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Affect Regulation / Emotion Regulation

Affect regulation, or emotion regulation, is the ability of an individual to modulate their emotional state in order to adaptively meet the demands of their environment. Individuals with a broad range of affect regulation strategies will be able to flexibly adapt to a range of stressful situations. Individuals who struggle with emotional regulation may fall back upon a more limited range of stereotyped strategies that are not as successful in meeting their needs, or which come with more severe unintended consequences. The ability to successfully regulate emotion is sometimes viewed in the light of attachment theory (Bowlby, 1969/1982). Read more
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Resource type


Therapy tool

A Guide To Emotions (Psychology Tools For Living Well)

Cognitive behavioral therapy can help your clients to live happier and more fulfilling lives. Psychology Tools for Living Well is a self-help course ...


Anger Decision Sheet

Individuals who have a problem with anger can benefit from considering and rehearsing different responses to triggering situations. The Anger Decision ...


Anger Diary

Self monitoring of thoughts, feelings and symptoms is an essential skill for clients engaged in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). The Anger Diary is ...


Anger Self-Monitoring Record

Self-monitoring is a fundamental tool in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This Anger Self-Monitoring Record is designed to help clients to better ...


Anger Thought Challenging Record

Disputing thoughts is a critical skill in cognitive therapy. The Anger Thought Monitoring Record helps clients to identify and challenge their angry t ...


Anger Thought Monitoring Record

Understanding the relationship between thoughts, emotions, body sensations and behavior is a first step towards making changes. The Anger Thought Moni ...


Assertive Communication

Communicating and acting assertively is an interpersonal skill that helps people to maintain healthy relationships, resolve interpersonal conflict, an ...

Information Handout

Assertive Responses

Being able to communicate assertively is an essential skill for developing and maintaining healthy relationships and positive self-esteem. Individuals ...


Autonomic Nervous System

The autonomic nervous system (ANS) automatically regulates the function of body systems outside of voluntary control. The Autonomic Nervous System han ...

Information Handout

Breathing To Calm The Body Sensations Of Panic (Psychology Tools For Overcoming Panic)

Psychology Tools for Overcoming Panic takes a cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) approach to this common anxiety problem. This chapter discusses the ...


Cognitive Behavioral Model Of Fear Of Body Sensations

Fear of bodily sensations is present in a number of conditions, most notably panic disorder. The Cognitive Behavioral Model Of Fear Of Bodily Sensatio ...

Information Handout

Combined Relaxation Exercise (Audio)

The Combined Relaxation Exercise is an audio track from the Psychology Tools For Relaxation Audio Collection. It is designed to help anyone experienci ...


Compassionate Thought Challenging Record

Thought challenging records are commonly used in CBT to help people to evaluate their negative automatic thoughts for accuracy and bias. This Compassi ...


Coping With Body Sensations (Psychology Tools For Overcoming Panic)

Psychology Tools for Overcoming Panic takes a cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) approach to this common anxiety problem. This chapter discusses inte ...



Catastrophic thinking (magnification) is characteristic of many anxiety problems. This CBT worksheet for decatastrophizing is a tool for cognitive res ...


Dissociation Record

Dissociation is a set of physical and behavioral adaptations (‘skills’) that human beings have developed because they can help us to survive extre ...


Embracing Uncertainty

Intolerance of uncertainty (IU) was first described in individuals suffering from Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). Many behaviors associated with G ...



Many people find it hard to label their emotional states or reactions. This information handout provides a list of emotions, categorizing them as basi ...

Information Handout

Emotions Motivate Actions

Many clients find it helpful to recognize the range of actions that are motivated by different emotional states. This worksheet encourages clients to ...

Information Handout

Exposure And Response Prevention

Exposure And Response Prevention (ERP, EX/RP) is an effective treatment for obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). This CBT worksheet guides therapists ...


Exposure Practice Form

Exposure is an effective treatment for many forms of anxiety. The Exposure Practice Form is a CBT worksheet which guides therapists and clients throug ...


Fight or Flight (CYP)

The Fight Or Flight (CYP) information handout has been specifically designed for younger children and includes carefully simplified language. The full ...

Information Handout

Fight Or Flight Response

The fight or flight response is an automatic physiological reaction to an event that is perceived as stressful or frightening. The perception of threa ...

Information Handout

Forgiveness Is

Forgiveness is an effectvie treatment for anger and relieving hurt. Sadly, many people dismiss forgiveness due to misconceptions regarding its nature. ...

