The conference addresses convergences between evidences coming from three mostly separate research areas – psychological research on caregiving relationships, psychotherapy research and early education research – that today increasingly point at the role of emotion dynamics in caregiving as a common change factor in parenting, psychotherapy and early education pedagogy.

Program and registration information: see below.


Research background and current status

Research on the parent-child relationship, principally coming from developmental psychology and in good part inspired by attachment theory has particularly emphasized the role of interpersonal emotion dynamics in the caregiving relationship. Emotional attunement, responsiveness, emotional availability, empathic accuracy, genuineness are among the emotional skills that have been repeatedly demonstrated to help the caregiver to provide a positive environment for the child’s healthy development. Change processes that are activated through the interpersonal emotion dynamics between parent and child are of high relevance for psychotherapy and early education.

Research focus on emotional dynamics in caregiving relationship is interestingly echoed in psychotherapy research, in which the role of the emotional bond between therapist and patient is increasingly pointed out. Whereas emotion dynamics has been considered central from the outset in psychodynamic psychotherapy, well-established researchers today also point at the role of emotion dynamics in cognitive behavioral therapy. In addition, several voices have stressed the role of re-parenting as a change factor, thereby using the caregiving relationship as a model for the psychotherapeutic relationship. The role of the relationship in the outcome is now evidence-based, with skills such as empathy and ability to foster good alliance, considered as “demonstrably effective”, and others such as positive regard or genuineness considered as “probably effective” or “promising”, while unawareness of countertransference has been associated with ineffective psychotherapists. Such emotional skills suggest similarities between psychotherapeutic and caregiving relationship.

Parallel to this, emotions – particularly processes and tools to develop the child social-emotional skills – have been increasingly under focus in early education pedagogic research. In particular pedagogic research has emphasized the crucial role of the child’s social emotional skills in his learning skills as well as for the child’s engagement in pedagogic activities and future academic results. Research on the impact of emotional dynamics in caregiving relationship is thereby highly relevant for early education: psychology research shows that sensitive emotional relationships with the child builds the foundation of the child’s capacity to feel and relate to his/her own feelings but also to empathize with others, which is the ground for the child’s learning of social skills, that is increasingly targeted in early education and is explicitly part of the Swedish curriculum for preschools. Such convergences call for exploring the potential role of the pedagogic relationship, in particular to help pedagogues to buffer the child against a harmful parent-child relationship.

Convergences between caregiving relationship, psychotherapy relationship and pedagogic relationship call to explore the emotional processes solicited by the caregiving relationship as a common change factor in parenting, psychotherapy and early education. It also suggests investigating the potential interactions between parent-child relationship, psychotherapeutic relationship and/or pedagogic relationship.

Today these fields are mostly separated but an international research frontline emerges that integrates these perspectives, showing fruitful results. The conference gathers international researchers to discuss findings and conceptualizations that shed light on the role of managing emotion dynamics at the heart of the caregiving relationship, thereby opening new approaches, tools and methods for psychotherapy and early education pedagogy.

Dr. Isabelle Letellier, Pr. Stephan Hau, Pr. Pehr Granqvist



New venue: William-Olssonsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Frescati (Main Campus). Map.



9-9.30 am Arrival.

9.30 am Introduction. Dr. Isabelle Letellier (Stockholm University), Pr. Stephan Hau (Stockholm University)

10.10-11 am Investigating attachment in “children-at-risk”. Pr. Tamara Fischmann (SFI, Frankfurt)

11-11.20 am Coffee break

11.20-12.10 am Observation as treatment and prevention in early childhood interventions. Pr. Vijé Franchi (Genève)

12.10-1.10 pm Lunch break

1.10-2 pm Family environment's role in the development of self-regulation: A five-year longitudinal study. Karin Brocki (Babylab, Uppsala University)

2-2.50 pm Children's multiple attachments across different life contexts. Fabien Bacro (Université de Nantes)

2.50-3.20 pm Coffee break

3.20-4.10 pm Mother-child emotional dialogues as a secure base: Research evidence from low and high-risk samples. Nina Koren-Karie (Haifa University)

4.10–5 pm Mindfulness as a tool to enhance caregiving relationships. Håkan Nilsson (Högskolan i Skövde)

5-5.30 pm Concluding Discussion. Pr. Stephan Hau (Stockholm University), Pr. Pehr Granqvist (Stockholm University), Dr. Isabelle Letellier (Stockholm University)

5.30-6.20 pm Mingel



Registration is mandatory. Participation fees are SEK 120 and include lunch.

Send an email to, with “Registration” in the subject before November 5, 2016.

Payment information

Please indicate the reference 308/5570801 for your payment.

From Sweden:

Plusgiro 15657-0 or Bankgiro 5050-0206 (Danske bank)

From other countries:

Bank: Swedbank, 105 34 Stockholm

Bankkonto: 890119243778462

IBAN: SE7480000890119243778462



Financial support

The conference is supported by the French Embassy and Riksbankens Jubileumsfond.