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Round table “Psychologists and 21 Century”

Round table “Psychologists and 21 Century” was held within the framework of the 10th Psychology Week at the Child and Youth Protection Centre of the City of Zagreb, in Zagreb on 21 February 2017. The moderator of the Round table was Sc.D. Bruna Profaca of the Child and Youth Protection Centre of the City of Zagreb. Participants were Sena Puhovski, and Ivana Ćosić Pregrad, psychologists of the Centre, Prof. Sc.D. Gordana Keresteš of the Department of Psychology at the Faculty of Philosophy in Zagreb, Branka Starc, psychologist of the Centre for Parenting Support “Let’s Grow Together” and Anamarija Vuić, psychologist of the Brave Phone NGO.

The aim of this Round table was to explore from various aspects how psychologists see parenting and parents’ needs at the beginning of 21 Century – from the aspect of reflection and research on one hand and, on the other hand, from the aspect of supporting parents.

In the introduction to discussion, Sc.D. Bruna Profaca emphasised that the theme of parenting was at the core of professional interest of all participants at the Round table, since it was inseparable from working with children. Although work with parents is usually multidisciplinary, the contribution of psychological theory and practice is significant. She also presented the changes in understanding the relationship parent-child during the past several decades.

Sena Puhovski presented from the perspective of a clinical psychologist, talking about the problems and concerns parents encounter and the circumstances of the 21 Century presenting as additional pressure on parents. She drew attention to the importance of professional knowledge and findings about parenting and relationships between parents and children, as opposed to abundant content available primarily via the Internet.

Prof. Sc.D. Gordana Keresteš presented contemporary scientific themes dealing with parenting and the direction in which science is developing in this area: the focus is on relationships instead of parental routines and she pointed to key areas related to parenting (the characteristics of parents, context and children) as well as to the importance of scientific evaluation of programs for parents.

Ivana Ćosić Pregrad, clinical psychologist presented the important principles in working with parents within the treatment and counselling with the child, especially with children after stressful and traumatic experience, emphasising that every treatment of a child includes appropriate support and counselling of parents. She indicated that the welfare and recovery of children, i.e. successful resolution of children’s developmental crises mostly depends on and is related to parents’ support, their reactions and coping with stressful situations.

Branka Starc presented the Programme “Let’s Grow Together” and “Let’s Grow Together Plus”, as an example of providing support to parents in group work. She described the aims and content of workshops with parents, as well as some aspects of the validation of these programmes developed under the wing of the UNICEF, which later came to life in kindergartens, family centres and rehabilitation centres.

Anamarija Vuić, a coordinator of the Brave Phone presented the help-line for parents. This help-line was born out of parents’ need for support. Parents can get help via electronic mail, forums, free help-line. They most often seek help related to parenting routines, difficulties in divorce, peer bullying and problems at school. During the past year, 915 parents asked for help via the Brave phone line for mums and dads.

After all presentations, it was emphasised in the discussion that modern psychology significantly responds to new parenting needs.

Parenting is the part of changing family processes both during the development of parents and children and in the social context. Psychology as a profession and science is also changing. Parents need the support psychologist can provide, which was shown at this Round table both in presentations and in discussion.