The NeuroAffective Relational Model (NARM) is a non-regressive theoretical approach and clinical model that addresses the complexities of attachment, relational, and developmental trauma. NARM is informed by somatically-based and psychodynamic techniques that integrate physiology and psychology within a relational context – helping clients establish a healthy connection between body and mind.

Many traditional models of psychology are regressive. They focus on the past by bringing awareness to the client’s disorganized and dysfunctional characteristics. The NeuroAffective Relational Model (NARM) is non-regressive and focuses on the present parts of self that are organized, functional, and coherent. The ultimate aim of NARM therapy is to improve the client’s emotional self-regulation while strengthening interpersonal connections.

In recent years, the notion of self-regulation has become an integral part of psychological treatment. The NeuroAffective Relational Model (NARM) places self-regulation at the core of its clinical practice. The best way to heal developmental trauma is to give clients the ability to respond to the ongoing demands of everyday interactions by using a range of emotions that are both socially acceptable and emotionally sustainable. In short, NARM is a complete theoretical approach and clinical model for treating complex trauma.

Healing Developmental Trauma

In his book, Healing Developmental Trauma: How Early Trauma Affects Self-Regulation, Self-Image, and the Capacity for Relationship, Dr. Laurence Heller lays out the core principles of the NeuroAffective Relational Model (NARM). He focuses on the importance of integrating biological and psychological development.

In order to experience emotional self-regulation and connection, these developmental themes must be met. Healing developmental trauma means fostering feelings of safety and trust in one’s environment, as well as establishing healthy internal and external connections. Healthy emotional self-regulation and growth must be nurtured. When the developmental themes are not met, people develop survival styles in an effort to manage disconnection and dysregulation. If this type of behavior goes unchecked, a Developmental Trauma Disorder or C-PTSD can emerge.

  • Core Principles of the NARM model
    • Integrate relational orientation with nervous system-based therapy
    • Use somatic mindfulness to anchor self-regulation in the nervous system.
    • Acknowledge psychological effects on the body by accessing the body’s self-regulatory capacities – retrain nervous system responses.
    • Inquire into deep identifications and counter-identifications that we understand as our identity.
  • NARM Approach

    Dr. Heller goes on to outline the way that the NARM approach uses physiology and psychology to treat individuals who have experienced developmental trauma. Treatment acknowledges the interaction between self-identification and an individual’s capacity for connection and emotional self-regulation.

  • Primary organizing principles of NARM model
    • Emotional connection and functional organization
    • Exploring identity
    • Focusing on the present
    • Nervous system regulation
  • Five Organizing Developmental Themes

    The NeuroAffective Relational Model lays out five developmental life themes that are necessary for healthy emotional self-regulation. These themes affect our ability to be present to ourselves and to others.

    1. Connection: In order to feel a sense of connection and belonging in the world, we must be in touch with our bodies and emotions. This strengthens our connection with others.
    2. Attunement: Knowing, understanding, and recognizing our needs is necessary in order to accept the abundance that life offers.
    3. Trust: We must develop an inherent trust in ourselves and in others. This paves the way for healthy, interdependent relationships.
    4. Autonomy: It is important to establish healthy boundaries for ourselves and for those around us. We must be able to say no when necessary. Learn to be honest without guilt or fear.
    5. Love & Sexuality: In order to foster healthy relationships our hearts must be open. Only then will we be able to truly integrate a loving relationship with a vital sexuality.

Developmental Trauma Disorder

Developmental Trauma Disorder occurs with exposure to chronic, multiple traumas in early life. It can happen from neglect, abuse, an accident, the death of a parent, etc. The cumulative effects of these traumatic experiences leave emotional scars on the psyche of the afflicted. When this happens, mental health issues such as Complex Post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD) can occur.

When a person develops C-PTSD or a similar developmental health disorder, it becomes the lens through which they experience their world. Everyday interactions and occurrences can lead to episodic symptoms related to their disorder. Because of this, the afflicted often create unhealthy barriers, such as the development of unhealthy emotional self-regulation disconnected interpersonal relationships.

Over time, the vicious cycle of trauma experienced during childhood leads to a developmental trauma disorder that requires the intervention of trained mental health professionals to be corrected. This concept is called Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), and it stemmed from an in-depth study that demonstrated the correlation between early childhood trauma and health and social problems as an adult. In recent years, new treatment philosophies (such as trauma-informed care) and new modes of therapy (such as NARM™) have proven to be superior methods of treating addiction and mental health disorders. They address the source of the problem, not the symptom.

Trauma can occur in many ways. People often suffer through traumatic events unbeknownst to those around them. These events can cause great emotional pain if left untreated. The following list contains the variety traumatizing events that can negatively impact the behavioral health of individuals, families, and communities.


Types of Trauma

Sexual abuse or assault Physical abuse or assault
Emotional abuse Early childhood trauma
Serious accident, illness, or medical procedure Neglect
Victim or witness to domestic violence Victim or witness to community violence
Historical & Intergenerational trauma School violence
Bullying Natural or man-made disasters
Forced displacement War, terrorism, or political violence
Victim or witness to extreme personal or interpersonal violence Military trauma
System-induced trauma and retraumatization Traumatic grief or separation

Source: SAMHSA


When people experience various types of trauma (especially at an early age), they can develop unhealthy barriers and coping mechanisms that, if left untreated, can permanently wound healthy emotional self-regulation. Furthermore, it can make it difficult to have positive interactions and relationships with others. The NeuroAffective Relational Model™ (NARM™) is a revolutionary therapeutic approach that specifically addresses the complexities of attachment, relational, and developmental trauma. By integrating the mental, emotional, and physical responses to trauma in the here-and-now, NARM therapy can help clients live fuller and more connected lives.

