S.C.A.R.F. Model

What is the SCARF Model?

The SCARF model involves five domains of human social experience: status, certainty, autonomy, relatedness, and fairness. Status is about where you are in relation to others around you. Certainty concerns being able to predict the future. Autonomy provides a sense of control over events.

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S.C.A.R.F. Model:

  • Acronym for different social needs we have.

  • Helps us know what causes us to react.

  • Potential sensitivities.

  • Understand our social connectedness that can cause a threat response in the body.

  • Some of our social needs can trigger a threat response.

  • The pain centers in the brain are close tot he pleasure centers.


The SCARF Model was developed in 2008 by David Rock, in his paper "SCARF: A Brain-Based Model for Collaborating With and Influencing Others." SCARF stands for the five key "domains" that influence our behavior in social situations. These are:

  1. Status - our relative importance to others.

  2. Certainty - our ability to predict the future.

  3. Autonomy – our sense of control over events.

  4. Relatedness – how safe we feel with others.

  5. Fairness – how fair we perceive the exchanges between people to be.

The model is based on neuroscience research that implies that these five social domains activate the same threat and reward responses in our brain that we rely on for physical survival.

Mental Health Approach

Status. Do I have my status threatened. I'm in line and someone jumps in. Times that someone stepped on yhour status. YOu felt like you were put down or you jumped over someone elses. It triggers us into a fight or flight (limbic system/amygdala).

What can we do? We need to help ourselves, calm ourselves down, get back to our pre-frontal cortex (for social engagement and connectedness).

Certainty. Lack of certainty can trigger a threat response. Uncertainty can trigger limbic system (fight or flight). When plans are changed, it could also trigger it. We need to build resiliency and learn to be flexible. Consistency has a safety feeling. The following emotions could send us to the limbic - anger, panic, fight/flight reactions.

What can we do? Label it. It helps us lower stress response.

Autonomy. We feel the need to have control over events or feeling like we have control. With Trauma we didn't have control when we were younger and experienced trauma.

What can we do? We need to learn to get comfortable that we aren't always in control and don't always need to be in control - micro managing everything isn't always good.

Relatedness. Someone abandons you. Or someone gives you some feeling that you're not good enough. You're not invited to bday party, etc.


What can we do?
We need to remind ourselves of a relationship we are secure in. That could be with another person, higher power or even with yourself.

Fairness. I'm getting all the work done at home. I didn't get same size of cake, etc.

What can we do? We need to remind ourselves that life isn’t meant to be fair. Find ways to address your concerns and then allow yourself to be settled with where it is.


What can we do?

Answer. Having grace as we move through life's uncomfortable challenges. Being mindful of our triggers and allowing ourselves space to be uncomfortable and not in control as we work to regulate our emotions and responses. Yoga can be a good experience for people to identify an uncomfortable pose, and knowing the pain or uncomfortableness will end. This could be done by counting to a certain number before coming out of a pose, allowing the body and mind to learn that there will be an end to painful experiences, and training your body to move out of the fight or flight response and de-escalate emotions on our own. Self-regulation is something we can learn as we move in and out of uncomfortable situations, learning to use tools (breathing exercises, movements, mantras, focus on a thought, etc) to help us move into a more healthy balance.


"Social pain can trigger the same intensity of the threat response as being chased by a tiger." - Dr. Heller.

"Understanding biological threat triggers can help calm our limbic system to help us quickly move from out of the limbic system into the pre-frontal cortex. Start to regulate inside ourselves." Pre-frontal cortex helps regulate emotion and communication.

Teachers

  • "Honor the unique gifts that you have.

  • How can you help people learn tools to heal? For example. calm in environment. quotes. music. Are you good at "yin".. or yoga flow? ..

  • Teachers can say hello. Say their name. Hand shake. (All these can reduce triggers)