Nurture and play for foster families with young children: Foster-parents’ reflections on attachment-focused group intervention — Kirsi Tuomi & Esa Ala-Ruona

Πρώτη Ματιά – Article (published on 27 June 2022)

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Nurture and play for foster families with young children: Foster-parents’ reflections on attachment-focused group intervention

Kirsi Tuomi & Esa Ala-Ruona


An insecure attachment history puts foster children at risk for many kinds of difficulties, which may include psychopathology. Nurture and Play (NaP) for foster families intervention for children aged one to five years of age aims to help the new attachment relationship between foster parents and their young children develop in a secure direction. The aim of this study is to gain deeper understanding on how foster parents use their mentalization skills to reflect the different meanings of the NaP for foster families–intervention . A stimulated recall method was chosen to correspond to these research targets. It was revealed that parents’ reflections were evidently focused on the child, the importance of safety and the meaning of change during the process. Emotional qualities concerning both the child and the adult were also emphasised. The foster parents were able to utilise their reflections within a wider context of place, relationships, and time. The results of the study and the core concepts of attachment theory are strongly related to each other. Furthermore, the study and its outcomes offer suggested priorities and suggestions for future research.


foster children, young children, family centred music therapy, Theraplay, mentalisation, stimulated recall


Kirsi Tuomi PhD(c) is a music therapist, Theraplay therapist®, attachment focused family therapist in DDP and a licensed supervisor. Kirsi has worked with foster and adoptive families focusing on attachment issues over 20 years. She regularly gives lectures and supervises music therapy students. Kirsi has been presenting in numerous national and international conferences all over the world. She is finalising her PhD studies in the University of Jyväskylä focusing on family centred music therapy and has published in numerous journals and books. This article is part of her PhD. She was one founder of the Music Therapy with Families network and is a member of its core group and past president of Finnish society of music therapy. []

Esa Ala-Ruona is a music therapist and psychotherapist working as a senior researcher at the Music Therapy Clinic for Research and Training, at the Finnish Centre for Interdisciplinary Music Research, at University of Jyväskylä. His research interests are music therapy assessment and evaluation, and in studying interaction and clinical processes in music psychotherapy, and furthermore the progress and outcomes of rehabilitation of stroke patients in active music therapy. Other research/development interests are related to functional neurological disorder, vibroacoustic therapy, and preventive therapeutic work in occupational health. He is the president of the European Music Therapy Confederation, and he regularly gives lectures and workshops both nationally and internationally. []