The last 50 years of research on addiction and mental health disorders has revealed some amazing insights about the brain. The brain controls our ability to manage our feelings and urges, or ”self-regulate.” We now know that our basic ability to self-regulate is partly biological (i.e., brain based) and partly socially developed. At birth we all have a temperament, which is our natural rhythm of emotion regulation and sensitivity to the outside world. And, then, the outside world (i.e., parents, caregivers, or family members) responds to our temperament. This process of having emotional or bodily experiences and then the outside world responding a certain way is called “attunement.” And, when the outside world does not respond appropriately to our emotional needs we experience a “misattunement.” Often, people have too many misattunements during development, which can affect our ability to self-regulate as adults.
Why Family Education?
We now know that self-regulation is a fundamental process that goes wrong in people with addictions and mental health issues. We explain to parents, scientifically and without shaming, how a history of misattunements has contributed to their loved one’s current issues. Knowing this will allow the family to be supportive in a more helpful way. Most family members care greatly, but are uninformed or misinformed. We simply want to help families heal and get the right information.