping mechanisms and relationships.

Call to Get Help for Your Teen at Family First

If your teen lives with the effects of complex trauma, you can find help for them. We know it’s difficult seeing them struggle, but you can help them find a better way forward. When you come to Family First, we work closely with your teen to help them better connect with themself while simultaneously connecting with you to create a healthier home life.

Our boys-only residential program provides 24/7 support at our treatment center in Palm Beah Gardens, FL. We also offer a co-ed partial hospitalization program (PHP), where clients return home at the end of each day. Don’t wait any longer to see your teen flourish. Call 888.904.5947 or contact us online now to find the help your child deserves.


  1. NARM Training Institute – What Is Narm?