NeuroAffective Touch® Training
NeuroAffective Touch® (NATouch™) is a neurologically informed psychotherapy that uses somatic and body-centred approaches as vital psychobiological interventions. Designed to integrate the disciplines of psychotherapy and bodywork, the training uses the key elements of developmental theory, relational psychotherapy, somatic psychology, and bodywork. By highlighting the primary role of the body and emphasising its equal importance to the mind, NeuroAffective Touch® addresses emotional, relational, cognitive, and developmental deficits that cannot be reached by verbal means alone.
The video clips below show a samples of lecture and the start of a NATouch class demonstration.
We address what to do when there are no words, when words are not enough, or when words get in the way. We transcend the limitations of talk therapy for healing core relational wounds. We explore how to proceed when clients suffer from nonverbal or preverbal distress reflected in their difficulty with:
- Experiencing themselves and knowing they exist
- Soothing themselves and developing self-regulation
- Identifying and communicating their needs
- Feeling trapped in negative states of self-judgment, shame and guilt
Dr. Aline LaPierre, Creator of NeuroAffective Touch®
Bringing compassionate presence to the body is essential to address the neural numbing, muscular bracing, and autonomic disorganisation that are the physiological correlates of grief, shame, anger, and fear.
In NeuroAffective Touch®, we use a variety of body-centred techniques to work bottom-up with implicit procedural behaviour, posture, and movement, and top-down with trauma-based thoughts, beliefs, and identifications.
Therefore, healing from the emotional traumas sustained in relationships with parents and caregivers requires a body-mind approach. The mind must learn to decode the sensory language of emotionally shocked tissues, organs, and body systems. We believe that in its own way, the body’s intelligence is equal to the mind’s and we facilitate their collaborative partnership.
For example, pressures on the cranial base and brain stem, respiratory diaphragm, heart, or digestive system reflect and maintain the emotional injuries of abandonment, neglect, abuse, and betrayal. Thus, the ability to address chronic emotional shock goes hand in hand with nurturing a dysregulated physiology. NeuroAffective Touch enables the release of fear and tension in the musculature and organs and cultivates the heart connection that supports post-traumatic growth.
The training addresses psychobiological development from conception to birth and through the identity-forming phases of separation and individuation. It connects the development of self-image and identity to the individuation of the body.
We are aware that psychotherapists who are new to body-centred work may not develop their expertise in working with the body as extensively as bodyworkers. Similarly, most bodyworkers will not develop their verbal and psychological skills as extensively as mental health practitioners.
Nonetheless, we believe that integrated healing requires skills in both talk and bodywork. This combined use of verbal skills and body-centred work is crucial to working with developmental issues because the developmental progression moves forward within the integrated growth of mind and body – thinking, feeling and sensing develop as an interdependent unified whole.
This training gives special attention to the personal somatic development of the practitioner. NATouch™ recognises that to work with a client’s body, therapists must know their own. The training therefore includes a focus on personal psychobiological awareness to help practitioners develop an embodied presence that heightens their capacity for sensory attunement and resonance in their clinical work.
Participants are encouraged to carefully define their training goals and are invited to work their edge and focus their practice time on building the particular skills they wish to develop. Faculty and teaching assistants are available to support each student’s learning needs.
To enhance your clinical outcomes by integrating body and mind in the resolution of attachment trauma and emotional/relational deficits.
- Develop the key somatic and bodywork skills necessary for working with attachment deficits
- Access preverbal and nonverbal states
- Move beyond the traditional psychodynamic understanding of identity as residing in the mind by working simultaneously top-down with the mind and bottom-up with the body
- Use neuroception, interoception, and proprioception to work with implicit procedural memory and resolve dissociative states
- Teach clients practical self-care touch exercises to stabilise their nervous system
The Hybrid Training in Detail
To support the integration of NeuroAffective Touch® principles and skills into your clinical work the training comprises an Online Program of three x 3-day modules, and one x 5-day Touch Intensive Masterclass, for a total of 75 hours.
With a mix of theory and practice, the training format consists of lectures, guided group exercises, demonstrations, practice with fellow participants, questions & answers and directed readings. A comprehensive training manual is provided.
Visit the Curriculum for a complete overview of the training and learning objectives.
