Psychoanalysts, neuroscientists, and attachment theorists have turned attention to affect regulation and the relational world. Attachment theorists (Fonagy et al., 2002; Fonagy, 2007; Fonagy and Target, 2003), in particular, are interested in how mentalization (i.e. effectively using mental representations of the emotional states of self and other) is connected to the developing capacity for affect regulation (i.e. conscious and unconscious ways of maximizing pleasant emotion and minimizing unpleasant emotion appropriate to the social surround) and to disruptions in later life. Neuroscientists argue that the brain structures necessary for affect regulation mature late in development (Schore, 2003), and that these mechanisms and functions are necessary for the formation and maintenance of interactions between the self and the social surround. Self-regulation, then, is not only experience-dependent; it is also rooted in intersub-jective states essential to the brain’s regulatory potential.
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