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Healing from Developmental Trauma - re-igniting connection

The focus of any trauma therapy should be on exploring your resources and strengths - what makes you beautiful and unique -

that enabled you to survive the harshest of conditions.

There are 5 Biological Core Needs according to the NeuroAffective Relational Model (NARM) - connection; attunement; trust; autonomy; love and sexuality.

Connection being the all encompassing need which is a gateway to attunement; trust; autonomy; love and sexuality.

Connection - to be in touch with our mind, body, emotions, and needs; as well as being in touch with other's mind, body, emotions and needs

Attunement - to attune to our body and emotions; to be able to recognise what our body is telling us about our needs by being able to take in the physical and emotional environment; to have the skills to reach out and ask for our needs to be met as a result.

Trust - to have healthy dependence and independence.

Autonomy - to have appropriate boundaries; ability to understand one's authentic self and needs; to be able to communicate those needs effectively.

Love and Sexuality - to live within an open heart; to integrate loving relationships with vital sexuality

When these biological core needs are neglected or abused we are disconnected from our bodies; our identity becomes distorted or shattered; we are unable to regulate and function.

The result would be the opposite which would include shame based identifications that are too painful to hold and pride based counter identifications to help us survive.

Connection - shame at existing; shame with feeling like a burden; shame with having to belong. Equates to carrying self-worth in being a loner; not needing others; not having needs.

Attunement - shame at being needy; shame in being fulfilled; shame in feeling empty; shame in feeling deserving. Equates to carrying self-worth in being a caretaker; indispensable; not having needs.

Trust - shame in being small; shame in being powerless; shame in being used; shame in being betrayed. Equates to carrying self-worth in strength; being in control; being successful; being larger than life; being one up.

Autonomy - shame in ager; shame in disappointing others. Equates to carrying self-worth in being the nicest and sweetest; being compliant.

Love and Sexuality - shame in being hurt and rejected; shame in having physical flaws; shame in receiving love and intimacy. Equates to carrying self-worth in being perfect; and being able to shut down and walk away first.

According to NARM the healing begins with increasing the capacity to understand your bodily and emotional awareness. The DBT theory of regulation supports this perfectly - first thing on the agenda is to start exploring the emotional world which resides in the body - then we will know what we need depending on the emotion - then we will know how to communicate the need appropriately to have our need met- in the case where we cannot have our need met DBT and NARM continues to align in showing how to expel the unfulfilled need and energy from our body.

The need for a holistic approach which identifies the importance for both the top-down and the bottom-up approach to healing of any trauma is essential.

In its simplest terms - to live a fulfilling life we need to be in connection with our mind, emotions and body. Trauma disconnects and isolates us not only within our own mind, emotions and body; also disconnects us from others. To reconnect with others, the first steps are to reconnect with ourselves. We disconnected because our bodily and emotional world is too painful therefore it is too scary to go back to it - however we have already survived. And if we were connected to our whole experience, we would know that we survived. Appropriate therapy supports with connecting you safely with your body and emotions so the trauma can be integrated and healed.

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