Treating disturbed emotional regulation in sexual offenders: The potential applications of mindful self-regulation and controlled breathing techniques

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Colleges, School and Institutes


It has been noted that some offenders are characterized by problems in the appropriate regulation of emotional states. Deficits in emotional regulation are particularly pertinent in sexual offenders. Therefore, therapeutic programs should, in part, focus on the development of effective strategies for the control of emotional arousal. In this review, we will provide an outline of how anatomical structures including the amygdala and regions of the prefrontal cortex (PFC) are involved in the appropriate regulation of emotion. It is argued in this paper that the effective control of emotional states may be helped through the adoption of a group of meditational practices, known as mindfulness techniques, which have emerged from Buddhist philosophy. These techniques involve slow, deep breathing and have been shown to affect vagal modulation of the heart and the functioning of specific neural circuits which are critically involved in emotional regulation.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333-343
JournalAggression and Violent Behavior
Publication statusPublished - 2012