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Comprehensive Resource Model FAQs

The following information primarily addresses questions that potential trainees in the model might have. It also gives solid information for anyone considering treatment from a therapist who is trained in, and uses this model.

Who is Lisa Schwarz?

Lisa Schwarz, M.Ed is a licensed psychologist, consultant, and international educator working in private practice in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Beulah, Colorado. She is the developer of The Comprehensive Resource Model (CRM), a trauma therapy model that employs brain-based physiological safety as the foundation for healing.

What professional license does Lisa Schwarz hold?

Lisa Schwarz has a master’s degree in counseling psychology and is a fully licensed psychologist in the state of Pennsylvania. Before 1987, one could sit for the Board of Psychology of Pennsylvania exam with a master’s degree. Passing candidates obtained licensure as a psychologist regardless of whether they held a masters or doctorate level degree. Lisa passed this exam and has since practiced as a licensed psychologist (License # PS-007378-L). She is able to bill most insurances as a PhD level psychologist. Since 1987, the P.A. law governing licensure has changed and requires candidates to hold a PhD degree in order to sit for the psychologist license exam. The P.A. licensing board can be contacted for further questions.

What is the teaching style of Lisa Schwarz?

Lisa is a dynamic, interpersonal, passionate, heart-centered teacher who holds a strong belief that therapists must do their own personal therapy work to be an effective therapist. She will push you to look at yourself and the truth of your life as it impacts your work as a psychotherapist. This is often felt to be uncomfortable by some of her students which in itself provides opportunity for growth. Students who experience this level of discomfort will be assisted in addressing their feelings through facilitation by the CRM trainers.

What was Lisa noticing in her therapy sessions that lead her to recognize the need for neurological resourcing for her clients?

Lisa was seeing her clients experience a fear response to their own stories and remembering that prevented the client’s implicit memories from becoming conscious and explicit and processed through to a healing resolution.

As a consequence of not being sufficiently neurologically resourced, her clients were going into overwhelm, flooding, abreaction and defensive dissociation which prevented them from processing, memory re-consolidation, and long-term positive change.

The goal is processing the traumatic material from a place of complete neurobiological resourcing in various brain structures while the client is simultaneously, consciously, in the present moment. Eye positions are used to anchor the resources during processing.

What is the purpose of using eye positions in CRM?

According to research and neuroscience consultants, focusing on specific places in our visual field serves to open and maintain access to the specific “file folder” of a client’s trauma experience as well as the file folders of resources which allow for orienting toward the traumatic material, both of which are located in the midbrain (Periaqueductal Grey and Superior Colliculi). The file folders that allow access to the resources of Care, Nurturing, Seeking, Compassion, and Security are held “open” through eye position while the traumatic material is being attended to, remembered, processed and released. In this way, a full range of neurobiological resourcing via the different nested resources are activated and “running” while difficult material is stepped into, felt fully, and oriented toward. Resourcing and trauma processing occur simultaneously, allowing for the trauma work to be accomplished without re-traumatization through the therapy itself. The brain then rewires to neutralize the negative affects associated with the memories - which in turn changes the manner in which one’s nervous system responds to previously triggering cues associated with attachment disruption and survival terror. This allows the client greater perspective and insight into their experiences and affords a person the opportunity for new and different meaning(s) of the truth of their life. The use of fixed eye positions in processing trauma has precedence back to earlier healing modalities such as Neuro Linguistic Programming, and One-Eye Integration.

How much intervention is needed when treating trauma?

The degree of intervention is always based upon a client’s specific needs. In the CRM, the belief is that attunement determines how much resourcing is needed as a whole with each particular client as well as “in the moment” while processing during individual sessions. Resourcing for the sake of resourcing without good reason is not acceptable. CRM practitioners believe that no theory takes the place of clinical judgement. Theory may inform the clinician in choosing which resources to use when, and why, but the model is a flexible one in which clinicians and the clients themselves determine what resource to use when, and ultimately how much resourcing is needed. The therapist's attunement determines the judicious use of every intervention. CRM interventions are designed to set the stage in the midbrain for holding brain and body-based safety. In this way, the client can safely process their trauma even if emotional safety is not initially experienced. Once the nested scaffolding of the resources are developed and “in place”, the healing process occurs with very little verbal intervention from the therapist. While CRM can at times “look like” a model that involves much intervention, upon closer inspection it is obvious that the verbal interventions occur primarily in the “set up”. Thereafter the wisdom of the body and brain takes over and allows for organic healing to occur with little overt therapist intervention. The therapist does need to trust the model and be mindful of their own anxiety when working in a new paradigm that includes letting the work happen without “pushing it”.

What are some of the core components of CRM?

Attunement is an essential component that helps to create the overall framework for the Comprehensive Resource Model. Within the strength of attunement, additional resources are activated neurophysiologically within the client that enables them to remain present and embodied during trauma processing. The three levels of attunement which are taught in CRM trainings are client-therapist, within the client, and within the therapist. Working with therapists to enhance their awareness of their own triggers and dissociation during their work with clients is an important aspect of the model. The therapist's decision making and ability to attune to the therapeutic process is compromised and the work is not done to the highest level of effectiveness if the therapist is not attuned to themselves. Evidence for this is talking about the therapeutic content rather than promoting processing and actually doing the deep work.

Other components of the model include a wide range of breathing skills each with a specific role or healing property; somatic embodiment skills; attachment neurobiology; and, spiritual resourcing.

The entire therapeutic modality is a nested one, with each resource used in a fashion that paves the way for the next level of resource to be developed and utilized. There are seven primary resources and five secondary resources utilized in the CRM model.

Can therapists use CRM with their existing therapeutic approaches?

While CRM is a stand-alone model, its flexibility and adaptability allow its components or the model as a whole to be easily incorporated and integrated into any therapeutic approach.

What makes CRM unique among trauma based therapy models?

The variety of internal resources as well as the sequential and concurrent use of the resources in a stacked or “nested” manner builds a neurological scaffolding of resources in the brain stem (midbrain), limbic system, and neocortex. The client remains in the highest level of resource during their trauma processing as a result of this scaffold so that the client is not re-traumatized by the work and attachment disruption has the potential to re-wire completely.

In addition, each aspect of the model is taught to the clients from the time of intake in order to facilitate self-sufficiency and mastery outside of sessions and to provide tools to use in order to deepen and integrate the results of the work with their therapist. Clients are encouraged to use certain components outside therapy as life skills and to cope with possible ongoing “healing effects/distress” between sessions.

With which clients should I use CRM?

CRM is designed to be used with any and all diagnoses. Its use is not limited to fragile and dissociated clients. While it was originally developed to assist this particular population with their trauma work, it is found to be highly effective with clients of all levels of functioning and all diagnoses.