What is Regulation-focused psychotherapy?
Regulation-focused psychotherapy (RFP) is a therapeutic approach developed by Dr. Allan Schore, a prominent researcher and clinician in the field of developmental neuroscience and psychotherapy. RFP integrates principles from neuroscience, attachment theory, and psychodynamic therapy to address emotional dysregulation and promote emotional well-being.
The core concept in Regulation-focused psychotherapy is the emphasis on the regulation of emotional states. It recognizes that emotional dysregulation lies at the root of many psychological disorders, including anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and borderline personality disorder. The goal of RFP is to help individuals develop and enhance their capacity for self-regulation, which involves the ability to modulate and manage emotions effectively.
RFP draws upon attachment theory, which suggests that early relationships and experiences shape an individual’s capacity for self-regulation. The therapist helps the client explore and understand their attachment patterns and how these patterns impact their emotional regulation. The therapeutic relationship itself becomes an important source of emotional regulation, providing a secure base for the client to explore and process difficult emotions.
The therapeutic techniques used in Regulation-focused psychotherapy vary depending on the individual’s needs, but they often involve a combination of talk therapy, emotion-focused techniques, mindfulness practices, and somatic (body-oriented) interventions. The therapist aims to help clients increase their awareness of their emotional states, identify triggers and patterns of dysregulation, and develop strategies to regulate their emotions more effectively.
RFP can be particularly beneficial for individuals who have experienced early trauma or disrupted attachment relationships, as it addresses the underlying neurobiological and emotional processes that contribute to their difficulties. By promoting emotional regulation and fostering healthier attachment patterns, RFP aims to improve overall psychological well-being and enhance individuals’ ability to form healthy relationships.
Shervan K Shahhian