Information Handout

Forgiveness Methods

Forgiveness is an effective treatment for anger and the relief of hurt. This information handout describes techniques for forgiveness and the steps in ...

Information Handout

Functional Analysis

Functional analysis examines the causes and consequences of behavior. This classic A-B-C Functional Analysis worksheet can be used to collect informat ...


Functional Analysis With Intervention Planning

This classic A-B-C functional analysis worksheet can be used to collect information about what came before a behavior (antecedents), the behavior itse ...


Grounding Objects (Audio)

The Grounding Objects exercise is a simple technique which teaches people with PTSD or dissociative disorders how to use objects with particular senso ...


Grounding Statements (Audio)

Grounding techniques are used to help people to reorient themselves to the present moment and to safety. Grounding Statements are a form of cognitive ...


Grounding Techniques

Individuals who have experienced trama often find it difficult to stay within the ‘window of tolerance’. Grounding techniques (which can b ...


Grounding Techniques Menu

Dissociation can be described as a shift of a person’s attention away from the present moment. When working with traumatized clients, this shift oft ...

Information Handout


The Habituation information sheets are designed to help clinicians to explain the concept of habituation and its role in exposure therapy. The handout ...

Information Handout

How Breathing Affects Feelings

Normal, anxious, and exercise breathing have significant effects upon our physiology and our emotions. This information handout explains the physiolog ...


How Does Emotion Affect Your Life?

By encouraging your clients to reflect upon the role of emotions in their life you can help them to discuss current difficulties. ...


How Your Body Responds To Stress

Many clients identify with the concept of ‘stress’ more readily than ‘threat’ and the The How Your Body Responds To Stress information handou ...

Information Handout

Interoceptive Exposure

Misappraisals of body sensations trigger emotional and physiological reactions of fear and heightened arousal. These feelings motivate behavioral resp ...


Intrusive Memory Record

Intrusive (unwanted, involuntary) memories are a common feature of PTSD, but also depression and other conditions. This Intrusive Memory Record is des ...


Learning To Relax (CYP)

Stress and tension are prevalent complaints amongst children and young people. Teaching relaxation exercises can engender a beneficial sense of contro ...


Motivational Systems (Emotional Regulation Systems)

At the heart of Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) is an evolutionary model of human motivational systems. Developed by Paul Gilbert it is a helpful len ...

Information Handout

Problem Solving

Problem Solving is a structured worksheet which encourages solution-focused thinking. Clients are encouraged to identify a problem, identify multiple ...


Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Progressive relaxation training originated in the 1930’s as a treatment for tension and anxiety. Edmund Jacobsen developed a systematic and lengthy ...


Progressive Muscle Relaxation (Audio)

The Progressive Muscle Relaxation exercise guides the listener through a sequence in which muscle groups are tensed and relaxed. ...


Progressive Muscle Relaxation (Edition 1)

Muscle tension is one reaction to stress and anxiety. This exercise includes instructions for Progressive Muscle Relaxation, a technique for promoting ...


Psychology Tools For Overcoming Panic

This helpful workbook will teach you everything you need to know about panic. Drawing upon the evidence base, Psychology Tools for Overcoming Panic  ...


Psychology Tools For Overcoming PTSD Audio Collection

The Psychology Tools for Overcoming PTSD Audio Collection is designed for anyone with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This skills development p ...

Audio Collection

Psychology Tools For Relaxation Audio Collection

The Psychology Tools For Relaxation Audio Collection is designed to help anyone experiencing stress or heightened physiological arousal. The audio col ...

Audio Collection

Recovering From A Nightmare (Audio)

The Recovering From A Nightmare exercise gives straightforward information, advice, and strategies on how to quickly reorient oneself after a nightmar ...


Relaxed Breathing

Practising Relaxed Breathing serves to reduce physiological arousal and can be an excellent grounding technique. This client information handout descr ...


Relaxed Breathing Exercise 1 (Audio)

Breathing Exercise 1 guides the listener through simple instructions to make their breathing slower, deeper, and more regular. ...


Relaxed Breathing Exercise 2 (Audio)

Breathing Exercise 2 uses the imagery of inflating a balloon to help the listener make their breathing slower, deeper, and more regular. ...


Relaxed Breathing Exercise 3 (Audio)

Breathing Exercise 3 uses the imagery of breathing air of different colours to help the listener make their breathing slower, deeper, and more regular ...


Relaxed Breathing Exercise 4 (Audio)

Breathing Exercise 4 guides the listener through simple instructions to breathe in a more relaxed fashion. ...


