The Neuroaffective Relational Model (NARM®) is a somatically oriented therapy for the systematic treatment of developmental trauma. The approach is based on a psychodynamic, resource-oriented model that is focused on the experience in the here and now.

Through somatic mindfulness and helping to create insight into adaptive survival strategies, chronic patterns of guilt and shame are recognized and gradually resolved. The model shows how the regulation of our nervous system is inevitably linked to our experience of identity and our patterns of personality.

Shock Trauma and Developmental Trauma

Shock trauma is described as a single event that happened too soon, too fast, too much, so that it could not be adequately processed.

Developmental trauma, on the other hand, describes the repeated experience of being misattuned, neglected, or abused by our caregivers as a child.

Both shock trauma and developmental trauma impair our ability to regulate affect and self-soothe.

In contrast to working with shock trauma, working with developmental trauma requires more than just “resolving and processing the intensity. Here, therapy focuses primarily on the internalized messages from the environment that continue to shape our self-image and sense of identity. It is not the past event that needs treatment, but the way we still look at ourselves and relate to the world today. Stressful states of high arousal or mood swings are not “triggered by the past” but by how we respond to our inner experience in the here and now. NARM addresses this aspect of the relationship to the self and helps to resolve crystallized self-images and hidden patterns of self-rejection.

Neuroaffektive Beziehungsmodell (NARM®) | Tobias Konermann


NARM ® currently appears to be one of the most advancing process-oriented therapies, along with modalities such as IFS® or SE®. It addresses the core organizing principles underlying distortions of identity and somatic dysregulation. Moreover, it introduces a new understanding of looking at therapeutic change in general. NARM professionalizes the humanistic perspective in the expanded context of psychodynamics and the nervous system.

“The price for freedom is eternal mindfulness

Laurence Heller


Symptoms and internal stressors cannot simply be resolved through behavioral discipline or internal effort. They are side effects or consequences of deeper areas of tension in our experience. These inner conflicts arise from core needs in our lives that were compromised in their expression during our development as children.

The Good News: What makes the difference in our psychological well-being is how freely we can access these core needs and relate to them in new ways.


Adaptive survival strategies that secured our survival during childhood become obstacles to a self-determined and fulfilling life when we are adults. It is not the past events but the adaptions we had to create as a consequence of them, what is driving symptoms today.

Survival strategies revolve around the core needs that we need to fulfil in order to live an authentic and healthy life. Each of these needs represents a developmental stage of our personality, and where these stages have not blossomed, we lack inner capacities as adults. Where these capacities could not develop, we carry shameful and self-rejecting self-images in our selves (e.g. “My neediness it too much for my partners”).

In this overview, the core theme of each developmental stage, as well as their main distortions of self-image are being illustrated:

Neuroaffektive Beziehungsmodell (NARM®) | Tobias Konermann

Neuroaffektive Beziehungsmodell (NARM®) | Tobias Konermann