SE (Somatic Experiencing) and NARM are body oriented therapies that work with the effects of shock, trauma and stress. By accessing awareness of the body, they reconnect us with our own natural healing capacities, so that both physical and emotional symptoms of traumatic events can be released.
Trauma lives on in the body. After having gone through overwhelming experiences (either in childhood or later in life) without the opportunity to ‘digest’ the strong sensations connected to the events, the nervous system still acts as if the situation was ongoing, even years or decades later.
As a result, the body continues to respond as if it is still under threat. It is as if a part of us remains frozen in time.
When the body and the nervous system are in an agitated (or collapsed) state, our capacity for enjoyment is impaired. We may move through life with a sense of not feeling safe, an inability to relax or be fully present, with sleep or eating disorders, chronic pain or tension, addictions, or other stress-related symptoms.
The classic forms of talking psychotherapy are limited in working with traumatic symptoms since they don’t address the critical role of the body in healing. ‘Trauma is not in the event but in the nervous system’ (Dr Peter Levine) so to heal trauma, the body and specifically the nervous system must be included.
SE (Somatic Experiencing), the groundbreaking work of Dr Peter Levine, is based on his decades of research into the effects of trauma on animals and human beings. It is now the most widespread form of body-based (psycho)therapy in the world, due to its unparalleled efficiency in helping people come out of trauma-based symptoms and long-term suffering.
NARM (Neuro-Affective Relational Model) is a new cutting-edge approach developed by Dr Laurence Heller. NARM takes the principles of SE and its new way of working with the nervous system into the field of developmental (childhood) trauma. In NARM, we address the often life-long effects of childhood wounding and examine the resulting harmful emotions and beliefs about ourselves in a gentle and respectful, but very powerful way. As a consequence of this approach, clients report feeling less burdened by the past, freer and more ‘themselves’.
SE and NARM sessions are conducted sitting on chairs and may at times involve gentle bodywork on a table. The focus is on the here and now and on restoring and building new capacities. When we rediscover our body and release energies bound in trauma from our body, our capacity for vitality, enjoyment, and resilience to the stresses of life returns. Clients often refer to this process as ‘coming back home’.
Ralf Marzen is a psychologist (Dip Psych), trauma therapist (Somatic Experiencing and NARM), and mindfulness teacher. He is the first accredited NARM practitioner in the UK and an assistant to Dr Laurence Heller, founder of NARM. Ralf is also trained in Advanced EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) and ISP (Integrated Somatic Psychotherapy) under Raja Selvam, PhD. He is the director of StillPoint as well as Mudita School of Thai Yoga Massage. Ralf is dedicated to helping others cultivate more balanced, connected, and meaningful lives. His main website for trauma therapy and seminars is Embodied Trauma Healing.
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“I wanted to say that the session with you was really amazing. The transformation in how I feel is remarkable. My anxiety is nearly gone and so much more manageable. I worry a lot less about things which gives me space to work on things I really want to achieve.” K. E.
“My sessions with Ralf Marzen have deeply transformed my life. I suffered a deep childhood trauma which had a very negative impact on my entire life, my relationships with others and with myself. Over the years, I tried many ways to heal myself: through psychotherapy, travel, yoga, alternative therapies, a career change, readings… and although I made progress, I still felt as if something was missing. My issues seemed to be really ingrained in me, as if I had been wired in a way that was visibly irreversible.
I followed my instinct when I contacted Ralf. To my amazement, and in just a few sessions – in fact after one session already – I felt an entirely new type of effect. I was able to finally integrate what I’d been working on most of my life. I mean, truly FEELING the healing inside of me. It was like a homecoming, a relief or an explosion of joy. Deep shifts led to real transformation. Everything started to fall into place.
I feel honoured to be on this path and I am very grateful to Ralf for his help. With his empathic approach, his kindness and humility, he held my hand along the journey, making it feel safe, natural and rather effortless. Today, I can proudly say I have gained sustained clarity of thought, emotional autonomy and, most importantly, love and respect for myself. The ripple effect this has had in all areas of my life and especially in my relationships with others amazes me everyday. This new found inner freedom has surpassed all my hopes.”
“I wanted to try NARM and SE to see if it could help me resolve some anxiety issues. I knew straight after the first session with Ralf that something had changed, that the session had a deep effect, but it was only a few months later that I realised I wasn’t worrying nearly as much, and that I now react differently to difficult situations. I no longer see the worst possible outcome, instead I’m able to accept that if I have no control over the outcome then worrying does nothing to help. I’m able to just accept things as they are. I feel much calmer and more positive as a result. It’s amazing that just one session could have such a huge impact on my life.” S.A.