Part 1

Question 1

            Affect regulation refers to the emotional expression and how individuals manage one’s personal emotion and expresses them to accomplish their goals or intentions. Individuals who have a broad range of strategies to modulate their emotions in times of stress and negative situations have better means of expression. According to Holinger (2009), the part of the brain that has a great influence on the affect regulation is the cortical and subcortical structures. The inhibitory role of the orbital and medial prefrontal cortices is towards the affect regulation and behavior of an individual and is contained in the folds of later evolving cortex.

The orbital and medial prefrontal cortices allow the translation of punishment and values of reward in social information setup through reactions such as gestures, eye contact and aggression. This is associated with an individual’s emotions and attachment mechanisms from the developing brain activity (Schore and Schore, 2008). The cingulate cortex is also responsible for emotional information and participation of the brain activity into social empathy and cooperation. The cingulate cortex also affects sustained attention and response to stimuli in different environments. The hypothalamus is central in the regulation of aggression and activity levels.

In Javier’s case, the brain development under the hypothalamus and orbital and medial prefrontal cortices allow him to react to the immediate environment through his expression of aggression towards his mother and peers while showing affection to the father according to the rewards he gets. Applegate and Shapiro (2005) argue that the mechanisms of the development of cingulate cortex enable him not to stabilize with affect regulation and thus his reaction under the different circumstances. With growth and development of Javier, the stabilizing of the cortices will help alleviate such emotional reactions.

Question 2

            Implicit memory uses unconscious and unintentional means in remembering of experiences to carry out functions. It also represents an effortless way of comprehending how previous experiences can help the brain remember memories and assist in formulating of decisions in the brain’s development. Isabel and Javier have a complicated relationship between mother and child. Implicit memory in this case can help frame a better understanding between Javier and his mother Isabel. Javier is of a young age and according to his brain development, he can utilize memories of growing up to foster an understanding with the mother in a better way.

According to research, the balance between the internal environment and the external surrounding helps determine the response of a child to situations according to the development in the brain (Applegate, 1995). Thus, the mother should focus on giving care and attention in simple ways to boost a closer relationship with the son. Implementation should be done along with active work. Alternatively, the gestures made by Javier when demanding for what he wants from the mother should be put into use to improve this relation. Attachment and caregiving mechanisms can help alleviate any strains towards his mother especially since he differentiates how to handle the mother and father.

Attachment and regulation of emotion can be of great understanding to Javier’s situation. According to brain development, interlocking of intense activation mechanism is developed through infancy (Allen and Miga, 2010). That is why Javier knows that his father will provide anything freely and limit control over him as compared to the mother, and that is why he decides to make her angry. This is from the developed implicit memory from infancy and his reactions.

Question 3

            The type of attachment exhibited by Javier is the insecure attachment. It is developed from infancy as the child grows. It is characterized by response to stimuli and repeated behavior. In Javier’s case, he learnt that, from infancy, whenever he needed anything, he could point towards the object or ask from the father because it would be provided. In terms of the mother, he became aggressive since the response exhibited was not forthcoming. He did this severally; it was stored as implicit memory, and this dictates his subconscious actions and demands as he grows up.

In neurobiology, the orbital prefrontal cortex is specialized with attachments followed by their functions. Thus, Javier developed this behaviors and reactions after watching and learning through social activities with both the parents. Through the interaction with the father and response from the mother, it is clear to see why he listens to adults while he is aggressive with his peers. The same cortex can regulate emotion, empathy and influence facial recognition (Cozolino, 2010). Since it is not developed fully at birth, brain development grows over time. Thus, the attachment of a parent towards Javier has a greater impact than any other influence on his brain development.

The emotional life of Javier under the neurobiology is affected in the long term. Badenioch (2008) supports the fact that since the cortex is responsible for the emotional response and reaction from Javier, continuous mechanisms of the attachment will make him uncomfortable with sharing of his feelings with peers. The action will limit the return to his parents in times of emotional support, especially the mother. The psychotherapeutic modalities will also inhibit his participation on social issues together with individuals of his age and neurobiological capabilities.

Part 2

Question 4

            Trauma can affect the neurobiological processes in infants that influence early regulation. This is because, as a child, brain development is based on internalizing any stimuli, information or response from the external world into the understanding of the brain. The brain is responsible for the regulation of how much from the external environment can be handled by the child. Trauma causes the negative effect as a result of this through the regulation and arousal process. This is mainly from the contact point of the child, for example, the mother, guardian or caregiver in charge of the child.

Trauma brings about stress and negative affect endurance on the neurobiological functions. Expressions of emotions and responses are limited based on the experience of regulation. The risk involved includes psychiatric disorders on both long and short term in the development of the brain. The diathesis-stress is associated with psychosocial or environmental stressors cause by these traumas. Therapy can influence affect regulation through the outcomes based on resistance, transference and defensive. Therapy focuses on the interpretation of insight into the patient’s changing factors as concerns affect regulation.

Therapy can be used to emphasize support and empathy towards the affected patient of affect regulation. This can support the safety of expression of emotions on affect regulation based on psychopathology and experiences. The variables of the therapy can be associated as means of bonding and partial capacity in the affect regulation. This in turn takes on the attachment and internalization of the experiences. Some of the expected results include reduced levels of stress, increased mood improvements and positive social expressions.



Allen, J. P., & Miga, E. M. (2010). Attachment in adolescence: A move to the level of emotion regulation. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. Vol.27 (2): 181-190.

Applegate, J. S., & Shapiro, J. R. (2005). Neurobiology for Clinical Social Work. First Edition. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.

Applegate, J. S. (1995). The Facilitating Partnership. Winnicott’s Developmental Theory. New Hampshire: Jason Aronson Inc.

Badenioch, B. (2008). Being a Brain-Wise Therapist. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.

Cozolino, Luiz. (2010). The Neuroscience of Psychotherapy. Healing the Social Brain. Second Edition. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.

Holinger, P. C. (2009). Winnicot, Tomkins, and the Psychology of Affect. Clin Soc Work J. 37: 155-162.

Schore, J. R., & Schore, A. N. (2008). Modern Attachment Theory: The Central Role of Affect Regulation in Development and Treatment. Clin Soc Work J. 36:9-20.



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