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Trainers and Research Colleagues

The ABFT Training Program has several trainers and supervisors that help disseminate ABFT all over the world as well as research colleagues. All trainers have completed our rigorous ABFT Trainer and Supervisor Certification process and supervisors have completed our Supervisor Certification process. To schedule a workshop with a native speaker of English, Dutch, Norwegian, or Swedish, please contact abft@drexel.edu.

Developers of ABFT

Guy Diamond, PhD

Guy Diamond, PhD, is Professor Emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Associate Professor at Drexel University in the College of Nursing and Health Professions. At Drexel, he is the Director of the Center for Family Intervention Science (CFIS. Dr. Diamond is the primary developer of Attachment-Based Family Therapy (ABFT). He has received several federal, state and foundation grants to develop and test this model. Along with his co-authors, Drs. Gary Diamond and Suzanne Levy, Dr. Diamond has written the first book on ABFT, “Attachment-Based Family Therapy for Depressed Adolescents,” published by the American Psychological Association in 2014. Dr. Diamond is a certified trainer for all levels of training and a certified supervisor.

For more information on Dr. Diamond’s research related to ABFT see here.

Gary Diamond, PhD

Gary M. Diamond, PhD, is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychology at Ben-Gurion University.  He is a licensed clinical psychologist and family therapist, and one of the primary developers of Attachment-Based Family Therapy. His research examines change mechanisms in family-based treatments, including the role of emotional processing, the therapeutic alliance and changes in parental behaviors. His primary focus today is on developing family-based treatments for sexual minority individuals and their non-accepting parents. He conducts trainings around the world on ABFT. Dr. Diamond is a certified trainer for all levels of training and a certified supervisor.

For information on ABFT research in Israel, please visit Ben-Gurion University Psychotherapy Research Lab.

Ben-Gurion University Psychotherapy Research Lab

The BGU Psychotherapy Research Lab is housed in the Department of Psychology, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva, Israel. Under the supervision of Professor Gary M. Diamond, lab members engage in clinical research on the process and outcome of: Attachment-Based Family Therapy (ABFT) for sexual minority young adults and their non-accepting parents; ABFT and emotion-focused therapy for individuals suffering from unresolved anger toward a parent; and ABFT for depressed and suicidal adolescents. Some of the processes we examine include: emotional processing, changes in parental acceptance, and changes in attachment. Our research has been supported by the generosity of the Israel Science Foundation, Bi-National Science Foundation, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, National Institute for Psychobiology in Israel, Israel Anti-Drug Authority, and Israel Foundations Trustees. The Israel-U.S. Bi-national Science Foundation is funding all collaborative research projects with CFIS. See link below to our website to read more about the research projects we are conducting.

Past Funded Projects in Collaboration with the Center

The link between emotional processing, emotional arousal, changes in attachment and decreases in suicidal ideation in attachment-based family therapy for suicidal adolescents.

Authors: Gary M. Diamond, Guy S. Diamond, R. Rogers Kobak

This study will examine the role of emotional arousal and processing in transforming attachment schema and decreasing suicidal ideation among a sample of 60 suicidal adolescents receiving 16 weeks of attachment-based family therapy. Emotional arousal and processing will be measured via observational coding and objective analyses of voice quality during the first two reattachment sessions of each case. Attachment will be measured via AAI interviews and observational coding of interaction tasks pre and post-treatment. Suicidal ideation will be measured via self-report at baseline, 8, 16 (post treatment) 32 and 52 weeks. Based on the theoretical tenets of ABFT and prior research, we hypothesize that: 1) Frequency and level of productive emotional processing during the first two reattachment sessions will be associated with improvements in adolescents' attachment schema by the end of treatment; 2) frequency and level of productive emotional processing will be associated with decreases in suicidal ideation at post treatment and follow-up assessments, but that this association will be mediated by changes in attachment schema and; 3) the positive association between the frequency and level of productive emotional processing and improved attachment schema will be moderated by the peak and modal level of emotional arousal during productive emotional processing, and that this association will be non-linear (i.e., the association will be strongest in the context of moderately high levels of arousal). Findings promise to shed light on the relation between affective and cognitive changes in emotion focused therapies and inform therapists regarding optimal levels of emotional arousal during processing.

Sequence of affective states over the course of Attachment-Based Family Therapy (ABFT) for suicidal adolescents.

