Catherine’s research has two general focus areas: Embodied Self-Regulation and Psychosocial Disorders (see further details below). I have also done some School-Based Projects (i.e., projects completed in areas of reading, teaching, and student development according to student interests)
Embodied Self-Regulation and Psychosocial Disorders
Embodied Self-Regulation is defined as the regulation of self through embodied practices (e.g., yoga and mindful practices). Emodied self-regulation is an effective tool in the prevention and treatment of psychosocial disorders. Dr. Cook-Cottone conceptualizes these relationships within a Attunement Model of Wellness and Embodied Self-Regulation (see Figure 1 below). Interventions utilize strategies that include instruction in the areas of yoga, mindfullness-based techniques, and psycho-education in functional neuro-anatomy.
Catherine’s wellness research focuses on the exploration and validation of the Attunement Model of Wellness and Embodied Self-Regulation (see Figure 1 below). The embodied self is viewed as an integration of thoughts, emotions, and physiological needs within the context of the external ecologies of family, community and culture. A healthy self develops when an individual embodies practices that promote health and growth and the external ecologies are attuned with and support these practices (or the individual has learned tools to self-regulate despite external ecologies).
Citations for the model:
Cook-Cottone, C. P. (2006). The attuned representation model for the primary prevention of eating disorders: An overview for school psychologists. Psychology In The Schools, 43(2), 223-230.
Cook-Cottone, C. P. (2015). Mindfulness and yoga for self-regulation: A primer for mental health professionals. New York, NY York: Springer.
Cook-Cottone, C. P., (2017). Mindfulness and yoga in schools for teachers and practitioners. New York, NY: Springer.
The model is well explicated in places (1) Cook-Cottone (2006), “The attuned representation model for the primary prevention of eating disorders: An overview for school psychologists,” published in Psychology in the Schools (PITS), (2) Healthy Eating in Schools: Evidenced Based Strategies to Help Kids Thrive (3) Girls Growing in Wellness and Balance: Yoga and Life Skills to Empower, (4) Mindfulness and Yoga in Schools for Teachers and Practitioners, and (5) Mindfulness and yoga for self-regulation: A primer for mental health professionals.
The Attunement Model of Wellness and Embodied Self-Regulation is an interactive model of two systems: the self system and the cultural system (see Figure 1).
The self system is made up of three potentially integrated and transactive components that co-evolve throughout an individual’s development: (a) the physiological self (i.e., body), (b) emotional self (i.e., feeling), and (c) cognitive self (i.e., thinking). The self system is an internal system experienced by the individual as his or her Real Self.
The external system is modeled after Bronfenbrenner’s ecological model (1979) and is also made up of three potentially integrated and transactional systems: (a) the microsystem (e.g., family), (b) exosystem (e.g., community), and (c) the macrosystem (e.g., culture).
The two systems are interconnected by a process: attunement. Based on Siegel’s (1999) theoretical work, attunement is defined as a reciprocal process of mutual influence and coregulation. Internal system (i.e., Real Self) and external system attunement is facilitated by the Representational Self. The Representational Self is the constructed self that is presented to the external system. It is the way individuals engage with their environment; how they interact with their families, people at their schools, and individuals in their communities.” (Cook-Cottone, 2006, PITS).
Achievement of effective attunement among the inner and outer aspects of self requires intentional self-care practices in support of the body, emotions, and conceptual mind. Further, to remain attuned externally without losing oneself or losing connection without, healthy boundaries, supportive relationships, and an ability to discern the wellness promoting and risk enhancing aspects of community and culture. This knowledge and skills-based is sometimes passed down through families as are risk patterns and disorders. Further, for some the disorders, compulsive involvement with self that accompanies an eating disorder may be a protective reaction to their inability to balance the needs, demands, and pressures of others and maintain and awareness of their own needs (see Figure 2). When the systems are not working, there is risk for dysfunction and disorder (read more about this in Catherine’s Books).
There are practices that can help support and maintain the embodied self (see yoga research and research on mindful self-care). Further, having a sense of purpose and mission can also support growth and wellbeing when balanced with mindful self-care (see figure 3).