Upon completion of each NATouch™ component a participant will receive the relevant Certificate of Completion. After completing both the Online Program and the Touch Intensive Masterclass a Certificate of Completion is issued for the NeuroAffective Touch Foundation Training. There is the option to complete additional requirements to achieve NeuroAffective Touch® Practitoner Certification.
Each online module comprises 3 days (5 class hours per day). The training material will be presented and integrated in a variety of ways including live-streamed lectures and Zoom community meetings with breakout dyad exercises. NATouch™ assistants will be present throughout the day.
Check-in, Opening Lecture
- Check-in and community building.
- Opening lecture with an overview of the training and orientation to the module.
Lectures and Demonstrations
As many practitioners are now doing more sessions online, the content will bring an enhanced focus on self-touch and self-care protocols for clients, as well as guidance for establishing a somatic contemplative practice. This will give you in-depth interoceptive experience of your own body and help you teach your clients how to work with their bodies.
- Introduction to the anatomy/physiology/psychological functions of body areas.
- Demonstration of touch skills.
- Self-touch exploration and somatic contemplative practice.
- Demonstration sessions that are either pre-recorded with real-time commentary, or real-time online using a live-stream system with 4 cameras to cover all angles.
- Zoom community meetings with breakout exercises and Q&A.
NOTE: If you are not able to attend a lecture at its delivery time, your live-stream link allows you to watch it at a time of your choice.
- Video links to all the lectures and demos to review in your own time for 5 years.
- A comprehensive 200-page Manual; printed in black & white and a pdf of the coloured version.
- Access to the lecture Keynotes power point slides.
To support the integration of NeuroAffective Touch® principles and skills into your clinical work the Hybrid training also includes:
Online Exchange Practice Therapy Sessions
50-minute somatic therapy exchange sessions with a colleague, each session concludes with a 10 mins debrief discussion between partners.
- A total of three sessions to be held at a time of your choice after modules 1, 2, and 3. The session may be online or in-person if you have colleagues nearby.
- You may choose your practice partner or our staff will pair you with a partner.
- A one-page reflection paper of your experience as therapist and as client; to be submitted to Aline for review.
- Questions arising from the online sessions can be brought to the case consultations.
Large Group Case Consultations ― 3 x 2½ hours each
Facilitated by Dr. Aline LaPierre, the large group case consultations help to clinically anchor the NATouch™ theory and practice of each module.
- An online faculty case consultation is held after modules 1, 2, and 3.
- The three case consults will count towards NATouch™ Certification requirements.
Dates will be scheduled for late 2022 but these can only be confirmed when CoVid travel and quarantine restrictions are lifted and it is possible to come together.
Touch Intensive Masterclass: In-Person
The 5-day module has a focus on hands-on touch practice and protocols, a review of lecture content and additional material.
Experiential Exercises – table or chair ?
Experiential practice will be in dyads with Aline and teaching assistants available to support each student’s learning needs and answer queries.
For each practice participants may choose to work on either a chair or a table. A “chair corner” will be provided with an assigned assistant to show how to adapt the work for working in chairs. Ideal for those who cannot work on tables due to licence/association requirements or for clients who prefer to sit in a chair rather than lie on a table.
Total Value $927 AUD
1 extra attendance day for the Touch Intensive Masterclass – value $350 AUD ($250 USD)
Elsewhere the Touch Intensive is 4 days only.
Nurture To Heal™ Therapeutic Pillows – value $152 AUD ($108 USD)
A complimentary set of three ‘Nurture To Heal™ Therapeutic Pillows’ to help you get started with the practical.
Study Groups: two x 3½ hours each – value $425 AUD ($300 USD)
3½ hours each – a choice of attending ‘live’ online or viewing the videos. The study groups will count towards the optional NATouch™ Practitioner Certification.
You may attend a future live-streamed study group or choose from a selection of past recorded study groups.
- Q&A with Clinical Discussion – 1 hour is devoted to clinical questions and discussion.
- New Material and Hands-On Techniques – 1 hour is devoted to new material and presentation of hands-on techniques.
- Session Demonstration – 1½ hours are devoted to a live session with one of the participants. This allows participants to witness a wider variety of interventions than is possible to demonstrate in the Foundation Training.
- In-depth discussion of the session to integrate the interventions and principles used.
- offer applies only when enrolling in the Touch Intensive Masterclass via SE™ Australia.
- access to the study groups is available once the Touch Intensive tuition fee is paid in full.