Authors: Chen Lifshitz (student), Guy S. Diamond, R. Rogers Kobak & Gary M. Diamond (academic supervisor)

Attachment episodes are a primary change mechanism in ABFT. Successful attachment episodes are characterized by adolescents expressing their previously avoided but adaptive assertive anger, hurt and unmet attachment needs directly to their parents. This process typically involves the adolescent first accessing and expressing their more dominant, easily accessible, but maladaptive rejecting anger and fear. This study examined the sequence of affective states leading to adolescents’ expression of vulnerable adaptive emotions and unmet attachment needs during conjoint sessions with their parents. We hypothesized that expression of vulnerable adaptive emotions and attachment needs would be preceded by expressions of rejecting anger or fear, and that higher levels of rejecting anger and fear in early individual sessions with the adolescent would predict less expression of adaptive emotions and attachment needs in subsequent conjoint sessions.

Amount of adolescent productive emotional processing in attachment-based family therapy versus non-specific supportive therapy.

Authors: Ofir Nir (student), R. Rogers Kobak, Guy S. Diamond & Gary M. Diamond (academic supervisor)

One purported element in the change process in ABFT is emotional processing. Emotional processing occurs when adolescents access, connect with and express unmet attachment needs (e.g., need for care) and their associated primary adaptive emotions, including fear, grief and assertive anger. According to ABFT, when adolescents are able to express their previously unspoken adaptive emotions and unmet needs to their parents; and their parents respond with empathy, validation and protection; adolescents feel safer and cared for, increasing their sense of security in the attachment relationship. The purpose of this study is to examine the degree to which ABFT indeed facilitates emotional processing among suicidal adolescents, and whether it does so at levels greater than an efficacious comparison treatment (family-enhanced non-directive supportive therapy).

Suzanne Levy, PhD

Suzanne Levy, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist and Director of the ABFT Training Program at Drexel University’s College of Nursing and Health Professions. She is one of the co-developers of Attachment-Based Family Therapy. Dr. Levy coordinates and conducts ABFT training workshops and supervision for therapists nationally and internationally. She also oversees the ABFT treatment in the CFIS’s clinical trials. She is co-author of the first book on ABFT. Dr. Levy is a certified trainer for all levels of training and a certified supervisor.

Trainers and Research Colleagues

United States

Illinois

Jonathan B. Singer, PhD, LCSW

Dr. Singer is associate professor of social work at Loyola University Chicago, President of the American Association of Suicidology, and founder of the award winning Social Work Podcast. For the past 23 years, he has been a community mental health clinician, educator and researcher, much of that time providing crisis services to suicidal youth and their families. His clinical and research interests focus on interventions for suicidal and cyberbullied youth; service access and service utilization; and use of technology in education and clinical practice. Dr. Singer is the author of over 65 publications including the 2015 Routledge text, "Suicide in schools: A practitioner's guide to multi-level prevention, assessment, intervention, and postvention." His research has been featured in national and international media outlets like NPR, Fox, Time Magazine, and The Guardian. Dr. Singer is a well-regarded international speaker who has taught graduate-level clinical practice courses since 2002. Since 2013 he has taught ABFT to clinical social work students and presented on ABFT at conferences. He provided Attachment-Based Family Therapy and Family Enhanced Non-directive Supportive Therapy as part of a federally-funded clinical trial for depressed and suicidal youth. Dr. Singer is in training to become a certified trainer for Day One of the introductory workshop.

Maryland

Syreeta Scott, PhD

Syreeta Scott, PhD, completed her postdoctoral fellowship at CFIS. Dr. Scott completed her pre-doctoral internship at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York, NY and received her PhD from Eastern Michigan University. Dr. Scott was the Recruitment and Clinical Coordinator as well as a certified therapist for a NIMH R01 study entitled Attachment Based Family Therapy for Suicidal Adolescents. Dr. Scott is a certified trainer for day one of the introductory workshop. She is also a certified ABFT supervisor.

Virginia

Jody Russon, PhD, LMFT

Dr. Jody Russon is an assistant professor in the Human Development and Family Science Department at Virginia Tech. Dr. Russon is interested in community-based suicide intervention and prevention for vulnerable adolescents and young adults, particularly LGBTQ+ youth. She is a certified supervisor and trainer in attachment-based family therapy and has received advanced training in emotionally-focused therapy for couples. Dr. Russon is an American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy supervisor candidate and an instructor in the person-of-the-therapist training model.

