Simona Di Folco

Postdoctoral Fellow in Clinical Psychology


I am a Postdoctoral Fellow at the School of Health in Social Science, at the University of Edinburgh, in the area of Clinical Psychology. I have a specific interest in child and adolescent developmental psychopathology, attachment theory, and its related applications in research and in clinical practice.

I received a BSc in Science and Psychological Techniques for Clinical Assessment and Counseling at Sapienza, the University of Rome in 2007, magna cum laude. Within the internship at the Child Neuropsychiatric Unit, I developed a deep interest in the methodology and assessment of parent-child attachment relationship. This motivated me to attend several workshops at the Anna Freud Center and in other training institutes to be trained on the measures for the assessment of attachment in the lifespan.

I then applied for the MSc program in Clinical and Dynamic Psychology for Children, Adolescents, and Families and two years later, in 2009 I graduated magna cum laude. During those two years, I learned the foundation of developmental psychopathology and gained skills for the clinical assessment of families and children. I also had the opportunity to join an ongoing research project investigating the contribution of attachment to parents in the development of the understanding of well-being and illness in school-aged children. My dissertation project was based on that study and was then awarded as the best contribution within the dissertations section in the memory of the Italian psychiatrist Sante de Sanctis.

After the registration exam as a chartered psychologist, I applied for the Ph.D. in Dynamic, Clinical, and Developmental Psychology at Sapienza University in Rome.

Before the VIVA, I joined Lund University, first as a visiting scholar and then as a Research Assistant.

I obtained my Ph.D. excellent with honors in 2014, working on a research project about children's attachment to parents and the development of emotional competence and self-perception in middle childhood.

During the time between my BSc and the Ph.D. programme, I was trained in the administration and coding of widely known measures to assess parent-child attachment relationships in the lifespan: the Strange Situation Procedure, The Manchester Child Attachment Story Task, the Story Stem Assessment Profile, the Child Attachment Interview, the Adult Attachment Interview, and the Reaction to Diagnosis Interview.

After the Ph.D. I joined the University of Cagliari as a Postdoctoral Fellow. There I worked on a  longitudinal project aimed at preventing and targeting parental post-partum depression in expectant parents and promoting the infant's socio-emotional development over the first two years of life.

During my research experience, I have been working with children in clinical and non-clinical samples (late adopted children and children suffering from idiopathic epilepsy) and with children in different age groups (from early infancy to middle childhood and adolescence), with parents in transition to parenthood (both biological and adoptive parenthood) and those coping with the elaboration of the diagnosis of having a child affected by a medical problem, such as epilepsy.

Besides the academic activity, I am currently training as a Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist, having a particular interest in working with children and young people who experienced trauma and/or who are placed in an alternative care setting.


Ph.D. Dynamic, Clinical and Developmental Psychology, Excellent with honors

Department of Dynamic and Clinical Psychology, Faculty of Medicine and Psychology, Sapienza, University of Rome Rome (Italy), 2014/06/26

Recipient of a Full Funded Scholarship (1st November 2010-31st  October 2013) in Dynamic Clinical and Developmental Psychology, Department of Dynamic and Clinical Psychology, Faculty of Medicine and Psychology, “Sapienza”, University of Rome

MASTER OF SCIENCE DEGREE in Dynamic and Clinical Psychology for Infancy, Adolescence, and Family, magna cum laude

Faculty of Psychology, Sapienza, University of Rome, Rome (Italy), 2009/07/02

BACHELOR OF SCIENCE DEGREE in Science and Psychological Techniques for clinical assessment and counseling,  magna cum laude

Faculty of Psychology 1, Sapienza, University of Rome Rome (Italy), 2007/02/28

VISITING Ph.D. Developmental Psychology, Lund University, Department of Psychology Lund, Sweden, 5th  September 2013-31st December 2013

Supervisor: Professor Elia Psouni, Associate Professor of Developmental Psychology and Psychobiology.



