NeuroAffective Touch& The Life Force Model
A Synthesis of Somatic, Psychodynamic, and Energy Approaches
for Healing Developmental Trauma and Supporting Post-Traumatic Growth

2017 Los Angeles Basic Training

Renegotiating Developmental and Relational Trauma

Five 2½-day Modules

Module 1 Jan 27-29 •  Module 2 March 3-5  •  Module 3 April 21-23
Module 4 June 9-11  •  Module 5 July 21-23

Friday 10am-6pm  •  Saturday 9am-5pm  •  Sunday 9am-2pm

NeuroAffective Touch™ and the Biological Life Force Model is a psychobiological approach that integrates the key elements of developmental theory, relational psychotherapy, and somatic psychotherapy. By highlighting the primary importance of the body and emphasizing its equality with the mind, NeuroAffective Touch (NATouch) can address developmental deficits and resolve traumas that cannot be reached by verbal means alone.

This 5-module training will introduce participants to somatic psychotherapy and to the use of touch as a vital somatic therapeutic intervention. It is designed to progressively build therapists’ skill and confidence in integrating body-centered interventions into their clinical practice. It will be helpful to all mental health and bodywork practitioners who wish to increase their capacity to integrate body and mind in the resolution of developmental and relational trauma.

The Training
We have organized the modules to parallel the stages of psychobiological development, beginning with conception, pre-natal development, and birth and progressing to the phases of separation and individuation adding the individuation of the bodily self as a source of deeper identity.

Your clients’ bodies tell the story of their struggle to love and be loved. For example, pressures on the cranial base, spine, diaphragm, rib cage, heart, lungs, or digestive system reflect and maintain the developmental injuries of abandonment, neglect, abuse, and betrayal. Thus, the capacity to track and engage bodily states — changes in heart rate, respiration, muscle tension, visceral shifts, autonomic temperature, etc., — is fundamental to the renegotiation of developmental and relational trauma.

A core principle of NATouch training is that to work with a client’s body, therapists must know their own. We therefore include a focus on personal psychobiological awareness to help practitioners develop an embodied presence that heightens their sensory attunement and clinical effectiveness.

Module 1

Healing Our Deepest Core: Nurturing Pre-Natal & Infant States
Conception Biological Life Force Connection Attunement

This model transcends the limitations of talk therapy for healing early core relational wounds. We address what to do when there are no words, when words are not enough, or when words get in the way. We explore how to proceed when clients suffer from nonverbal or preverbal distress reflected in their difficulty with:

     • Experiencing themselves & knowing they exist
     • Identifying & communicating their needs
     • Feeling trapped in the negative self states of guilt, shame, or judgement
     • Soothing themselves & developing self-regulation

We start at the beginning, at conception and the inception of Life Force to “get under” and beyond trauma to support growth. We begin with an experiential introduction that helps you embody the principles of the Biological Life Force, orient developmental processes to the Midline Regulatory Axis, and become familiar with the Polyvagal Energy Centers that guide the growth of the self.

Healing developmental trauma starts with offering clients the missing nonverbal experiences of connection, support, attunement, and nurturing. Learn to fine-tune your clinical presence and foundational touch intentions to address the three essential states necessary for secure attachment and the development of the self:

     • I exist
     • I am loved
     • My needs are important

In this module you will learn and practice how to:

     • Anchor healing in the biological life force
     • Map the body for trauma resolution
     • Somatically track yourself & your client
     • Create dialogues to stabilize the mind-body relationship & free it from judgment
     • Slow down into being
     • Center in your midline axis
     • Maintain a time-line awareness of past, present, & future
     • Language nonverbal states to bridge early sensory experiences with cognitive adult awareness
     • Meet a client’s tender needs without creating dependency

Module 2

Touching the Emotional Body to Support Self-Regulation
Breath Heart Identity

Expand the traditional psychodynamic understanding of identity as residing in the mind. Learn how to help clients who live primarily in their minds, in frozen trauma states, and in identifications that trap them in their thoughts to connect to their heart and their capacity for emotion, empathy, and self-compassion.

Support self regulation. Apply the latest research in Affective Neuroscience to touch into the Polyvagal Energy Centers that seek connection and generate emotion. Work with and release the Diaphragmatic Gates that regulate emotion and contain trauma states.

In this module you will learn and practice how to:

     • Use the nonverbal language of touch with its alphabet of intentions, pressures, rhythms, & movements
     • Explore the Primacy of the Heart as an emotional identity center
     • Map dysregulated emotional patterns in the polyvagal, diaphragmatic, & life force systems addressing developmental & relational trauma

Module 3

The Biological Life Force, Emergence, & The Growth of the Self
Renegotiating Developmental and Family Trauma Part 1

Help clients move from despair to growth. Traumatized clients who live in parasympathetically dominant states of freeze, disconnection, depression, despair, and hopelessness can be among the most challenging for therapists to reach. These clients often come to therapy trapped in distress cycles; their anguished minds are caught in trauma vortexes that can only focus on problems, self-judgment, blame, and shame.

Learn to tap directly into your clients’ biological life force to get under trauma and catalyze growth. Use the NATouch Matrix to recognize the often subtle yet powerful clinical indicators of biological life force encoded in your clients’ language, imagery, gestures, passion, and creativity. Learn the stages of neural signaling and refine your palpation skills to sense these signals as they shift from frozen, dysregulated, or dissociated states to re-connection, pulsation, and psychobiological integration.

