Members Family Lab

 

    Prof. dr. Lesley Verhofstadt Dagmar Stockman Lut Daniëls
    Prof. dr. Ann Buysse Liesbet Berlamont Katty Kochman
    Prof. dr. Alexis Dewaele Song Chao
    Mieke Van Daele
    Prof dr. Luc Van den Berge Pauline Verhelst Vincent Ronse
    dr. Laura Sels Leila Van Imschoot Lies Pauwels
    dr. Lara Stas Nikki Taelemans Melissa Schaessens
    Sophie Van Hoyweghen dr. Sabine Hellemans
    Davide Pirrone dr. Joke Vandamme
    Lilly Scharmer
    Paul Castelijns

    Academic Staff

      Prof. dr. Lesley VerhofstadtProf. dr. Lesley Verhofstadt

      Description

      Lesley Verhofstadt is head of the Family Lab and developed research programs on:

      1. Behavioral, emotional, and cognitive dyadic processes underlying couple(dys)functioning, including:

      • emotion regulation
      • empathic accuracy
      • psychological needs frustration
      • support provision
      • conflict management

      2. Couples and families under stress. Research is currently conducted within couples/ families confronted with:

      • pediatric cancer
      • advanced cancer
      • sexual violence
      • perinatal depression
      • professional burn-out
      • parental burn-out
      • COVID-19


      Strongly committed to foster evidence-based couple and family therapy, Lesley Verhofstadt takes editorial roles in scientific as well as professional journals, serves as board member of research as well as professional organizations and committees, both at a national and international level. She is involved in multiple multi-nation and cross-cultural studies within her research field. She teaches Bachelor & Master courses on Couple & Family Psychology, Couple & Family Therapy, Clinical Psychology, and Counseling Skills at Ghent University. She is a certified Couple & Family Therapist, and staff member/trainer within the Postgraduate Training Program in Couple, Family, and Systemic Psychotherapy at Ghent University. She furthermore is an active trainer in several psychotherapy training programs in Belgium and abroad.

       

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      Prof. dr. Ann BuysseProf. dr. Ann Buysse

      Description

      Ann Buysse was the former head of the Family Lab and is currently dean of the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences at Ghent University. Her research focuses on mechanisms underlying the process of influence in families in topics such as adoption, blended families, families with children with disabilities, donor families, divorce, mediation, family therapy, sexual health, communication, family support, family solidarity, attachment, blue psychology, etc. Projects are carried out in close collaboration with various stakeholders, with a focus on generating real world impact and societal innovations. Her teaching assignment has long included family studies, systems therapy, and mediation, and more recently primary care. She held various positions at both the faculty and scientific, policy or social organizations.

       

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        Prof. dr. Alexis DewaeleAlexis Dewaele

        Description

        Alexis Dewaele’s research interests are focused on the study of sexual minorities (in casu lesbian women, gay men, and bisexual men and women), research methods, and evidence-based policy and practice. Currently he is coordinating PSYNC, an interdisciplinary research consortium that focuses on improving mental health in all citizens. Within  PSYNC, he specifically focuses on working with different groups of stakeholders (policy actors, researchers, practitioners, etc.) and on valorization (all things related to the translation of research results into products, research impact, and science communication).


        Recent studies:

        • The romantic relationships of hetero, homo- and bisexual men and women
        • Improving mental health (care)
        • Citizen science, citizen involvement, and societal impact of research
        • Minority stress and (mental) health
        • Online and offline survey methods
        • The relationship between visibility management as a coping strategy and the experience of stress
        • Characteristics of the sexual debut in gay and bisexual adolescents and young adults

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        Prof. dr. Luc Van den Berge

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        Luc Van den Berge is as guest professor at Ghent University involved in courses on clinical psychology and couple and family psychology/therapy. He has a PhD in educational sciences and is a systemic and narrative psychotherapist. He is an accredited trainer and supervisor within the BVRGS and works in a child- and adolescent mental health service in Ghent (CGG Adentro). He is also an associated trainer at the Interactie-Academie (Antwerp) and works in a private group practice De Luwte, as a supervisor. He is also working as a voluntary research assistant at KULeuven. He is interested in (the history of) concepts that constitute and inform the broad research and clinical field of interpersonal models in psychology. He published on parenting support and different aspects of systemic therapy.

