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Raicar, A.M. (2017). Affect Regulation Theory: A Clinical Model (2015) by Daniel Hill, published by W. W. Norton & Company. Att: New Dir. in Psychother. Relat. Psychoanal., 11(3):294-299.

(2017). Attachment: New Directions in Psychotherapy and Relational Psychoanalysis, 11(3):294-299

Book Reviews

Affect Regulation Theory: A Clinical Model (2015) by Daniel Hill, published by W. W. Norton & Company

Review by:
Alexandra Maeja Raicar

Daniel Hill has provided a comprehensive study of affect regulation theory; its derivation from attachment and neuroscience research; and its clinical relevance to psychodynamic psychotherapies that, optimally, utilise our body-mind core connection between therapist and client.

Hill (p. x, Acknowledgements) explains his stance:

Along with the focus on affect, nothing has changed the way I work more than the understanding of the effects of early attachment trauma on self experience, relational life, and vulnerability to psychiatric disorders. It puts a malformed nervous system, shame and dissociation at the centre of clinical work.

Affect regulation theory is derived mainly from Allan N. Schore's pioneering work in America on regulation theory, and from mentalization theory, which has been developed separately in Britain by Peter Fonagy and his associates. Hill (p. 11) considers Schore's regulation theory to be paramount since it focuses on the primary affect regulation system of “early-forming, automatic, fast, non-conscious psycho-neurobiological processes” which are associated with the right hemisphere of the brain.

In contrast, mentalization theory (explicated in Chapter Six) is applicable to the secondary affect regulation system; this is “later-forming, verbal-reflective, slow, with deliberate conscious cognitive processes” associated with the left hemisphere of the brain (p. 11). Clinical work with the primary system provides the building blocks for the secondary affect regulation system involved in mentalization.


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