Self-regulation is an essential organising principle in the development of living systems. It might even be the mechanism by which systems develop. Development occurs in a progression of stages in which adaptive self-regulatory structures and functions emerge that enable new interactions between the changing individual and the changing environment.

The brain self-organises in response to experiences with another brain. The primary caregiver acts as an external psychobiological regulator of the ‘experience-dependant’ growth of the infant’s nervous system. Affect plays a central role in the formation of the attachment bond. Different types of unregulated stresses occurring during the critical period of the growth of the orbitofrontal cortex is a source of insecure attachment.

The infant’s organ systems mature over the course of infancy. The primary caregiver’s role is critical to processes such as fluid balance and temperature regulation, that later become autoregulated. These early psychosocial contacts entrain biological rhythms.