NARM Training

Dr. Larry Heller

Larry Heller


The spontaneous movement in all of us is toward connection, health, and aliveness. No matter how withdrawn and isolating we have become, or how serious the trauma we have experienced, on the deepest level, just as a plant spontaneously moves towards sunlight, there is in each of us an impulse moving toward connection and healing. This impulse is the fuel of the NARM approach.

NARM emphasizes working clinically with the functional unity between biological and psychological development integrating a relational, psychodynamic approach with a nervous system based orientation. Participants will learn to work with the following four primary psychobiological organizing principles:

  • Regulating the nervous system
  • Resolving identity distortions such as low self-esteem, self-hatred, and toxic shame and guilt
  • Supporting connection and organization
  • Working in present time


Bottom-Up and Top-Down

There are continual loops of information going from the body to the brain bottom-up, and from the brain to the body, top-down. There are similar loops between lower and higher structures within the brain. Topdown therapies emphasize cognitions and emotions. Bottom-up therapies focus on the body, the felt sense, and the instinctive responses as they are mediated through the brain stem and move toward higher levels of brain organization.

NARM is an integrated top-down and bottom-up approach. In developmental trauma, individuals incorporate the environmental failure they have experienced in a bottom-up process of disturbed regulation and a top-down process of distorted identifications. Knowing how to work with the complex interplay between the nervous system and identity greatly expands our therapeutic effectiveness.

Somatic Mindfulness

The NARM process adds two new applications or refinements to the traditional practice of mindfulness:

  • Somatic mindfulness
  • Mindful awareness of the organizing principles of our survival styles

Using somatic mindfulness together with the mindfulness awareness of survival styles allows a therapist to work with a person’s life story from a perspective that is deeper and broader than the story itself. Tracking the process of connection/disconnection, regulation/dysregulation in present time helps clients connect with their sense of agency and feel less like victims of their personal history. Using an awareness that is anchored in the present moment, clients becomes mindful of cognitive, emotional, and physiological patterns that began in the past, while not falling into the trap of making the past more important than the present.

NARM helps build and expand upon our current capacity for biological self-regulation and interpersonal connection. This resource-oriented, non-regressive model emphasizes helping clients establish connection to the parts of self that are organized, coherent, and functional. It brings into awareness and organization the parts of self that are disorganized and dysfunctional without making these elements theprimary focus of the therapy.

In the four modules of this clinical training, participants will learn:

  • The diverging skills needed to work with developmental trauma versus shock trauma
  • How to help clients attune to all levels of their experience: cognitive, emotional, and physiological in a mindful, progressive process of disidentification
  • 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 integrate nervous system regulation skills into a developmental trauma framework
  • When shock trauma interventions are contraindicated in working with developmental trauma
  • How to address the complex interplay between identity distortions and nervous system dysregulation
  • How a present-moment orientation in working with personal history supports the development of personal agency



2017: Module 1 (March 4-8) and Module 2 (September 28 – October 2).
2018: Module 3 (March 14-18) and Module 4 (September 11-15).
€ 750 per module of 5 days excl. food and lodging and excluding individual sessions and supervision.
Discount of 5% when you pay two modules at once and discount of 10% when you pay for 4 modules at once.
All Modules: Conference hotel Mennorode, Elspeet (info HERE)