University of Coimbra
Daniel Rijo is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences at the University of Coimbra, where he teaches and researches in the areas of Clinical Psychology and Forensic Psychology. With a PhD in Clinical Psychology at the University of Coimbra, he is currently the coordinator of the research group Cognitive and Behavioral Processes and Change of the Center for Research in Neuropsychology and Cognitive-Behavioral Intervention (CINEICC). He has coordinated several multi-year research projects with competitive funding, as well as doctoral theses with emphasis on clinical trials for the validation of psychological intervention programs. He is the author of books, book chapters and articles of national and international projection, especially in the area of psychological evaluation and intervention with young people and adults with antisocial behavior and intervention with their caregivers.
“Promotion of affiliative mindset in caregivers of at-risk youth: results of a clinical trial with impact on caregivers and emotional climate of institutions”
Caregivers play a critical role in foster care. They are role models who can shape healthy and adaptive relational dynamics and emotion regulation strategies. However, caregivers face situations of emotional stress on a daily basis and deal daily with young people with potentially traumatic life stories. Compassion, a motivation to care that can be trained and cultivated, involves being in touch with suffering and easing its pain, either in others or in ourselves. It thus becomes essential that the caregiver can cultivate a compassionate mind, not only to regulate their own emotions, but to be able to validate and respond appropriately to the emotional experience of young people without reacting reactively and critically. Therefore, we will be able to develop a safe and supportive relational space, which promotes restorative experiences, capable of responding to the emotional and binding needs of young people in foster care. The Compassionate Mind Training for Caregivers (CMT-C) program is designed to promote a mindset of affiliation, thinking about an improvement in the care provided in residential care. It is a structured program of 12 group sessions, aimed at multidisciplinary groups in which all those who provide care to young people at risk participate. In this conference, the contents and methodologies of CMT-C will be described, as well as the main results on its efficacy, evaluated in a randomized clinical trial by clusters. A total of 77 caregivers from 12 foster care homes participated in this study. This survey has demonstrated the benefits of the CMT-C program in residential foster care, proving to be effective in promoting more affiliative, safe and healthy environments for those who live and work there.