Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Healing Developmental Trauma: How Early Trauma Affects Self-Regulation, Self-Image, and the Capacity for Relationship” as Want to Read:
Healing Developmental Trauma: How Early Trauma Affects Self-Regulation, Self-Image, and the Capacity for Relationship
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Healing Developmental Trauma: How Early Trauma Affects Self-Regulation, Self-Image, and the Capacity for Relationship

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  766 ratings  ·  58 reviews
Although it may seem that humans suffer from an endless number of emotional problems and challenges, Healing Developmental Trauma presents a model for psychotherapy and growth showing that most emotional difficulties can be traced back to the compromised development of one or more five core capacities. These five core capacities are associated with biologically based core ...more
ebook, 320 pages
Published September 25th 2012 by North Atlantic Books (first published January 1st 2012)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.23  · 
Rating details
 ·  766 ratings  ·  58 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Healing Developmental Trauma: How Early Trauma Affects Self-Regulation, Self-Image, and the Capacity for Relationship
Morgan Blackledge
May 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing



Inspirational read.

The book is written for therapist, so it’s a little technical for an untrained reader, and probably not as useful as some other books on the subject.

A better option for a non therapist reader would be The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Vanderkolk. I also LOVE Childhood Disrupted by Donna Jackson Nakazawa.

Many of the theories posited in the book are not rigorously supported by evidence or clinical trials
Maria Menozzi
Sep 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Far from a dry read of psychological theory, this book gives a concise, non-pathologizing process for healing developmental trauma, e.g. childhood abuse. This process, known as NARM, the Neuro Affective Relational Model, focuses on how trauma affects our ability to have safe, productive, constructive relational experiences with self and others and the dire effects that has on our ability to function daily and find meaning and purpose in life. There are five "survival styles" depicted and delinea ...more
Nov 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book really illuminates the trauma experienced in childhood when primary caregivers are unable to provide healthy attachment experiences with their children either because they suffer from addiction, mental illness, or have not worked through their own attachment trauma. Heller really puts some amazing pieces together to form a whole picture of how adaptations to early attachment trauma create patterns of behavior that carry into adulthood. The science behind the physiological responses to ...more
Sep 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Draws together all major lines of theory, research - accurately so IMO.

Their approach views developmental trauma as leading to five main adaptive/organizing styles, depending on age when trauma began relating to connection, attunement, trust, autonomy, and love-sexuality. Most of the book addresses how to deal with connection difficulties, but arguably all are intertwined.

A couple of chapters give case studies of how therapy may proceed from this model. It is a somatic approach - and is similar
Steve Woods
Sep 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A really useful book for anyone dealing with the effects of childhood trauma, or even the consequences of later "shock" trauma. With a small grounding in these techniques some decades ago, I have by instinct worked out ways to process much of the traumatic experiences that have been so much part of my life, both childhood abuse and combat related ptsd. This book just formalized my own approach and provided reinforcement of my internal sense of conviction that this is the way forward and of my se ...more
Jun 30, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: psychology
Perhaps this is really a 4-star book but when compared to Bessel van der Kolk's "The Body Keeps the Score", this book felt like a distant second place. The 5 subtypes of developmental trauma in the beginning of the book were interesting but overly-generalized without enough room to contain variants and amalgamations which clearly exist. Only 1 of the 5 subtypes was explored in depth, the "Connection" subtype, which was a big disappointment. Based on the level of self-promotion and trademarked te ...more
Christine Fay
Nov 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Overall, this book is written in accessible scientific language. It was very enlightening for me to understand myself as well as others, and that we are all somewhat damaged (whether it be intentionally or unintentionally) by our families of origin.

“As a result of the earliest trauma, individuals with the Connection Survival Style have disconnected from their bodies, from themselves, and from relationship. Connection types have two seemingly different coping styles or subtypes: the thinking and
Jun 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: psychology
This book is a blueprint into our subconsciousness. It explains why all of us at times act in a very irrational way, why we can't quite control it, why we deny that fact and why we can also be resistant to seeking out or receiving the help we need.

