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Child Attachment and Psychological Therapies Research (CHAPTRe)

ChAPTRe is a partnership between Anna Freud and UCL and research unit led by Professor Nick Midgley.

The mission of the research unit is to be a space for developing and promoting research related to children and young people's mental health and emotional wellbeing.

Our particular focus is on evaluating psychological therapies for children and young people, and their parents and carers. We have expertise in research with children and families in various contexts, including with care-experienced young people, families on the edge of care, and young people with depression.

We collaborate with UK clinicians and service providers in various settings, including children’s social care, and children and young people's mental health services. We also work on international collaborations.

As well as asking whether a treatment works, we also explore questions like:

  • Why does this treatment work?

  • What are the mechanisms of change?

  • Who does this treatment work for, and why?

  • What is it like to receive this particular treatment, from the perspective of children, young people, and families?

  • How can this treatment be successfully implemented in real world services?

Key areas of our research are psychological therapies (including psychodynamic and mentalization based treatments), attachment and reflective functioning, children in care and adolescent depression.

Current research projects

ChAPTRe is involved in a number of ongoing research studies.

Current training

The members of ChAPTRe offer a range of short courses and trainings at Anna Freud.

Trainings and consultations

The members of ChAPTRe offer a range of short courses and trainings at Anna Freud. Please find the details below. 

In addition, it is possible for us to offer bespoke trainings, based in London or elsewhere, and to offer consultations regarding child attachment and psychological therapies research.

Please contact us on for more details, and for costings.

You can also discover past research projects in our archive

Meet the team

Nick Midgley, Co-Director of ChAPTRe

Nick Midgley is Professor of Psychological Therapies with Children and Young People at UCL, where he is Academic Director for the Doctorate in Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy. Among other projects, he is currently chief investigator on the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)-funded Reflective Fostering Study, a clinical trial evaluating the effectiveness of a mentalization based intervention for foster carers; as well as the Emotional Regulation in Children (ERiC) clinical trial, evaluating mentalization based treatment (MBT) for school-age children with emotional and behavioural problems referred to child and adolescent mental health services in the UK, funded by the Kavli Trust.

Professor Pasco Fearon

Pasco is Professor of Family Research at the University of Cambridge, and Director of the Centre for Family Research. He's also Professor of Developmental Psychopathology at UCL and Director of the Developmental Neuroscience Unit at Anna Freud. Pasco is a Clinical Psychologist and researcher, focusing on children’s mental health and the family environment, the President of the Society for Emotion and Attachment Studies and Deputy Editor in Chief of the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

Michelle Sleed, Senior Research Fellow

Dr Michelle Sleed is a Senior Research Fellow in the Child Attachment Psychological Therapies Research Unit (ChAPTRe) and Deputy Programme Director of the Doctorate in Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy at Anna Freud/University College London. Her research is focused on evaluating preventative interventions for families, and particularly the role of parental mentalizing as a mechanism of change. She has carried out research evaluating the outcomes of psychoanalytic and mentalization based treatments for families experiencing complex difficulties, including interventions for parents in prison, parents with perinatal psychiatric difficulties, and families in the child welfare system. Dr Sleed is a trainer in various systems for coding the Parent Development Interview, including Parental Reflective Functioning and the Assessment of Representational Risk. She has used the measures extensively in clinical evaluations and therapy process research. Her research has also investigated and addressed issues of measurement of parental mentalization, particularly pre-mentalizing modes, in the assessment of relational trauma within the parent-child relationship.

Peter Martin, Senior Research Fellow

Dr Peter Martin is Associate Professor of Biostatistics and Psychological Methods in the Department of Applied Health Research at University College London. One of the joys of being a statistician is that he gets to collaborate with fellow researchers from many disciplines, including psychology, sociology, medicine, health care, and epidemiology. Peter has a particular interest in mental health and psychotherapy research. He is also an enthusiastic teacher of statistics and has published two textbooks for university students. For more information and a full list of Peter’s published work, please see his  UCL profile .

Evrinomy Avdi, Senior Research Fellow

Evrinomy is Professor in Clinical Psychology at the School of Psychology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, and Research Tutor at Anna Freud. She is a clinical psychologist, psychoanalytic psychotherapist and drama therapist with a long-standing interest in constructionist research on clinical practice. Evrinomy has been teaching and writing on the use of qualitative research methods in clinical work and has been involved in several projects examining the experience and process of psychotherapy.

Saul Hillman, Senior Research Fellow

Saul is a Senior Research Fellow and Research Tutor at Anna Freud and is an Honorary Lecturer at University College London. He is the tutor for two University College London postgraduate programmes: the MSc in Developmental Psychology and Clinical Practice (DPCP) and the Doctorate in Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy where he both supervises and leads on specific projects. He is also the training lead for the Story Stem Assessment Profile (SSAP) courses including managing accreditation, coding and consultation. Saul’s research areas are around adoption and looked-after children with a particular interest in attachment and mentalization.

Paula Oliveira, Senior Research Fellow

Paula is a Senior Research Fellow and Course Tutor at Anna Freud. Her research is focused on attachment and trauma in children who are or have been looked after or are at risk of entering care. Her teaching is in the UCL research master’s programme Developmental Neuroscience and Psychopathology. More recently she started working as a psychologist in a clinical service associated with ChAPTRe, offering an attachment-based parenting intervention to adoptive, kinship and foster parents.

Guilherme Fiorini, Research Officer

Guilherme is a Research Officer at ChAPTRe and a PhD candidate in Psychoanalytic Studies at UCL. His main interest is in child and adolescent psychotherapy. He is currently involved with the Supporting Parents Project and the IMPACT trial, two randomised controlled trials on psychological therapies.