Focus on healing the throat and freeing the voice, a key channel for self-expression. Learn to nurture and guide the emergence of the self via the dynamic interplay between secure expression, growing trust, expanding life force, and the renegotiation of trauma-based beliefs and self-image.

In this module you will learn and practice how to:

     • Use the NATouch protocols to open the polyvagal throat expression center
     • Refine access to the biological life force via a deeper connection to the energy centers long the midline axis
     • Support emergence of the self by languaging bodily experience & inviting the mind to join in collaborative mind-heart-body dialogues

Module 4

Releasing the Protective States of Bracing & Collapse
Renegotiating Developmental and Family Trauma Part 2

Are you challenged by clients who suffer from traumas involving profound betrayal or shame, individuals who have disconnected from their bodies, distrust their body’s reactions, or fear physical contact? Does countertransference complicate your work with sexual trauma survivors? Learn how to help these clients explore safe contact with their inner selves, their bodies, and others through the renegotiation of connection and touch.

Your clients’ bodies tell the story of their struggle to love and be loved. Learn to deconstruct and heal the somatic numbing, bracing, and rigidity that result from abuse, neglect, abandonment, and violation. Use the NATouch Matrix to co-construct with your clients a multi-dimensional verbal and nonverbal map of the flow and blockages that are the outcome of their relationship history. This map can guide you through the phases of trauma resolution to post-traumatic growth.

Learn the NATouch approach to healing connection for sexual trauma, a safe, gentle, and respectful path to recovery from the vulnerable and intimate wounding of sexual abuse. Reconstruct the protective boundaries that bring the body back to safety and open the capacity for loving connection often deeply buried by sexual trauma. Learn interventions that re-establish the capacity for agency, strength, and power in the body’s midline, arms, and legs.

In this module you will learn and practice how to:

     • Open new neural pathways to bring change to unconscious, procedural movement & postural patterns
     • Activate the body’s protective boundaries & anchor these boundaries in the bones & muscles

Module 5

Healing the Hypervigilance System & Coming Fully Into the World
Renegotiating Developmental and Family Trauma Part 3

Do your clients suffer from sometimes confusing sensory and physical reactions? These may include: exaggerated startle reactions to sound and light, darting or blocked eyes, and muscular tension and knots that cause chronic pain particularly in the neck, shoulders, and back.

Chronic distress and relational trauma overstimulate the sensory orienting systems of the ears and eyes, leaving clients highly reactive and trapped in a fearful and distorted world of negative projections and introjects. Relational trauma compromises the auditory and visual senses and traumatized clients experience the world through the restricted filters of fearful, vigilant perception and braced, frozen musculature. These clients are often highly sensitive and easily triggered by their environment. Their sensitivity can make sessions challenging for both client and therapist.

In this module you will learn and practice how to:

     • Refine your NATouch mapping of the ventral vagal system
     • Learn NATouch protocols to help the ears stop listening for danger & the eyes stop looking for threat, & to reset the vigilance system
     • Use the NATouch Matrix to explore the sensory, muscular, & psychological convergence of the ears, eyes, jaw, cranial base, neck, shoulders, & back



Tuition $495 per module / Discount for all five modules $2,000 (A saving of $475)

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ALINE LAPIERRE, PsyD, MFT, SEP, has been actively involved in the field of somatic psychology for 30 years and specializes in the integration of relational psychodynamic and body-centered psychotherapy. She is the coauthor of Healing Developmental Trauma: How Early Trauma Affects Self-Regulation, Self-Image, and the Capacity for Relationship and will soon publish her second book on family trauma. Dr. LaPierre was on the faculty of the Somatic Doctoral Program at Santa Barbara Graduate Institute for 10 years. A graduate of Pacifica Graduate Institute, she also trained as a psychoanalyst at the New Center for Psychoanalysis in Los Angeles. Her knowledge of the body is grounded in years of study with Emilie Conrad at Continuum as well as in Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen’s BodyMInd Centering. She was a member of the Allan Schore Affective Neuroscience study group for several years and is in private practice in Brentwood.

Our supporting teaching team offers a broad range of skilled clinical and somatic experience

LAURA MELTON, SEP, CMP, blends Somatic Experiencing with yoga, bodywork, movement, and attachment theory. She is trained in Esalen Massage, Biodynamic and Upledger Craniosacral Therapy, OrthoBionomy, Bodynamics, and NARM. She currently works as an addiction counselor intern and maintains a private practice in Tarzana and Beverly Hills. NED RODRIGUEZ, PhD, began his career as a biology research scientist, moving to traumatology at the National Center for PTSD. He was on the faculty at UCLA and published seminal studies on PTSD and sexual abuse. With a passion for somatic psychology and the role of the biological life force in healing trauma, his clinical work of 30 years integrates the innovative therapies of NAtouch, NARM, and SE with psychodynamic approaches. LEE ANN TEANEY, MA, MFT, has been in private practice in West LA for over 25 years. She is co-founder of Cutting Edge Counseling where cutting edge somatic therapies such as NAtouch, EMDR, and SE are core to her and her team’s approach. She is a long time Vipassana meditator as well as an active advocate for social, racial, and LGBTQI equality and justice.