The authors present the subject matter in a very non-judgmental and non pathological way; they use cause and effect approach. They also don't just present a problem, they present a healing approach that is holistic as it draws upon many different psych
Mar 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Lawrence Heller and Aline Lapierre deliver a brilliant synthesis of developmental psychology, psychoanalytic theory and the work of Peter Levine (Somatic Experienceing). Heller and Lapierre bring together "top down" and "bottom up" approaches to understanding and intervening in with challenges of developmental trauma and nervous system disregulation which are critical in understanding emotional wellbeing.

This book extremely well written and easy to digest despite the complexity that is addressed
Feb 01, 2016 rated it liked it
If I were just reviewing the second half of this book I would give it four stars. The clinical vignettes, interventions, and approach to psychotherapy are illuminating, exciting, and immediately applicable. The focus on the body, integrating experience, and facilitating self-regulation are excellent clinical interventions that are described systematically and coherently. I am considering the multi-year training course because I can easily see how these methods could be of valuable use in clinica ...more
Sergey Bir
Nov 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourite
the most important book i've read
Teo 2050


Heller L & LaPierre A (2012) (10:29) Healing Developmental Trauma - How Early Trauma Affects Self-Regulation, Self-Image, and the Capacity for Relationship


List of Figures
• 01.1. Exercise to Help Identify Experiences of Expansion and Aliveness
• 01.2. Distortions of the Life Force
• 01.3. Top-Down and Bottom-Up Information Flow
• 01.4. The Distress Cycle
• 01.5. The NARM Healing Cycle
• 06.1. Distortions of the Life Force in Each of the Five Adaptive Surviva
Jan 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A top-notch approach called N.A.R.M (NeuroAffective Relational Model) for healing developmental trauma. Combines somatic techniques from Somatic Experience like orienting, pendulation, grounding with Attachment theory, body centered therapies which some include touch (wow, as a client in therapy these approach is to me so humane). Talk therapies and Top-down approaches (as CBT) fall short for individuals suffering from relational missatunement, neglect, abuse, birth trauma, attachment disturbanc ...more
Nate Bate
Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I need to to revisit this book again in the future, and then a few more times after that. I consider it a valuable tool in understanding trauma from childhood. However, depending on how much you are affected by your own childhood, your ability to absorb these concepts could be limited.

As long as you are the type of reader that likes though provoking material and you like to study how people work, this book will be very valuable to you. It is detailed, and it has plenty of overlap. It is a great
Apr 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book, so much information in one book. It is not hard to read, especially if you are interested in topics like this. If you are Connected survival style person then you will be amazed with how much of You is in this book.
David Esposito
Aug 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Was shocked when without insurance or anything and after a traumatic experience I came to find that recent experience woke up a whole host of things in me I don’t know where there. This book shocked me as after realizing I had also grown up in a narc family with plenty of intergenerational trauma and some how I became the one strong enough to question things despite being blind to why it didn’t make sense at the time, books like this have greatly helped me come out of the fog.

Humans are inherent
Sep 29, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: therapy-trauma
As a therapist I was very disappointed in this book. It should be called "Trauma 101 and look how we stole SE's ideas without any research of our own to back it up".

Nothing new here folks, just cobbling together other people's theories and renaming it. Identity principles... you mean attachment styles? Poly-vagal, gestalt, mindfulness, they brought it all in. This book offers the basic fundamentals of therapy which every therapist knows yet tries to wrap it up in something new (NARM) without re
Dec 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm not a therapist, so I cannot evaluate this book for its clinical use, but as a lay person I found the explanation of the NARM (neuroaffective relational model) therapeutic approach accessible. Heller thoroughly describes the physiological responses to trauma at an early age, how the body locks in the memory of trauma, and what kinds of therapy help unlock and process each traumatic manifestation.
Heiki Eesmaa
Jul 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
A superb synthesis of body-centered approaches, bonding theory, neuroscience, trauma theory and ... more. It feels fresh, wise, and original. Great case examples, including commented session scripts. Very interesting work with gaze is described.
Candace Wegner
Jan 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
A bit difficult to get into but well worth the read. Excellent reference for those who work with hurting people.
Jun 21, 2015 rated it liked it
Whilst this book contained some very interesting information, some chapters were really difficult to get through, especially in terms of repetition and writing style.
Jul 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: psychology
I found this book incredibly helpful.

It identifies the differences (and similarities) between experiencing developmental trauma as a young child to shock trauma experienced as an adult. This is very similar to the difference between Complex PTSD and PTSD.

