The Developmental Needs Meeting Strategy (DNMS), is a very gentle, yet powerful therapy approach that has been used for a wide range of symptoms and issues, including anxiety, panic, and phobias; depression and relationship problems; and trauma and abuse.
Similar to EMDR, the DNMS is effective for working with a wide range of trauma and abuse. However, the DNMS is very unique in that it is especially effective in working with what are known as "attachment wounds."
Attachment wounds are a certain type of trauma that occur when parents (or caregivers) fail to adequately meet your needs. Examples include parents being neglectful, rejecting, invalidating, unsupportive or emotionally unavailable. Or, when certain important things were absent in your childhood, such as love, understanding, nurturing, protection, and connection. Attachment wounds create deficits or gaps in your development, which can lead to present day challenges, such as feeling unlovable, insignificant, inadequate, unsafe, and powerless.
Childhood development occurs in stages. In each stage, there's a set of needs that are ideally met by your parents (or caregivers). Examples of these needs include safety, security, love, connection, respect, and independence.
If your childhood needs were not sufficiently met, parts of yourself can get "stuck" in childhood. When this happens, you're vulnerable to being re-triggered into a wounded, younger part of yourself. For example, you may feel like an adult in one moment and then something upsetting happens, which triggers you into a child state of mind. This accounts for unwanted and uncomfortable thoughts, feelings, and behaviors (e.g. anger, jealousy, fear, sadness, inner criticism) that are at the root of anxiety, depression, and relationship issues. The DNMS is a very effective approach for helping you to get unstuck from the past so that you can live in the present, functioning from an adult state of mind.
One of the unique benefits of the DNMS is that it focuses on strengthening your internal resources (e.g. being nurturing, protective, confident, compassionate, loving, and accepting) and then utilizes these internal resources as a way to repair your own unmet childhood needs (e.g. neglect, abandonment, enmeshment, and attachment wounds). These resources are significantly beneficial to the therapy process and they are an invaluable support for helping you to successfully navigate your way through life's challenges.
In her book, The Developmental Needs Meeting Strategy, Shirley Jean Schmidt describes the challenges of having unmet childhood needs and the value of healing these needs:
"… when a young child gets connection, soothing, and nurturing needs met by parents, in the brain special neural networks form (which mimic the loving parents) and special neural pathways form (which communicate that mimicked love to other parts of the brain). As parents meet these needs over time, these neural networks and pathways become stronger and better developed, and eventually facilitate self-soothing. When this child is an adult, these neural pathways help in the management of painful emotions, especially at time of crisis or loss.
A child who does not get these needs met well, may not develop these neural networks and pathways well enough for self-soothing, and may have great difficulty as an adult, managing even mildly painful emotions.
The DNMS appears to help establish these pathways in adulthood. That means that, even if they were not formed well in childhood, they can be formed and strengthened now. The result is an adult brain capable of managing emotions well - the same brain the client would have had if those needs had been met in childhood."
The DNMS draws on a number of well-known therapies and disciplines, such as neuroscience, developmental psychology, ego state therapy, inner-child work, and EMDR. In fact, the DNMS utilizes the same bilateral stimulation technique that helps to make EMDR so powerful.
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