Trauma, Resilience, and NMT™: A New Path to Healing

Trauma, Resilience, and NMT™: A New Path to Healing

Trauma, Resilience, and NMT™: A New Path to Healing

Early life experiences, developmental trauma, adversity, chaos, and neglect can change the biology of the brain, resulting in complex emotional, psychological, and functional challenges in children and adults. Comprehensive psychological testing can identify symptoms and provide diagnoses but rarely takes into account the impact of a person’s early life experiences. In some cases, this makes it difficult for therapists to match effective interventions and treatment approaches to a patient’s developmental needs and current level of functioning.

Dr. Megan Spencer, Clinical Psychologist, and Jessie Mertz, LCSW, Therapist, at Dakota Family Services in Fargo, ND, are now trained in the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics (NMT)™, a developmentally sensitive, neurobiology-informed approach to clinical problem-solving. NMT gives mental health providers a more informed, holistic, and thoughtful understanding of brain development, including strengths and vulnerabilities.

NMT™ was developed by Dr. Bruce Perry, a world-renowned teacher, clinician, and researcher in children’s mental health and neuroscience. As described by Brandt and colleagues (2012) – “The Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics (NMT)™ (Perry, 2006) provides an integrated understanding of the sequencing of neurodevelopment embedded in the experiences of the child and supports biologically informed practices, programs, and policies. As a global evidence-based practice coupled with the NMT’s™ brain mapping matrix, the model supports providers in identifying specific areas for therapeutic work and in selecting appropriate therapies, including evidence-based therapies, within a comprehensive therapeutic plan.”

Dr. Perry’s work on the impact of abuse, neglect and trauma on the developing brain has impacted clinical practice, programs, and policy across the world. His most recent book published by Flatiron Books in 2021, “What Happened to You? Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing,” co-authored with Oprah Winfrey, has been translated into 26 languages and has been on the New York Times Bestseller list for over 100 weeks.

NMT™ is not a specific therapeutic technique or intervention, but coupled with the NMT™ brain mapping matrix, it provides comprehensive data about the impact of a patient’s experiences on the brain and guides mental health clinicians in implementing developmentally appropriate therapeutic, educational, and enrichment services.

The NMT™ process examines the individual’s past and present functioning, providing a detailed brain map that informs treatment and approach. It provides a better understanding as to why some treatments work for some people and go nowhere for others. Most likely, it’s not because something was wrong with the approach, provider, or patient, but that it was not used in a developmentally sequenced way in order to be effective.  NMT™ is eye-opening for patients and their families as it helps professionals determine the strengths and vulnerabilities of the patient and create an individualized intervention, enrichment, and educational plan matched to his/her unique needs. The goal is to find a set of therapeutic activities that meet the child’s current needs in various domains of functioning (i.e., social, emotional, cognitive and physical) rather than to their chronological age, our own expectations, and/or a diagnosis. 

NMT™ can be a bridge for children, adults, and families struggling to make any lasting therapeutic gains, and/or having more day-to-day difficulties than would be expected.

To learn more about NMT™ see and/or to make an appointment, contact Dakota Family Services at or 1-800-201-6495.

Dr. Megan Spencer, Clinical Psychologist, and Jessie Mertz, LCSW, Therapist, are Phase 1-certified by the Neurosequential Network to provide The Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics.

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Dakota Family Services

This content was reviewed by the mental health clinicians at Dakota Family Services, a group of compassionate, practiced experts providing outpatient care for children, adolescents, and adults with behavioral health concerns.

Dakota Family Services is a highly trusted and respected outpatient clinic providing psychology, psychiatry, and therapy in North Dakota. Our community of compassionate mental health professionals help children, adolescents, and adults improve their overall mental health and well-being through a personalized approach, trusted expertise, and unconditional presence. We offer in-office counseling in Fargo and Minot and online therapy for those who prefer to meet from the comfort of their own home. To schedule an appointment, or to learn more, call 800-201-6495.