Healing the Relational Matrix
Touch is as necessary to the body as words are to the mind.
NeuroAffective Touch™, developed by Dr. Aline LaPierre, 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 can address developmental deficits and resolve traumas that cannot be reached by verbal means alone.
Psychotherapists trained in NeuroAffective Touch can become a new kind of partner in the therapeutic relationship. By directly “speaking” to the body, NeuroAffective Touch aims to:
- Nurture developmental deficits
- Encourage new neurological connections
- Elicit dormant impulses
- Stabilize hyper-activation
- Calm vigilance
- Release dysfunctional patterns
- Renegotiate family trauma
Because language is not yet “online” in the brain of an infant, NeuroAffective Touch addresses the effects of the earliest breaches in nurturing, attunement and safety that cannot be reached by language alone. Loving, respectful touch is essential to healthy growth and development, whereas lack of touch is so damaging it can even impair the desire to live. Touch is at the foundation of our relational experience; it is a fundamental mode of infant-caregiver interaction. What happens during our early development establishes the template for our capacity for connection with ourselves, our loved ones and particularly our intimate adult relationships.
NeuroAffective Touch helps practitioners develop solid skills for integrating touch interventions in their clinical practice. Six to ten million sensory receptors form an intricate network that connects the entire body to the brain via the nervous system. NeuroAffective Touch uses the contact with these receptors to guide a client’s attention inward to his or her interoceptive experiences—chronic bracing and collapse patterns, organ vibrations and energetic sensitivities—and brings awareness to these often unconscious or hard-to-perceive internal experiences. NeuroAffective Touch engages the felt-sense in a dialogue that leads to a felt-self emotional integration. In the work of the repair of the self, which spans all developmental stages, it directly addresses dissociation, dysregulation and states of self-fragmentation that interfere with the capacity for self-awareness and self-regulation.
Healing the Relational Matrix
Through physical contact with the body, it is possible to “tune in” to the inherent motion within, establishing a direct physiological rapport between the therapist and client. NeuroAffective Touch develops a therapist’s ability to experience and make sense of a client’s fine neural signaling and track signals in the different systems (skeletal, ligamentous, muscular, visceral, endocrine, nervous, fluid and fascia) as they operate to balance body and mind. NeuroAffective Touch fully integrates the fundamentals of relational somatic psychotherapy with current neuroscience research to enable psychotherapists to knowledgeably and skillfully support their clients capacity to heal the earliest developmental traumas.