In identifying the differences, the authors then explain scientifically why different therapeutic approaches are required for cPTSD and PTSD.

The book puts forward a particular therapeutic model developed by one of the authors called NeuroAffecti
Jul 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Trauma comes in many forms. The form that most people know is shock trauma from individual events. For example, nearly choking to death via umbilical cord in birth. You can’t even have a memory of that, but it can still cause post-traumatic symptoms throughout life. A more common, but less known, form is developmental trauma, which is a prolonged or repetitive exposure to threatening events as a young one. For example, prolonged neglect or isolation can produce a post-traumatic stress disorder. ...more
Aug 05, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology-edu
This book is an amalgamation of many theories that is not without merit. It can be useful addition to any reader's investigation of how and what might help humans in pain. But, the authors use the world of psychological theory and research, picking and sifting out what they like and taking it into their own approach. This is fine except that in the process they criticize the theories and approaches they are actually taking from. And in my view, do so without demonstrating that they actually have ...more
Jennifer James
Sep 22, 2018 rated it liked it
This book is definitely for mental health professionals. I read it thinking that I was preparing to recommend it to some of my clients, but I realize now that it would be too technical for them. That being said, I think that there was some useful information for clinicians working with developmentally traumatized patients. There was one chapter in particular about how people develop strategies to cope with their childhoods that resulted in my having an "aha moment," which is something that I lov ...more
Oct 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful book on how developmental trauma affects you throughout life. The descriptions on the various survival styles, shame and pride based identifications gave me a much deeper understanding of people's personalities, both with my clients and those in real life.

I found the session transcripts a bit monotonous towards the end, but I assume this information would be great for therapists, as I noticed this book is written for therapists and clinicians. I still loved the information and intend
May 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent Book on Developmental Trauma

Until my therapist recommended this book, I had no idea that I was suffering from developmental trauma. Prior to reading this book, I thought all my traumas were shock-based. The author's carefully and thoroughly explain the differences between these two types of traumas.

I will need to read it again to absorb the healing on a deeper level. It was not easy to read about why I am the way I am, but the author's conveyed their message of hope and healing in a g
Antonia Onaca
Sep 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of the most structured books on C-PTSD. It was easy to follow even if it's packed with complex information and easy to learn from it. It has a lot of boxes where chapters of information are organised as mind maps.
I particularly liked the practical part of it (with examples and all).
Also, it's the book that keeps on giving. I've read it two times and found a lot of new connections the second time also ... it's full of rich content.
Kathleen McKee
Dec 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Dense but very important work about how to work with people who have suffered subtle to intense neglect in early childhood, how that affects us know, and the nuances of therapy that are important to keep in mind with different kinds if attachment issues that each person may have experienced.
David Robertson
Dec 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good news for war born children!

This book gave me many insights into the relevance of psychosomatic techniques and their usefulness in healing early trauma children often experience, especially children born war.
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma
  • Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving
  • The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma
  • Healing Trauma: Restoring the Wisdom of Your Body
  • The Tao of fully feeling: Harvesting forgiveness out of blame
  • The Body Remembers: The Psychophysiology of Trauma and Trauma Treatment
  • In an Unspoken Voice: How the Body Releases Trauma and Restores Goodness
  • When the Body Says No: The Cost of Hidden Stress
  • Trauma and Memory: Brain and Body in a Search for the Living Past
  • Attachment in Psychotherapy
  • Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence - From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror
  • Running on Empty: Overcome Your Childhood Emotional Neglect
  • The Polyvagal Theory in Therapy: Engaging the Rhythm of Regulation
  • Childhood Disrupted: How Your Biography Becomes Your Biology, and How You Can Heal
  • It Didn't Start with You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle
  • The Drama of the Gifted Child: The Search for the True Self
  • Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others
  • Healing the Fragmented Selves of Trauma Survivors: Overcoming Internal Self-Alienation
See similar books…

Related Articles

Last year, Buzzfeed culture writer Anne Helen Petersen struck a chord with her viral article “How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation.”...
100 likes · 16 comments
“Paradoxically, the more we try to change ourselves, the more we prevent change from occurring. On the other hand, the more we allow ourselves to fully experience who we are, the greater the possibility of change.” 7 likes
“Love that is conditional upon looks and performance is not love at all” 2 likes
More quotes…