Margarida Rangel

University of Porto, Portugal



Adoption is considered a powerful intervention to promote the child physical and mental health recovery. However, it also brings loss and grief to children and adoptive parents, as well as the shadow of the fear of rejection from both parents and children. An adoptive child often experiences several periods of discontinuation in his/her life story, which may bring psychological suffering and sometimes limit his/her availability for being involved in new relationships. Moreover, in the adoptive families, the family life story, feeling of belonging and the capacity to build secure bonds are still important and sometimes hard challenges for families. The complexity of these processes require the development of research and interventions to support adoptive families across different periods in their life cycle. The systemic approach provides lens of complexity, which offer a deeply and rich understanding of the phenomena. This symposium aims to constitute an opportunity to present and discuss the work we develop in a Clinical Intervention Service in Adoption, focusing on the support of children, adoptive families and professionals. We will begin with the focus on research evidence background, following with the presentation of specific lines of work, namely: the support in the transition from the institution to the adoptive family, a clinical case focusing on the psychological support with siblings, a specific technique of life story narrative construction with the adoptive family (the heart map) and the supervision to professionals, as a strategy to build a common narrative along the support to the child from the institution to the adoptive family.

Professor Margarida Rangel Henriques is Psychologist, Researcher and Psychotherapist from the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences of the University of Porto. She teaches at the bachelor and master level, as well as in the PhD Program. The main research areas are Clinical Psychology, Parent-Child Interactions, focused on attachment and narrative co-construction, Caretakers Profile, Narrative Psychology, Adoption and Identity. She is head of the Psychology Intervention Centre for Children and Adolescents in the same Faculty, which has a tradition of working also with parents and families. In this context she creates a psychological intervention service for adoption and children living in residential care. She has clinical specialization in Systemic Family Therapy, the Cognitive-Behavioral Therapies, Constructivist Therapies, Cognitive-Narrative Therapy and Re-Authorship Narrative Therapy. She has a long experience in the training and supervision of professionals in the field of child promotion and protection, as well as, clinical psychologists.