  • Administration and coding training for the Reaction to Diagnosis Interview (RDI), held by Prof. Robert Marvin, Pre-conference del 6th International Attachment Conference IAC, Pavia, 27th -29th August 2013.
  • Administration and coding training for the Conflict in the Interparental System Coding Scale (Cummings et al., 2006), held by Kathleen Patricia McCoy, Ph.D. at the University of Rome “Sapienza”.
  • Administration and coding training for the Secure Base Script Test (Psouni, Apetroaia, 2009), held at the University of Lund, Sweden, by Professor Elia Psouni, 20th -21st March 2012.
  • Administration and coding training for the Strange Situation, held by Professor Judith Solomon at theAnna Freud Centre, London (UK),12th -21st  July 2010.
  • Administration and coding training for the Attachment Interview (Main, Goldwyn, 1985), held by Professor Nino Dazzi and Professor Deborah Jacobvitz at the L. U. M. S. A. University, Rome,9th -20th June 2009.
  • Administration and coding training for the Manchester Child Attachment Story Task MCAST (Green et al., 2000), held by Professor Jonathan Green at the University of Manchester, UK, 14th -16th April 2009.
  • Administration and coding training for the Story Stem Assessment Profile (SSAP) (Hodges, Hillman, Steele, 2007), held by Jill Hodges at the Anna Freud Centre, London, UK, October 2007- March 2008.
  • Administration and coding training for the Child Attachment Interview (CAI) (Shmueli-Goetz, Target, Fonagy, Datta, 2004), held by Yael-Shmueli Goetz at the Anna Freud Centre, London, UK,28th November- 1st  December 2005.


  • Associate Member of the AIP (Italian Association of Psychology) since 2011, Division of Dynamic and Clinical Psychology.
  • Professional Membership as Chartered Psychologist, Ordine degli Psicologi del Lazio (Italy) since the 1st of March 2010 to present (Registration Number 17537).


Responsibilities & affiliations

Since May 16th, 2018 Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy UK for supporting teaching and learning.

Postgraduate teaching

Tutor- Trauma and Resilience in a Developmental Context, 2016-2017, 2017-2018, and 2018-2019

Tutor- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Children and Young People - Supervised Practice, 2016-2017, 2017-2018, and 2018-2019

Current project grants

2016- What does ‘terrorism’ mean to young people? A qualitative art project. University of Edinburgh, Innovation Initiative Grant, Autumn 2016. PI: Simona Di Folco, Co-PI: Karen Cooper. Fundings awarded: £3.404,80.

Past project grants

• Travel GRANT, Italian Association of Psychology (AIP) to attend the WAIMH (Edinburgh 2014). Euros 2.000,00.
• Three years funded PhD fellowship (1st November 2010-31st October 2013) in Dynamic Clinical and Developmental Psychology, Department of Dynamic and Clinical Psychology, Faculty of Medicine and Psychology, “Sapienza”, University of Rome.

View all 31 publications on Research Explorer

  • "Continuità vs. discontinuità dell'attaccamento nella transizione alla seconda infanzia: uno studio longitudinale" (Continuity vs. discontinuity of attachment in transition to middle childhood: a longitudinal study) first ex aequo prize funded by the Trust Saulo Sirigatti for studies and research in psychology for the best contribution presented at the XVI National Congress of the Italian Association of Psychology (AIP), Division of Dynamic and Clinical Psychology, Pisa, Italy,  September 19th-21st, 2014. Euros 500,00.
  • Winner of the VII edition of the scientific award in Psychology and Psychiatry “Sante de Sanctis”2010, for the Division “dissertations”, “Opera Sante de Sanctis Onlus”, 2nd October 2010, Parrano (Tr), Italy. Euros 1,000.

2016-Volunteer Research Assistant, HarmonyChoir Project, University of Edinburgh, PI: Liesbeth Tip. 

Choir and Stigma- Investigating how singing in a choir could reduce mental health stigma. Project funded by the Innovation Initiative Grant, Autumn 2015.