Framework Fundamentals – Co-Regulated Connection


& the Therapeutic Fundamentals of Practice

When we are held in safety by another’s non-judgmental receptivity, we naturally open to more awareness of sensation, feelings, and the thoughts that arise from and accompanying them.  The stability of our joined windows of tolerance makes what was intolerable and necessary to ignore available for awareness and disconfirmation.  In the process, the circuitry of regulation develops more strength as our community gains another dyad for ongoing co-regulation.

Bonnie Badenoch, 2018

Co-Regulated Connection

CoregulationCo-regulation is the intentional and resonant modulation of the spatiotemporally-affected flow within and between two beings (Badenoch, 2018; Schore, 2009; Siegel, 2010).

Based in the premises of attachment theory, therapeutic co-regulated connection involves an intentional attunement to the Self and the Other’s Social Engagement Systems. This proposition is in alignment with the neural processes that underscore integration (a linkage of differentiated and complimentary physical, mental, and relational actions) and is the (therapist) Self’s ability to regulate autonomic hierarchical strategies of survival. That is, the Self’s ability to attune to levels of biological synchronicity within and between the dyadic connection and to continually modulate levels of safety and threat in a manner that is therapeutic (Badenoch, 2018; Porges, 2001, Seigel, 2012). Moreover, the therapeutic context of co-regulated connection is vital as the phenomenological foundations of co-regulation reside in the neural structures designed for experiences of biological synchronicity that promote integrated well-being (Badenoch, 2018; Porges, 2001, Schore, 2009, Seigel, 2012).

While it is possible to assume that the neural structures involved in these interpersonal connections or experiences of biological synchronicity stream throughout the entire brain and nervous system (Coan, 2016 cited in Badenoch 2018), it can be speculated that there is a flow of energy and information that is affectively (sensorially) received and streamed from the body to the brain through the midbrain into (predominately) the right hemisphere (Badenoch, 2018; Schore, 2009; Siegel, 2010). Seen as an area of “integration and transmission” it is within the midbrain that autonomous sensory-motor-reward connections are made and maintained (Badenoch, 2018; The University of Queensland, 2018); and, as energy and information moves through this area and into the higher limbic and cortical regions it touches early embedded aspects of the relationally created impulses that underlie implicit emotional-motivational reactions (Badenoch, 2018). As these streams move higher and wider, specifically within the right hemisphere, they are juxtaposed with resonance networks where interpersonal and intrapersonal interpretations lead to action anticipation and reaction or response (Siegel, 2007). With repetition these streams of information and energy forge neural linkages creating what is known in attachment theory as internal working models (Schore, 2009).

In their entirety these neural networks are made for ongoing attachment: to be in regulated connection with an Other for the purpose of survival – the attuning mechanism that allows a dependant being to attach to a primary caregiver in proximity seeking (emotional-motivational) behaviours. This ability to co-regulate is an innate capacity that, when optimally functioning, facilitates a sense of Self in care and nourishment (compassionate connection). This is a biological synchronicity that establishes optimal affective perceptions of fear and safety, depletion and satiety, imitation and innovation, distress and delight, as well as stability and flexibility – an autonomous system that continues throughout the lifetime and, while implicitly embedded within the first few years of life, is adaptively shaped by context and the ever-changing milieus of life (Badenoch, 2018; Schore, 2009; Siegel, 2010).


To be succinct, the Self is made to connect and regulate with an Other (Co-Regulation) in an attuned reciprocity of care-based seeking and receiving. This seeking and receiving the basis of an ongoing sense of safe and meaningful interaction with situational stimuli. Moreover, such safe meaningful interaction potentiates an adaptable system of connection that allows for the emergence of an internal sense trust in the Self as resonantly seen, heard, understood, accepted, valued, and delighted in (Badenoch, 2018). 

Conversely, where the Self has not previously been held in care and nourishment, or resonantly protected and nurtured in the presence of an Other, adaptations of disconnection and dysregulation overwhelm the Self in sub-optimal reflections of hyperactivity (chaos) or hypoactivity (rigidity) (Siegel, 2012). Yet, when the Self is held by an Other that stays connected no matter the intensity of affect, there is an intentional offering of connection that removes threat and allows space for feeling felt (Badenoch, 2018; Siegel, 2010). And, due to the adaptive nature of the nervous system, with new compassionate connections that repeatedly attune to resonating sensory streams of energy and information flow, the Self beings to create new neural networks that promote integration.

This is the blessing of Co-Regulated Connection: When the whole of a being is held in a deeply felt sense of safety, whilst being simultaneously wrapped in the warm offering of hope that arises through a shared sense of attuned presence, there is a profound statement of faith – an internal knowing that there is, within each individual, an inherent and ever-emerging ability to restore physical, mental, and relational equanimity (O’Hara, 2013; Siegel, 2010).

Welcome, my name is Chele, I am a therapist primarily specialising in Trauma &  Burnout.   As a psychotherapist & PACFA registered Counsellor I work individually with beautiful humans such as yourself who feel alone, lost, confused, & overwhelmed; those of you who are longing for something different.

As such, I offer my knowledge, skills, and inherent gifts with ears that listen to hear, and a heart open to receive who you are, no matter the suffering you bring; to support you in an exploration of how your past has impacted you and the ways that shows up presently. Together we will rediscover your hope and your sense of Self; we will reconnect you to what matters reclaiming the joy and delight in life you so deserve.

I welcome you to view my services or connect with me to explore how I can assist you in your journey.

References and Resources

Badenoch, B. (2018). The heart of trauma: Healing the embodied brain in the context of relationships. W. W. Norton & Company.

O’Hara, D. (2013). Hope in counselling and psychotherapy. SAGE Publications.

Schore, A. N. (2009). Right-brain affect regulation: An essential mechanism of development, trauma, dissociation, and psychotherapy. In D. Fosha, D. J. Siegel, & M. Solomon (Eds.), The healing power of emotion: Affective neuroscience, development & clinical practice (p. 112–144). W. W. Norton & Company.

Siegel, D. J. (2010). The mindful therapist: A clinician’s guide to Mindsight and neural integration. W. W. Norton & Company.

Siegel, D. J. (2012). Pocket guide to interpersonal neurobiology: An integrative handbook of the mind (Norton series on interpersonal neurobiology). W. W. Norton & Company.

The University of Queensland. (2019). Brain anatomy. Queensland Brain Institute.