Support as a source of meanings: report of an intervention with a parents’ association.

Maria Francesca Freda, Alessandra Oberti


In this paper we report on the first stage of an intervention, implemented after a request came to our team from the management of an association of parents with children affected by rare genetic and genetic-metabolic syndromes, concerning the provision of psychological support for the parents in the association.
The report was used by us and it is presented here as a cognitive process useful in identifying the criteria guiding the construction of the intervention. We will therefore spend some time explaining the connections between theory and practice which, in the context established by the intervention request, oriented our professional action (Carli & Paniccia, 2005). Specifically, we will offer a reflection on the setting-up phase of the intervention, seen as a phase aimed at analysing the demand, defining the growth objectives and constructing the setting  (Carli & Paniccia, 2003). This phase used some operative actions (conducted in different times and places, and with different interlocutors) connected to each other by the aim of constructing the setting of the intervention and exploring the symbolic matrix underlying it (Carli, 1987; Carli & Paniccia, 2003; Salvatore & Scotto di Carlo, 2005; Grasso, Cordella & Pennella, 2004). The actions referred to in the report concern: 1) the initial interviews conducted with the client constituted by the management of the association; 2) some group interviews with the members belonging to the enlarged management committee, open to the public 3) some joint meetings with the management committee, the medical team and psychologists; and lastly, 4) study and research activity aimed to understand, in a broader context, the models of meaning that organize the support processes typical of the context of the association of parents with children affected by chronic pathologies and/or disabilities.
This report is the final outcome of a series of accounts, which followed and anticipated the meetings in this phase of the intervention; we adopted reporting as a reflexive methodology designed to understand and control the dynamics of the intervention (Salvatore & Scotto di Carlo, op.cit.), and therefore as a recursive trigger for sense-construction operations which served to identify trajectories of development and to outline the purpose of the process.

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Rivista di Psicologia Clinica. Teoria e metodi dell'intervento

Rivista Telematica a Carattere Scientifico Registrazione presso il Tribunale civile di Roma (n.149/2006 del 17/03/2006)

ISSN 1828-9363