- if a participant cancels part way through the program and the complimentary study groups have already been accessed then the cost of those study groups is deducted from any applicable refund
Ongoing Study Groups
For participants who wish to further deepen their expertise, ongoing study groups and online consultations are available. The Study Group is open to all NeuroAffective Touch® Foundation Training graduates and to current students.
A Study Group can be attended In Person, Live Streamed with chat, or Recorded if you cannot attend at the time of the live group. All registered participants automatically receive a link to the recording to review anytime. Past recorded Study Groups are available.
The 3½ hours Study Group offers a combination of Q&A with clinical discussion, new material with presentation of hands-on techniques, and a live session demonstration followed by a debrief period. The focus is on deepening the understanding of NATouch™ principles and methods. The group provides support for the integration of touch interventions and somatic principles in your clinical practice.
- Q&A with Clinical Discussion — 1 hour is devoted to clinical questions and discussion.
- New Material and Hands-On Techniques— 1 hour is devoted to new material and presentation of hands-on techniques.
- Session Demonstration — 1½ hours are devoted to a live session with one of the participants. This allows participants to witness a wider variety of interventions than is possible to demonstrate in the Foundation Training. We then discuss the session in depth to integrate the interventions and principles used.
Study Group participation, in-person, live streamed, or recorded, counts toward NATouch™ Certification.
NATouch™ Certified Practitioner
NATouch™ Certified Practitioner requirements include the completion of all Foundation Training modules in attendance together with a combination of personal individual sessions, individual or group case consultations, study group attendance, and a written case study using international guidelines for writing a somatic case study.
The NeuroAffective Touch® certificate program offers a listing on the online practitioner directory.
Please refer to the NeuroAffective Touch® website for details on how to become a NATouch™ Certified Practitioner.
N.B. The cost of the personal sessions and case consults is not included in the NATouch™ training tuition fee.
To assist in the integration of NATouch™ skills and methodology into clinical practice, case consultation is provided by the trainer and approved consult providers to answer students’ questions on how to integrate theory and interventions into their existing practices. These may be taken in either the individual or group format.
- One hour of one-on-one case consultation will count toward one credit hour of your case consult requirements.
- Two and a half hours of group case consultation will count toward one credit hour of your case consult requirements.
Aline is passionate about exploring how body and mind work together and reflect one another. She has been actively involved in the field of somatic psychology and body psychotherapy for over 35 years, and specialises in the integration of body-based approaches with relational psychodynamic psychotherapy and energy approaches.
Dr. Aline LaPierre is past faculty in the somatic doctoral program at Santa Barbara Graduate Institute (2000-2010), a clinician, author, artist, consultant, speaker, and teacher. She is Deputy Editor of the International Body Psychotherapy Journal (IBPJ) and a past Vice-President of the United Sates Association of Body Psychotherapy (USABP).
In the field of somatics, she has studied Somatic Experiencing® (SE™), Postural Integration, Cranio-Sacral Therapy (CST), Reichian Therapies, Bodynamics Analysis, Continuum, BodyMind Centering (BMC), and EMDR.
In the field of psychotherapy, Dr. Aline LaPierre is a graduate of Pacifica Graduate Institute which intimately connected her with Jungian and Archetypal psychologies, and of The New Center for Psychoanalysis (NCP) focusing on the full range of psychoanalytic evolution from Object Relations to Relational and Inter-Subjective approaches. She was a member of the Allan Schore Affective Neuroscience study group for several years and maintains a private practice in Brentwood~West Los Angeles.
Dr. Aline LaPierre is a Marriage and Family Therapist, California License 31838. Her current interests include developing NeuroAffective Touch® programs for couples and families.
Books and Publications
In addition to a variety of papers published in the International Journal of Body Psychotherapy, the USA Body Psychotherapy Journal, the Journal of the American Psychological Association and the Hakomi Journal, Aline has also written two e-books:
Healing Touch: Honoring the Somatic Dimension of Psyche
Touch and Sexual Healing: Touch as the Primary Element of Sensual and Erotic Expression.
Dr. Aline LaPierre is also the co-author with Dr. Laurence Heller of the bestselling Healing Developmental Trauma: How Trauma Affects Self-Regulation, Self-Image, and the Capacity for Relationship; a groundbreaking book in developmental psychology now available in 12 languages.