Here at the Sue Fairbanks Psychoanalytic Academy, we strive to increase the knowledge and understanding of psychoanalytic theory by translating this theory through our three branches: research, community trainings, and certificate courses. In this blog, you’ll find the latest June 2021 updates from the Academy.
New Research Publications: In the last year, SFPA Director Tina Adkins, Ph.D., has had two papers published based on research conducted through the Sue Fairbanks Psychoanalytic Academy:
- Adkins. T., Reisz, S., Hasdemir, D. & Fonagy, P. (2021). Family Minds: A randomized controlled trial of a group intervention to improve foster parents’ reflective functioning. Development and Psychopathology, 1-15. Read the entire article for free, here.
- Adkins, T., Reisz, S., Doerge, K., & Nulu, S. (2020). Adverse Childhood Experience histories in foster parents: Connections to foster children’s emotional and behavioral difficulties. Child Abuse & Neglect, 104, 104475. Read our summary over the study, here.
Project Research Update: Validation Study for the RF-FMSS: Reflective Functioning Five Minute Speech Sample
The RF-FMSS assessment was developed specifically for the Family Minds intervention, a psycho-educational intervention designed to increase the mentalizing skills of foster and adoptive parents. Presently, the only well-established measures of (parental) reflective functioning, such as the Reflective Functioning scale (RF; Fonagy et al., 1998), are scored on the Adult Attachment Interview (AAI; George et al., 1985) or the Parental Development Interview (PDI; Slade et al., 2004). These measures have many advantages, such as they can provide clinically rich and detailed data that allow a thorough exploration of parental reflective functioning that is simply not achievable with questionnaires. Despite these benefits, their use in large-scale studies are hindered by the fact that they can be cost prohibitive and time intensive (Luyten, Fonagy, Lowyck, et al., 2012). Given that interview assessments can yield rich data, a new shorter way to assess parental reflective functioning was created by Dr. Adkins using an adjusted Five Minute Speech Sample protocol (FMSS; Gottschalk & Gleser, 1969), coded for RF in the style of the AAI or PDI.
Dr. Adkins began this study right before COVID really took hold, in January 2020. It was designed to be an online study, so conveniently we were already conducting parenting interviews on Zoom when workplaces shut down. Our goal with this study has been to have 60 parents participate in both a PDI interview, as well as the RF-FMSS so we can compare the results of these two measures.
As of May 2021, almost 60 parents have completed both interviews. The sample thus far is 2/3rds mothers and 1/3rd fathers. I’ve been trying to recruit a diverse sample, but thus far, it’s a very educated sample. However, I have managed to recruit a more diverse sample with regards to ethnicity, with 60% White, 25% Hispanic, 6% African American and 5% Asian. We are currently transcribing interviews and hope to start coding right away. More to come in the next few months!
September 16th, 2021, 11am-12pm CST: From Childhood to Adult Attachment
November 18th, 2021, 11am-12pm CST: Mentalization & Reflective Parenting
January 27th, 2021, 11am-12pm CST: Defense Mechanisms Explained
Family Minds Parenting Intervention: International and Domestic Collaboration
Leicestershire, England: Dr. Adkins is currently collaborating with a team of mental health clinicians who work with families in the National Health System to train a small group of staff on how to deliver the Family Minds intervention to parents. Once she trains their staff via Zoom, they will then deliver the intervention to parents and she will supervise them throughout this process. Together, they will evaluate the parents to see if these new Family Minds Facilitators get the same results that Dr. Adkins did with her RCT study. If results prove to be the same, there will be more evidence behind the Family Minds Facilitator Training, which will help in more formally rolling out the program.
Lisbon, Portugal: Dr. Adkins is also collaborating with professors at University of Lisbon who would like her to adapt the Family Minds intervention for staff who work in Residential Treatment Centers for children. Since staff there are the primary caregivers of traumatized children, the intervention should be easily adaptable. Professors will then pilot the intervention with staff under Dr. Adkins’ supervision, and apply for funding for a full study of its efficacy.
Belgium and Italy: Foster care services in Belgium and Italy have both requested an online training for their staff in the Family Minds intervention. We are in the planning stages for both these trainings.
Virginia: Dr. Adkins has also been asked to collaborate with a university in Virginia on a project called “Fostering Forever Families: Caring for High-Needs Youth in Virginia’s Foster Care System”. They are currently in talks about including the Family Minds intervention as a component of this project.
Post-Graduate 1 Year Certificate Course in Contemporary Psychoanalytic Social Work Practice:
This 1-year course is designed to center the social work perspective in applying psychoanalytic ideas to clinical practice. It will offer social workers and other clinicians the opportunity to bring together psychoanalytic ideas in an applied way, and to be in a shared (virtual) space of learning, dialogue, and curiosity. It will emphasize the ways in acknowledging race, gender, ability, class, privilege, and positionality is central to our work, and draws upon a deep but often marginalized literature of applied psychoanalysis. Utilizing didactic learning, case conferences, and supervision, this program will enable participants to use psychoanalytic theories, and concepts in a range of practice settings including both private and public ones. This course will be open to all clinicians who identify with these social work values, and those interested in deepening their work from this perspective. Stay tuned for more details on the Psychoanalytic Certificate Course!