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A contribution to the spread of attachment theory
in child psychology and neuro-psychiatric clinic

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Coffy Test

Bowlby's "attachment theory" and concepts developed by other authors can be useful for a better understanding of the parent/child relationship and, in particular, of mechanisms that affect psychic development and that are involved in the genesis of mental disorders.

The Coffy Test Project:
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In the evaluation of child psychopathology, following the concept of the DSM, there is a widespread tendency to "theory-free" assessment, based on scales and questionnaires, which measure the disorder, but do not help to understand it.
For this reason, old projective techniques (C.A.T., Blacky Pictures, Patte Noire, etc.) are still used in psychology and child psychiatry for the purpose of acquiring knowledge of the general mental framework of the child, however these methods are not based on statistical and scientific validation.
Moreover, these projective techniques (which date back to the 50s-60s) are based on the classical Freudian theory (on a conception of the child as a subject aimed to satisfy pulsions or reduce tensions) and do not adapt themselves to modern conceptions (a subject tending to relate to adults), made by psychoanalytic theories of object relations and attachment theory.
Hence the idea to build a new projective test to study mental representations that the child has about his relationships with parents, maintaining the characteristics of simplicity and rapidity of use, which are necessary in clinical practice.
Coffy Test investigates the mental representations of the child related to sensitive closeness of parents, separation anxiety, explorative autonomy, educational prohibitions, relationships with peers.
Coffy Test can show a good cognitive monitoring of emotions, indicative of good mental functioning, or, on the contrary, pathological emotional reactions, which indicate worrying aspects of the relationship parent/child to verify and investigate further.
Coffy Test is appreciated by children and takes approximately 20 minutes to administer.
In addition to the clinically interpretable projective material, Coffy Test provides (with online coding) a score to compare with those of reference sample, which consists of 300 subjects aged 6 to 13 years, and with those of two clinical groups, consisting of 200 subjects with internalizing disorders and 150 subjects with externalizing disorders.

Coffy Test is available (in Italian or English) for psychologists and child psychiatrists
interested in collaborating to its clinical trials.