International

Australia

Ingrid Wagner

Dr. Ingrid Wagner is a clinical and mental health social worker with over 30 years of experience in health and mental health services. She was the Principal/Director of Social Work for the Child & Youth Mental Health Service, RCH HSD, from 2001 to 2010; and from 2010 to 2015, she held an Associate Professorship as the Clinical Academic Fellow (Child & Youth Mental Health) at the Queensland University of Technology. At the university, she was engaged in a project to disseminate empirically tested family treatments for children and youth in Queensland including Attachment Based Family Therapy for Adolescent Depression. She had worked in direct practice, provided clinical supervision and clinical training in empirically tested treatments, as well as participated in program development, dissemination and evaluation. She is currently engaged in private practice in Brisbane, Australia. Dr. Wagner is a certified trainer for all levels of training and a certified supervisor.

For information on ABFT research in Australia, please visit Queensland University of Technology.

Belgium

Karen Bauwens

Karen Bauwens is a clinical psychologist and recognized system therapist. She has experience with coaching, supervision, and education. She specializes in working with anxiety and mood disorders in children and adolescents. Since 2012, she works as a psychologist / psychotherapist at the consultation Angst and Mood Disorders, Child Psychiatry UZ Leuven. She is a trainer and supervisor in the ABFT Belgium Training Center.

Christel Bouwens

Christel Bouwens is a clinical orhopedagogue, master Psychopedagogy at the KULeuven. Christel works at her private practice and is specialized in anxiety, OCD, depression, suicidal thoughts and behavior, trauma, sleep disorder and in working with Gender and Sexual Minority related questions. She is a behavioral therapist, member and supervisor of the Flemish Society for Behavioral Therapy and trainer and supervisor within the Permante Formation Behaviorist at the KUniversity of Leuven, supervisor within the Integrative Psychotherapy Formation at the University of Antwerp and supervisor at Psy-net.be. Christel is an advanced Emotionally Focused Couple (EFT) Therapist specialized in couples with trauma survivors. She is a certified ABFT therapist, trainer and supervisor in the ABFT Belgium Training Center.

Guy Bosmans, PhD

Dr. Bosmans investigates attachment from a developmental psychopathology perspective. He investigates the role of attachment as a risk factor in the relation between parenting behavior and internalizing and externalizing behavior problems in middle childhood and adolescence. His research mainly focuses on the conceptual association between the internal working model of attachment and the cognitive schema concept. He developed several experiments and performance based measures to study the influence of cognitions regarding confidence in availability of the mother on the cognitive processing of information with regard to mother.

He is also involved in studies within the field in child welfare. In this area, he contributes to the dissemination of evidence-based assessment and practice and he provides support in the qualitative and quantitative evaluation of specific interventions in services of child-welfare at different levels of intervention. He is involved in the application of the related insights on attachment-related processes to clinical practice. For this reason, he actively contributes to implementing Attachment Based Family Therapy in the Home Guidance Services of the Flemish Child Welfare. Dr. Bosmans is in training to become a certified trainer for day one of the introductory workshop.

For information on ABFT research in Belgium, please visit Catholic University of Leuven (KU Leuven).

Leuven Experimental Attachment Research Lab

Director/Primary Investigator of Lab: Guy Bosmans, PhD

The research at our lab focuses on increasing the understanding of the attachment construct, of the mechanisms explaining the link between insecure attachment and the development of emotional and behavior problems, and of best practice strategies to treat attachment-related problems in child welfare and mental health care settings. The studies are predominantly carried out in middle childhood, but we are interested in developmental pathways throughout adolescence into young adulthood. Our research builds on the assumption that individual differences in whether or not children develop secure attachments reflects whether or not children were able to develop a secure base script. This is a cognitive schema that reflects the expected occurrence of a chain of events. This script starts with experiencing exposure to distress, is followed by experiencing adequate care and support from attachment figures, and is finished after the experience where as a result support normative exploration and development towards autonomy can be resumed. Our lab’s main goal is to use experimental designs to show how confidence in maternal support that children derive from such scripts is characterized by biases in the (attention, memory, interpretation) processing of attachment related information, how this guides their support and care seeking behavior, and how this determines their vulnerability to develop emotional and behavior problems.

Other Lab Websites: The Leuven Attachment Experimental Research Lab

Active Funded Projects in Collaboration with the Center

Attachment Based Family Therapy during Home Guidance in Flemish Child Welfare: Exploring Implementation, Effectiveness and Dissemination

In this project, we evaluate the extent to which Attachment-Based Family Therapy (ABFT) can be used during child welfare home guidance. First results look very promising.

Marijke Cornelis

Information coming soon!

Jasmijn Creten

Jasmijn Creten is a clinical psychologist and recognized system therapist. She has a special interest in supporting depressive and suicidal (young) adults and adolescents. She worked several years for the CGG's Suicide Prevention Work, where she trained and coached relief workers and organizations. Since 2009 she has worked as a psychologist at CGG Kempen, in addition she works in an independent practice. She is a trainer and supervisor in the ABFT Belgium Training Center.

