Simona Di Folco

DR, PhD in Dynamic, Clinical and Developmental Psychology

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Biography

I am a clinical developmental psychologist with an active research interest in child development, health, and education.  I am active in the area of the importance of social relations, especially attachment relations, for learning and for health. I am currently Postdoctoral Fellow at the School of Health in Social Science, at the University of Edinburgh, in the area of Clinical Psychology.

In 2007 I received a BSc in Science and Psychological Techniques for clinical assessment and counseling at Sapienza, University of Rome, Italy. Within the internship at the Child Neuropsychiatric Unit, I developed a deep interest in methodology and assessment of parent-child attachment relationship, thus I decided to attend short courses at the Anna Freud Center to gain skills for the assessment of attachment in infancy and middle childhood.

I then applied for the MSc program in Clinical and Dynamic Psychology for Children, Adolescents, and Families and two years later, in 2009 I graduated. During these two years, I had the opportunity to learn skills of developmental psychopathology and clinical assessment with families and children and to join an ongoing research about how attachment to parents may contribute to the development of consciousness of well-being and illness in school-aged children. My thesis was based on this study and was then recognized as the best contribution within the dissertations section in the memory of the Italian psychiatrist Sante de Sanctis.

After the registration exam as a chartered psychologist, I applied for the Ph.D. in Dynamic, Clinical, and Developmental Psychology at Sapienza University in Rome.

Before the Ph.D. viva, I joined Lund University, first as a visiting scholar and then as a Research Assistant, working in the Department of Psychology and within the area of Developmental Psychology.

I obtained my Ph.D. in 2014, working on a project about the development of emotional competence in transition to middle childhood and the contribution of attachment to mother and father.

During the PhD programme I had the opportunity to be trained on the administration and coding of widely known methods to assess parent-child attachment relationships in the lifespan: the Strange Situation Procedure, The Manchester Child Attachment Story Task, the Story Stem Assessment Profile, the Child Attachment Interview, the Adult Attachment Interview, and the Reaction to Diagnosis Interview.

After the Ph.D. I joined the University of Cagliari (Italy) as a Postdoctoral Fellow. There I worked on a  longitudinal project about prevention of maternal post-partum depression in transition to parenthood and framed within the attachment theory and developmental psychopathology.

During my research experience, I have been working with children in clinical and nonclinical samples (late adopted children and children suffering from idiopathic epilepsy) and with different age groups: from early infancy to middle childhood and adolescence and with parents and couples in transition to parenthood (both biological and adoptive parenthood) and those coping with the elaboration of the diagnosis of having a child affected by a medical problem, as epilepsy.

Today, I am training as a Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist with a particular interest on working with children and young people who experienced trauma and/or who are in care. Moreover, I am looking forward to continuing my research and clinical activity, excited about perspective work with parents and their children.

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