Theoretical Approach Family First Adolescent Services

Family First Adolescent Services is one of the country’s leading authorities on treating adolescents for mental health disorders, early childhood trauma, PTSD, and substance abuse. Our theoretical approach to healing developmental trauma in young people relies heavily on the NeuroAffective Relational Model™ (NARM™).

Part of our job as a leading treatment center for teens is to stay educated on current behavioral health practices and techniques so that we can provide first-rate mental health services. Our clients and their families deserve the best possible treatment. The Family First Adolescent Services clinical model makes regular use of the NeuroAffective Relational Model (NARM) when treating adolescents and their families. Our client reviews speak for themselves.

It’s a privilege to see the positive impact that NARM therapy can have on those who struggle with mental health and substance abuse disorders. It teaches the necessary tools for setting healthy emotional boundaries and self-regulation on a daily basis. The value of mental health treatment isn’t in probing the past to figure out where it all went wrong. The true value lies in learning how to find fulfillment in the present, and therefore, creating a better future.

Integrating the NeuroAffective Relational Model™ (NARM™) into our theoretical approach to mental health treatment has shown amazing results. For this reason, Family First Adolescent Services (Palm Beach Gardens, FL) is partnering with Brad Kammer of the NARM Training Institute to offer NARM™ Training Sessions and other workshops and events that introduce the NARM™ approach to healing complex trauma.

Addressing Complex Trauma with Adolescents & Families

Mike Giresi and Brad Kammer talk about one of their favorite topics – healing attachment, relational, and developmental trauma. They discuss how to apply the NeuroAffective Relational Model (NARM) in supporting youth and families.

Mike Giresi is the Lead Counselor at Family First Adolescent Services, a residential and outpatient treatment center for adolescents and their families who struggle with addiction and trauma located in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Brad Kammer is a Somatic Psychotherapist, NARM Master Practitioner and NARM Faculty Trainer from Northern California who is passionate about how trauma healing can be a catalyst for personal and collective transformation.

The NeuroAffective Relational Model (NARM) is a powerful approach for addressing complex trauma: the attachment, developmental, and relational wounds that we experienced in childhood and that have led to life-long symptoms, relational patterns, and personal challenges.


NARM Training

Family First Adolescent Services

Healing developmental trauma is the new wave of behavioral and mental health treatment. The acceptance of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) as they relate to mental health issues in adolescence and adulthood has paved the way for a new clinical model. If you want to be at the forefront of this revolution you will need to be prepared and educated on the latest practices and techniques associated with treating complex trauma. NARM™ Training is based on the impactful book, Healing Developmental Trauma: How Early Trauma Affects Self-Regulation, Self-Image, and the Capacity for Relationship, by Dr. Laurence Heller.

Family First Adolescent Services will be hosting NARM Training Sessions at our facilities in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. If you want to learn more about this revolutionary new clinical model that addresses the complexities of attachment, relational, and developmental trauma, you won’t want to miss these sessions.

Introduction to NARM Family First Adolescent Services

We will be hosting an Introduction to the NeuroAffective Relational Model (NARM). This event will provide a brief overview of what NARM is and how it is applied in the treatment of trauma.

DATE: Saturday, May 12, 2018
TIME: 10:00 am – 2:00 pm EDT
LOCATION: 5220 Hood Road, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida 33418

Complete NARM Practitioner Training

NeuroAffective Relational Model™ (NARM™) Practitioner Training for Healing Attachment, Relational & Developmental Trauma 

This is a comprehensive clinical training program for treating and healing complex trauma. Enrollment is open to counselors, psychotherapists, somatic practitioner, social workers, and other healthcare professionals who work with trauma. For complete enrollment details about the NARM™ training sessions at Family First Adolescent Services:

  • NARM Practitioner Training Overview
  • NARM Training Schedule at Family First Adolescent Services
    • Module 1: January 3 – 6, 2019
    • Module 2: April 10 – 14, 2019
    • Module 3: September 11 – 15, 2019
    • Module 4: November 20 – 24, 2019
  • Training Location

    The NARM™ Practitioner Training will be held at:

    Family First Adolescent Services
    5220 Hood Road
    Palm Beach Gardens, Florida 33418

  • Training Curriculum

    The NARM™ Practitioner Training consists of 138 contact hours. It is offered in one of two formats: six 3-day live modules or four 4.5 day live modules (format is depending on training location). There are also 4 training webinars throughout the training. 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.

    Learn more

  • Course Tuition (per module)
    • Early-Bird Rate – $1175/module
    • [1st module early-bird deadline: October 1, 2018]
    • Full Training Early-Bird Monthly Installment Plan – $361.50/month over 13 months
    • [Installment plan early-bird deadline: October 1, 2018]
    • Full Tuition Rate — $1250/module
    • Registered Student/Intern Rate — $1050/module
    • [Monthly installment plan option available, please inquire]
  • How to Register

    To begin the registration process:

NARM Rescources


Healing Developmental Trauma: How Early Trauma Affects Self-Regulation, Self-Image, and the Capacity for Relationship
(Laurence Heller Ph.D & Aline LaPierre Psy.D.)