Laura Deckers

Information coming soon!

Ilse Devacht

Ilse Devacht is an experienced registered clinical psychologist (KU Leuven, 1998). She is an accredited CBT therapist (2001), trainer and supervisor. She has attained a level II in Narrative Therapy (2014). She was trained and accredited as ABFT therapist by the developers of ABFT at Drexel University (Philadelphia) in 2016. STATEMENT ABOUT TRAINER AND SUPERVISOR CERT? She works as a psychologist and researcher at Asster Hospital, with a young adult population (18 to 23 years of age) in an inpatient treatment program. Her clinical work focuses on providing ABFT family therapy for admitted young adults along with their families and on team coaching to promote the provision of attachment based care in an intensive inpatient setting.

In collaboration with Drs Suzanne Levy, Guy Diamond and Professor Guy Bosmans (KU Leuven, Belgium), she developed the Attachment Based Residential Care program (ABRC) for teams, consisting of an intensive three days team training, an implementation manual and team supervision. The ABRC milieu program, was implemented and tested at the Asster Hospital and is now ready to be implemented in other settings.

Her research efforts currently focus on the effectiveness of the ABRC program and of the ABFT family therapy for young adults with multiple problems and diagnoses

Ludmilla Moons

Ludmilla Moons is a social worker and a recognized systemical psychotherapist. She works in Hestia Therapy Center in Mechelen and is linked to Keerpunt, a multidisciplinary center for families, children and young people in Sint-Katelijne-Waver. In addition to her therapeutic work, she is connected to the Center for General Well-being Boom Mechelen Lier, where she leads ROJM OverKop, a mental health care project for vulnerable youngsters and families with migration background and supports and supervises TEJO Lier youth therapists. Currently, she focuses on working with adolescents, (young) adults and their wider family as well as couples and adults. She is a trainer and supervisor in the ABFT Belgium Training Center.

Tara Santens

Tara Santens is an orthopedagogue and works as a doctoral candidate at the Research Unit of Family and Orthopedagogy of the KU Leuven. As a member of the Lego lab, she is involved in research into attachment to children and young people and to implement and disseminate ABFT in the Flemish relief landscape. She spent a year in Philadelphia (USA) where she was trained at Drexel University in ABFT. She is a trainer and supervisor in the ABFT Belgium Training Center.

Els van Daele

Els Van Daele graduated as a criminologist and as a sexologist at the KULeuven. She is recognized as a relationship and family therapist, trainer and supervisor at the BVRGS. She works as a relationship and family therapist in an independent practice at Meise and as a (forensic) group therapist in the Center for Mental Health Care Ahasverus, Grimbergen and in Brussels (I.T.E.R., Center for Criminal Assistance). She is affiliated with the training institute I.P.R.R. In Mechelen and regularly publishes on system therapy in forensic and forced care. She is a trainer and supervisor in the ABFT Belgium Training Center.

Norway

Pravin Israel

Pravin Israel, PhD, is a clinical psychologist with sub-specialty in clinical work with children and adolescents and is currently employed as senior psychologist at the Family Counseling Services, Stavanger, Norway. He is also adjunct associate professor at the Department of Health Sciences, VID Specialized University, Norway. He is a long-time collaborator particularly around dissemination and implementation of ABFT in Norway. In 2007, Pravin spent a year at CFIS as an exchange scholar. His research revolves around parent involvement in treating children and adolescents with psychosocial problems. One study examined over 30,000 children and adolescents treated in the public health care system in Norway and found little parent involvement adolescents with emotional problems. This gave impetus to import ABFT to Norway and test its feasibility for a referred group of adolescents with depression. He recently concluded data collection for a clinical trial aimed to test the effectiveness of ABFT for depressed adolescents in Norway. Dr. Israel is a certified trainer for the introductory training workshop and a certified supervisor.

For information on ABFT research in Norway, please visit VID Specialized University.

Sweeden

Magnus Ringborg

Magnus Ringborg is an author, psychologist, psychotherapist, family psychotherapy supervisor and trainer since 1981. He is the former chairman of Swedish Family Therapy Association (SFFT), former editor of Fokus pa Familjen, former member of the board of directors of International Family Therapy Association (IFTA). Magnus teaches ABFT in Sweden at various levels of family therapy training. He also supervises therapists in ABFT. Magnus is a certified trainer for the introductory training workshop and a certified supervisor.