This guide is arranged in the same way for each modality:
- Introduction of the modality’s definition and purpose
- The link to the official information
- A sharing of my experience of the modality
I do not claim to be an expert in regard to any of them nor do I claim to have information about every healing modality that exists.
The purpose of this guide is meant to raise awareness as to what I know exists in the hope that others may also be prompted to seek healing and transformation for themselves.
Whether you seek something written in this guide is not the point. The point is to engender you to seek beauty in this world from the inside out. May you find more and more beauty each day.
Chapter 1: Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
Chapter 2: Developmental Needs Meeting Strategy (DNMS)
Definition per the DNMS Institute*
The DNMS is a gentle, multidimensional, comprehensive, strengths-based, client-centered, ego-state therapy developed by Shirley Jean Schmidt, MA, LPC to treat both trauma and attachment wounds. It gives equal importance to repairing wounds inflicted because of bad things that happened (e.g. abuse) and good things that did not happen (e.g. loving attunement, nurturing, validation, encouragement, etc.). It’s based on the assumption that a child who repeatedly hears devaluing messages (like, “You’re worthless” or “You’re irrelevant”) from unkind people, will grow up with parts of self that are stuck in the past. In adulthood, those reactive parts can feel small and powerless – easily overwhelmed by stressful events. In addition, another type of wounded part can get stuck in the past – a maladaptive introject. Introjects hold recordings of others’ devaluing messages, and when triggered, play back those old messages to reactive parts. This evokes all the same painful emotions in adulthood that were experienced in the past. This constant internal re-wounding of reactive parts creates the illusion that the old wounding experiences are still happening and relevant right now.
Instead of focusing on reprocessing trauma, the DNMS focuses on meeting unmet emotional needs. This is accomplished as wounded parts make a loving, healing connection to a team of robust inner Resources. This approach can successfully heal any kind of wounding inflicted by a person – whether wounds are minor, moderate, or severe; intentional or unintentional; physical or emotional; from acts of omission or commission. And because the healing work is a love-fest focused on meeting needs, not processing trauma, it’s always gentle and nurturing, with minimal risk of emotional overwhelm or retraumatization.
Many therapy models emphasize the importance of the client-therapist therapeutic alliance in healing attachment wounds. They suggest a therapist can provide enough corrective emotional experiences over time, just by listening with compassion and empathy, and modeling unconditional acceptance and understanding. While this may work with some clients, it puts a big burden on the therapist. During the DNMS, a therapist’s attunement to a client is very important, but once a client has gotten past the rapport-building stage, the primary agent for change is not a therapeutic alliance with the therapist, but the loving, supportive, stabilizing relationship wounded parts have with the Resources. This shifts the responsibility of meeting unmet emotional needs from the therapist, to the client’s own inner Resources.
* Compiled from multiple pages of the DNMS website
Link to the DNMS Institute: https://dnmsinstitute.com/clients/
DNMS has played a VERY BIG ROLE in my moving past some very stuck places in my life. What I love about DNMS is that it empowers ME to be the one tapping into my source and resources to facilitate healing. The healing occurs through integration of wounded parts into my adult self who I find eagerly awaits the opportunity to welcome and love those parts. My being at the helm of this process builds inner trust that I have everything in me to move through the stuck places. As a recovering codependent, as one who has consistently given away my power and responsibility by looking to others for answers, this has been an important muscle for me to build.
My experience of DNMS is one of…
- Absolute shift
The actual process itself is very structured, although my therapist has been flexible in highlighting portions that will better serve me, depending on the day. The basis of the DNMS is the creation of an internal safe haven built with your own inner resources of compassion, nurture and spirit. Into that safe haven, all parts seeking healing can find refuge; it is the gateway to a part’s integration with your adult self.
While not a necessity, bringing a strong spiritual attunement and practice to the process is a benefit as it has supported me to quickly create that safe haven. It has also given me the ability to sit, listen and process for long periods. Sometimes I’ve been so deep in spirit that I’ve sat for an hour processing internally without one word passing between my therapist and me. Granted, this is unusual, but it has happened.
You may wonder what is going on inside of me during that time. I start by welcoming the wounded part into the safe haven I’ve created. I hear what it has to say, what it needs. Then I sit with it as it slowly absorbs the love available to it through the loving resources that already exist inside me. Imagine water slowly seeping into hard, dry ground. Once the wounded part enters into the safe haven, the healing waters slowly penetrate the hurting part and little-by-little, with continual inner allowance and guidance through the process by the therapist, the part is absorbed into the whole. Eventually, I am able to see the story the wounded part is telling me for what it truly is – a story. It no longer has its tentacles in me and I am now able to distinguish it in such a way that its power melts away. It is absorbed/integrated into my adult self.
I find it truly miraculous how absolutely I shift through this process. After some DNMS sessions, my mind is free, my body is free. A big weight is lifted. I don’t have to “work hard” anymore to fight thought patterns, because I am walking down new pathways. That is freedom to me!
I want to be clear that what I described above is not every DNMS session. Sometimes it takes multiple sessions to shift into freedom. Sometimes it takes the combination of multiple modalities (more on that later). Sometimes freedom comes in a less dramatic way. We are all so different and your experience will look like your experience.
- If you are willing to sit with the discomfort of allowing wounded parts to surface
- If you are open to trusting the process
- If you are willing to create a safe space of acceptance and love for those parts …you will find freedom.
And, in my experience, once you’ve experienced the freedom you want more. When I am freed up, I have more power to choose living from my best and highest self.