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          Post-Doctoral Researchers

             dr. Laura Sels

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            Laura Sels is an FWO postdoctoral fellow at the Family Lab. The key goal of her work is to better understand and ultimately improve dynamic emotional processes in close relationships. Some of the research she has done, that she is currently doing or will be doing, focuses on:

            • Emotional linkages between romantic partners: do partners become emotionally attuned to each other, do they catch each other’s emotions, do they become more similar,.. and what can this tell us about relationship quality.
            • How perceptions and emotions interact with each other: are partners’ perceptions of the occurring emotional processes more important than the emotional processes actually taking place, how do certain aspects of their emotions impact their partner perceptions?
            • How certain emotional processes (emotional disclosure, empathic accuracy or actual empathic understanding, and felt understanding) interact with each other in maintaining high-quality relationships.

             

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            dr. Lara Staslarastas

            Description

            Lara Stas works as a postdoctoral researcher and data manager of an SBO project about intrafamilial solidarity in postmodern families. This project is an interdisciplinary collaboration between Ghent University, the University of Antwerp, KU Leuven and Arteveldehogeschool Ghent. Its goal is to lay ground for a new legal and social framework for different kinds of postmodern families (single parent families, patchwork families, etc.). Her main research interest is in dyadic data analysis.
            Lara Stas is also employed at the VUB, where she works as a statistical consultant for the faculties related to the human and social sciences.

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              PhD students

                Dagmar Stockman

                  Description

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                  Dagmar Stockman works as a PhD student on the impact of adult sexual violence. Specifically, she investigates how experiencing sexual violence as an adult affects not only the individual, but also the romantic partner and the couple’s intimate relationship.
                  Alongside teaching and conducting research, Dagmar is involved in many sexual violence prevention efforts and she works as a clinical psychologist in a private practice.
                  Dagmar works under the supervision of prof. dr. Lesley Verhofstadt & prof. dr. Kasia Uzieblo (VUB)

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                  Liesbet Berlamont

                  DescriptionLiesbet

                  Liesbet Berlamont works as a PhD student on an FWO project aimed at unraveling empathic accuracy in couples (=how accurately partners can estimate each other’s thoughts and feelings during interactions). More specifically, she aims to investigate:

                  • the influence of motivation (for the well-being of the self, the partner or the relationship) on empathic accuracy
                  • the link between emotions and empathic accuracy
                  • the similarity of partners’ empathic accuracy
                  • the link between emotional awareness and empathic accuracy

                  She uses a combination of questionnaires, dyadic interaction tasks, and video-mediated recall.
                  Liesbet works under the supervision of prof. dr. Lesley Verhofstadt & prof. dr. Eva Ceulemans (KULeuven)

                   

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                  Song ChaoChao Song

                  Description

                  Chao Song is working on a CSC grant, under the supervision of prof. dr. Alexis Dewaele, prof. dr. Ann Buysse, & prof. dr. Weihong Zhang. His research focuses on the effects of minority stress on romantic relationships and mental health among LGBs, particularly from a cross-cultural perspective.

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                  Pauline Verhelst

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                  Pauline Verhelst is a BOF funded PhD student working on interpersonal emotion regulation strategies (IERS) within couples facing perinatal depression. More specifically, she examines:

                  • which types of IERS couples facing perinatal depression use
                  • which types of IERS are adaptive within couples facing perinatal depression
                  • how IERS relate to other psychological risk factors for perinatal depression

                  Pauline works under the supervision of prof. dr. Lesley Verhofstadt, dr. Laura Sels, & prof. dr. Gilbert Lemmens.

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                  Leila Van Imschoot

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                  Leila van Imschoot is a PhD student on the Family Solidarity 2.0 project, which investigates intergenerational solidarity in postmodern families from an interdisciplinary perspective. The project aims to provide a new legal and social framework that is inclusive to all types of postmodern families. More specifically, the goal of her research is to facilitate a more nuanced understanding of family solidarity by tackling psychological research questions, e.g. ‘How is solidarity reflected in the day-to-day contexts of families?’, as well as statistical problems like ‘How can we extend dyadic analysis methods to facilitate research with young children, and provide accessible tools to applied researchers?’.

                  Leila works under the supervision of prof. dr. Ann Buysse & dr. Lara Stas (VUB-UGent).

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                  Nikki Taelemans

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                  Nikki Taelemans is a PhD student working on empathic accuracy, referring to how accurate people can estimate others’ thoughts and feelings while interacting. She is especially interested in the trainability of empathic accuracy. Nikki works under the supervision of prof. dr. Lesley Verhofstadt and dr. Laura Sels

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                  Sophie Van Hoyweghen

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                  Sophie Van Hoyweghen’s PhD research is FWO funded and focuses on the psychosocial dynamics of genetic testing for cancer predisposition syndromes (CPSs) in children. Her work is embedded in the multidisciplinary “DHECIPR” project . She examines:

                  • the decision making process regarding genetic testing
                  • the psychosocial consequences of CPSs among children and their family members
                  • the need for professional psychosocial support in the genetic testing process
                  • the knowledge about genetics among families with a CPS and how this affects the advice given, uptake of and experience with regular surveillance for CPS


                  Sophie works under the supervision of prof. dr. Lesley Verhofstadt, prof. dr. Kathleen Claes, dr. Sabine Hellemans, & dr. Robin De Putter.


