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The Developmental Needs Meeting Strategy (DNMS)


The DNMS is a multidimensional, comprehensive, strengths-based, client-centered, ego-state therapy developed by Shirley Jean Schmidt, MA, LPC. It’s informed by ego-state theory, developmental psychology, self-reparenting therapy, attachment theory, EMDR therapy, and an understanding of mirror neurons. The DNMS addresses unwanted behaviors, beliefs, emotions, and urges rooted in unmet emotional needs from wounding experiences, like relational trauma (from verbal, physical, or sexual abuse) and attachment wounding (from insufficient nurturing, validation, encouragement, reassurance, or no one to securely attach to). It basically treats any kind of unresolved, unrepaired wounds inflicted by a person, that a client is stuck in – whether wounds are minor, moderate, or severe; intentional or unintentional; physical or emotional; from acts of omission or commission. And because the targeted wounding is always rooted in unmet emotional needs, the healing comes from meeting those needs.

The DNMS starts by guiding clients to mobilize a team of very robust, fully vetted Resources: a Nurturing Adult Self, a Protective Adult Self, and a Spiritual Core Self. Wounded parts of self (usually child parts) are guided to make a loving connection to this Resource team. Through a series of unique protocols, the Resources will remediate unmet needs well enough for the wounded parts to fully heal and become totally unstuck from the past. As a side-effect, the associated trauma memories completely process through to SUD 0. The primary agent for change is the loving, attuned relationship between wounded parts and the Resource team. Needs meeting interventions are always gentle, nurturing, and uplifting – with minimal risk of emotional overwhelm. Alternating bilateral stimulation is applied at key points during processing, to enhance nurturing experiences with the Resource team, and to strengthen positive beliefs and emotions.

NOTE: The DNMS shares some common elements with IFS. Click here for a table that outlines key similarities and differences.

Click here for a more detailed description of the DNMS

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