Mentalising in the parents and carers of looked after children

DClinPsych Thesis

Wilson, J. 2020. Mentalising in the parents and carers of looked after children. DClinPsych Thesis Canterbury Christ Church University Salomons Institute for Applied Psychology
AuthorsWilson, J.
TypeDClinPsych Thesis
Qualification nameDoctor of Clinical Psychology

Section A: This section reviews the literature on interventions to improve mentalisation in foster carers and adoptive parents. The review sought to explore 5 key research areas in the literature relating to: 1) the interventions and their theoretical groundings, 2) the commonalities and differences between the interventions, 3) their strengths and limitations, 4) the efficacy of the interventions, and 5) whether improvements were maintained over time. Overall, the review found the body of literature to be at an early stage of development. The studies largely lacked rigorous designs, which limited the conclusions that could be made. However, some tentative hypotheses were drawn from the studies. Research implications include developing the measurements of mentalisation and the widespread implementation of controlled interventions.

Section B: This section explores the journey of a group of Foster Carers (FCs) as they complete the Circle of Security Parenting (COS-P) attachment-based intervention and the effect that this has on their Reflective Functioning (RF) and stress. It used a mixed methods nonexperimental single case design. The quantitative section involved measuring the RF and stress of seven FCs. Six of these participants went on to also complete qualitative interviews, which was analysed using thematic analysis. The study found qualitative evidence that FCs completing COSP developed their awareness of their own mind as well as the mind of their child. The quantitative results showed some limited changes and greater variability. It tentatively points to the COS-P programme as a potential programme for developing RF in FCs.

KeywordsMentalising; Reflective functioning; Foster carers; Looked after children
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Deposited15 Oct 2020
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