We have just submitted a revision of our article entitled “Modernizing Relationship Therapy through Social Thermoregulation Theory: Evidence, Hypotheses, and Explorations”. In the article, we review some of the available evidence on social thermoregulation in humans, review the sensors and actuators we use in our current research, and provide suggestions on how to craft Social Thermoregulation Therapy, which we regard as a potentially relevant addition to Emotionally Focused Therapy. To be clear, STT cannot yet be implemented, but a considerable amount of research is yet to be done. Nevertheless, we think that the prospects of STT for improving our social lives are promising. The resubmitted article is available here and the abstract is pasted below.
In the present article the authors propose to modernize relationship therapy by integrating novel sensor and actuator technologies that can help optimize people’s thermoregulation, especially in social contexts. Specifically, they propose to integrate Social Thermoregulation Theory (IJzerman et al., 2015a; IJzerman & Hogerzeil, 2017) into Emotionally Focused Therapy. As such, the authors suggest to craft a Social Thermoregulation (the pleisiomorphic reliance of relationships on temperature regulation) type therapy to further improve relationship therapy. The authors outline what is known and not known in terms of social thermoregulatory mechanisms, what kind of data collection and analyses are necessary to better understand social thermoregulatory mechanisms, and stress the need to conduct Randomized Clinical Trials prior to implementation. They further warn against too hastily applying these theoretical perspectives. The article concludes by outlining why Social Thermoregulation Therapy is the way forward in improving relationship functioning.