Bammens, A-S., Adkins, T., and Badger, J. (2015). Psycho-educational intervention increases reflective functioning in foster and adoptive parents. Adoption and Fostering, 39, 38-50.

The Family Minds (FM) psycho-educational and interactive program is a newly developed intervention on reflective functioning for groups of foster and adoptive parents. It lasts for nine hours and comprises elements of mentalization-based family therapy, lectures, group exercises and homework, with the aim that parents will be able to better understand and support their fostered or adopted child.

In a study undertaken in Texas we evaluated whether there was a change in the parents’ reflective functioning (verbal mentalization) pre- to post-FM training compared to a comparison group who experienced a ‘treatment as usual’ intervention comprising four hours of lecture information about trauma and attachment. Using five-minute speech samples pre- and post-training, we coded whether the capacity to think reflectively about oneself and one’s child altered in either training group. We found that, unlike the comparison group, parents in the FM group significantly increased their reflective functioning. This outcome was independent of several factors such as the age of the parent, age of the child and time as a carer. The only factor influencing the significant change was the training group in which the parent was placed.

These findings suggest that this novel mentalization-based psycho-educational training program can successfully increase parents’ reflective functioning which, in turn, should enhance and strengthen the understanding and relationship between the foster/adoptive parent and the child and reduce negative outcomes. Learn more in the full study on Family Minds, linked below.

Bammens, A-S., Adkins, T., and Badger, J. (2015).  psycho-educational-intervention-increases-reflective-functioning-in-foster-and-adoptive-parents Adoption and Fostering, 39, 38-50.