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Haller Method

"Establishing Choice Within Safety"

What is Haller Method?

The Haller Method is a holistic way of approaching clinical dysfunction. It's a treatment model that was developed by Maxine Haller, OTR/L as a means to achieving the fastest and most effective results for neurological dysfunction across the life span. Her treatment model takes into account five main areas that affect the vast majority of clients that we, as Haller Method providers, see on a daily basis. Through many years of practice, Maxine has found that if all five areas are not addressed at some point, there is not complete resolution of central nervous system dysfunction, and that implications for long standing sensory processing difficulties will persist. The following, are the five factors that your Haller Method provider will address, to ensure your child achieves resolution of neurological dysfunction affecting their development.


1. Nutrition

Nutrition is a significant piece to central nervous system functioning. Our body needs certain key elements to function properly. In using Haller Method, your therapist will work with you to discover what your child's nutritional needs all while addressing the problem you are seeking services for. More often than not, your child's ability to regulate during the day is based on what they put in their bodies; so if a meltdown has occurred, it is likely that nutrition or lack of, has played a part in it. So addressing what your child ingests becomes incredibly important. An example of this would be use of the stress vitamin, vitamin B’s. If your child is chronically stressed and dysregulated, it is a good idea to have the support for stress management at a cellular level with the use of vitamin B's.


2. Trauma

Most clients seek services because there was some sort of known or unknown trauma (C-section, birth complications, medical complications, surgeries, skipped milestones) experienced by their child. If we don’t address the physiological response of the body to the child's perceived trauma, the body remembers it and will stay locked in that memory. When locked in the trauma pattern, the muscles will not move where the child wants them to move, and in turn creates distress, frustration, emotional immaturity, and learning delays. Without addressing the trauma response, your child cannot change anything because the muscles are locked down. When in a locked down position, the muscles cannot move outside defensive posturing, and to do so, will not be possible due to the body's need to protect itself from the perceived trauma. This trauma pattering or locked in system pattern is one of the most common causes for sensory strategies to work some days and not others. Once addressed, children's ability to regulate becomes much more consistent and predictable. 


3. Stress Response

When any individual experiences a stressful situation, a fight or flight response will elicit, turning on only your dominant brain. In the case of your child,  this means that when overwhelmed or dysregulated, they will only have access to one half of their brain at any given time. When a child is constantly in this state, it defeats the point of any treatment and progress will appear scattered or slow. This is due to the fact that in order to learn your child needs whole brain processing. If your child cannot access both their creative side and their sequencing side then they will frequently fall short of their desired result for any task, no matter how novel or familiar. These dominant/stress brain situations can appear in many ways, from not being able to move through their environment, not being able to communicate,  appearing to have poor/selective hearing, or needing a dark place to calm down. So with the use of Haller Method,  your therapist will determine your child's stress profile and then address stress management within the treatment process to get the best results.


4. Establish connectivity

  • Connectivity to body and connectivity to society.
  • Connection to self and to others
  • Empathizing during interactions with others. Develop the ability to identify the muscles that contract in our own body when that emotion or state is communicated by another, to fully understand the implications.

 Neurological Maturity and Structures

Once the above four pieces have been addressed and are in place, then treatment can focus on growing the neurological nets needed in order for your child to feel fully integrated and in control of themselves. The development of these neurological structures is crucial in developing the perception of "choice within safety" for all children. When your children feels safe to make a choice, then the way they respond to  any kind of stimuli will shift and instead of them having a meltdown on the playground over a toy or a peer interaction; they can walk away, choose a different toy, ask for help, breathe, or do something other than scream. It will ultimately lead to a more mature / age appropriate responses.


Information compiled with permission from:

Maxine Haller, OTR/L 

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