Relaxed Breathing Record Form

Practising relaxed breathing serves to reduce physiological arousal and can be an excellent grounding technique. This record form helps clients to mon ...


Responses To Threat: Freeze, Appease, Flight, Fight

Human beings are programmed to respond automatically in a variety of ways to a threat including freezing, escaping, and dissociation. Traumatized indi ...

Information Handout

Sensory Grounding Using Smells (Audio)

The Sensory Grounding Using Smells exercise is an audio track from the Psychology Tools For Overcoming PTSD Audio Collection. It is designed to teach ...


Sensory Grounding Using Your Five Senses (Audio)

The Sensory Grounding Using Your Five Senses exercise is an audio track from the Psychology Tools For Overcoming PTSD Audio Collection. It is designed ...


Stimulus Discrimination

Stimulus discrimination is a component of cognitive behavioral treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Clients are guided to deliberately ...


Stimulus Discrimination (Audio)

Stimulus Discrimination is designed to help people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to ‘retrain their brain’ in order to attend automat ...


Trauma, Dissociation, And Grounding

Trauma, Dissociation, and Grounding is a guide written for clients who have experienced trauma and who are troubled by dissociation. It provides clear ...


Types Of Dissociation

The Types Of Dissociation information handout is designed for clients who have experienced trauma and describes dissociation using accessible terminol ...

Information Handout

Unforgiveness Hook Metaphor

Forgiveness is an often misunderstood concept in therapy. This Unforgiveness Hook Metaphor is a striking representation of the consequences of remaini ...

Information Handout

Unhelpful Thinking Styles

Human thinking is subject to a number of characteristic biases. Cognitive restructuring is the process of helping individuals to overcome their biases ...

Information Handout

VAS Scale

Visual analogue scales (VAS’s) can be used for subjective ratings of emotion or other sensations such as pain. This is a handy VAS scale in the ...


What Keeps Panic Going?

Our “What Keeps Disorder Going?” series is a set of one-page diagrams explaining how common mental health conditions are maintained. Frien ...

Information Handout

Worry Decision Tree

Worry is a cognitive process that involves thinking about problems that might happen in a way that can leave you feeling anxious or apprehensive. Not ...


Your Stone Age Brain

Your Stone Age Brain is an information handout which describes the freeze-flight-fight response: a set of evolutionary adaptations that increase the c ...

Information Handout

Your Stone Age Brain (CYP)

Your Stone Age Brain is an information handout designed to stimulate discussion with anxious children & adolescents. It describes the freeze-fligh ...

Information Handout


Treatment manuals

  • Emotion regulation, interpersonal effectiveness, and distress tolerance skills for adolescents: A treatment manual | Charlers Bonner | 2002  download archived copy
  • A quality manual for MBT | Anthony Bateman, Dawn Bales, Joost Hutsebaut | 2014 download archived copy

Information Handouts


Self-Help Programmes

Overcoming distress intolerance (facing your feelings)

Mindful awareness stabilization training

  • Session 1 – Mindfulness and the window of tolerance download archived copy
  • Session 2 – Mindfulness and the brain download archived copy
  • Session 3 – Mindfulness and emotions download archived copy
  • Session 4 – Developing an action plan for self care download archived copy
  • Audio track 1 – Mindfulness of the senses link
  • Audio track 2 – Three minute breathing space link
  • Audio track 3 – Mindfulness of breath link
  • Audio track 4 – Meditation of sounds link
  • Audio track 5 – Mindfulness of emotions link
  • Audio track 6 – Standing meditation link
  • Audio track 7 – Self-compassion meditation link


  • Mentalisation Based Therapy – training slides archived copy
  • Mentalisation Based Therapy – clinical slides  archived copy
  • What is mentalizing and why do it? | Chris Taylor download archived copy
  • Adolescent mentalization based therapy | Louise Duffy, Helen Griffiths | 2016 download archived copy

Recommended Reading

  • Bowlby, J. (1969/1982). Attachment and loss: Vol. 1. Attachment (2nd edition). New York: Basic Books
  • Hofmann, S. G. (2014). Interpersonal emotion regulation model of mood and anxiety disorders. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 38(5), 483-492.  download

What Is Affect Regulation?

Techniques for Affect Regulation

Affect regulation is a broad category that encompasses almost anything done to manage our emotional state including:


  • Bowlby, J. (1969). Attachment and loss: Volume I. Attachment. London: The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations.
  • Bowlby, J. (1982). Attachment and loss: retrospect and prospect. American journal of Orthopsychiatry52(4), 664.