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                  Davide Pirrone

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                  Davide Pirrone is a PhD student working on an IBOF funded project   under the supervision of prof. dr. Lesley Verhofstadt & prof. dr. Batja Gomes De Mesquita (KULeuven). His work focuses on understanding emotion dynamics in intimate relationships from a relationship goals perspective.

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                  Lilly Scharmer

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                  Lilly Scharmer is a PhD student working on an IBOF funded project . She is especially interested in the predictive validity of emotion dynamics for individual and relational well-being across cultures. Lilly’s work is supervised by prof. dr. Lesley Verhofstadt, prof. dr. Eva Ceulemans (KULeuven), and prof. dr. Batja Gomes De Mesquita (KULeuven).

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                  Paul Castelijns

                  Description

                  Paul is a PhD candidate working on a VLAIO funded project on burn-out, supervised by prof. dr. Lesley Verhofstadt & prof. dr. Peter Kuppens (KULeuven).
                  The key goal of his PhD research is to develop and validate the IPPS assessment tool and intervention protocol for burn-out treatment which is characterized by a focus on interpersonal processes and value (in)congruency in particular. The following questions are examined:

                  • What information does the IPPS data convey about burn-out and related interpersonal processes?
                  • What is the therapeutic effectiveness of the IPPS intervention protocol?
                  • What are the therapeutic mechanisms involved in the IPPS intervention protocol?

                  Paul furthermore works as a staff member and systemic therapist/supervisor at the Interactie-Academie (Antwerp).

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                    Teaching Assistants

                      dr. Katty Kochman

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                      Katty Kochman is a teaching assistant for courses on qualitative data analysis. She is interested in data analysis and instructional design. She has worked on several interdisciplinary research projects involving topics of motivation, gamification, and process analysis. She also has an active interest in socio-cultural programs and their optimization. Before her Phd, she worked as a supervisor within the LAUSD for children with behavioral intervention needs.



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                        Lut Daniëls

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                        Lut Daniëls is a clinical psychologist, jurist and trained mediator. Besides her job as a practicals teacher in the Family Lab, Lut is currently the managing director of the abortion clinic in Ghent. She worked in different settings, including profit sector (HR), non-profit sector (as psychologist), lawyer, mediator, researcher at UGent and Hogeschool Ghent and lecturer at Hogeschool Ghent.

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                        Mieke Van Daele

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                        Mieke Van Daele is a systemic psychotherapist and supervisor. She took a start in a child psychiatry institute in Amsterdam (Paedologisch Instituut) as clinical diagnostician and practitioner and worked with multi-problem families in Special Youth Care in Flanders. She worked as a staff member, trainer, psychotherapist, and supervisor in the "Interactie Academie" (Antwerp). Mieke specialized in working with children/families facing multiple psychosocial difficulties. As a supervisor she works with individuals, training groups and teams in Belgium as well as the Netherlands. She wrote articles on topics like child abuse, aspects of methodical parent guidance, setting issues, playfullness in child therapy. As a member of the Family Lab’s teaching staff, she is involved in practicals on assessment as well as intervention in the field of couple and family therapy.

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                        Vincent Ronse

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                        Vincent works as practicals teacher within clinical courses provided by the Family Lab, including assessment and intervention courses in the field of couple, family, and systemic therapy. Vincent also works as a systemic psychotherapist in training (Interactie Academie, Antwerp) at Tondel, a group practice for psychotherapy (Ghent). He works with individuals, couples, parents, and families that are confronted with a range of complex circumstances or experiencing multiple psychosocial problems.

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                        Lies Pauwels

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                        Lies Pauwels began her career as a lecturer in Orthopedagogics at Hogeschool Ghent and is currently a solution-focused systemic trainer and psychotherapist. As a solution-focused systemic therapist, Lies works with couples, families and individuals. Although her approach is strongly solution focused, she is also inspired by the non-violent resistance/new authority approach to support parents. She is a freelance trainer for Sensoa (Expertise centre for sexual health), VCOK (Training centre for parenting) and Awel (Free helpline for youngsters). As a member of the Family Lab’s teaching staff she is involved in assessment as well as intervention courses in the domain of couple and family therapy.

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                        Melissa Schaessens

                        Description

                        Melissa Schaessens is a clinical psychologist and a systemic psychotherapist. She works as a therapist in Therapeutisch Zorgpunt N (Roeselare) with individuals, couples and families. Common themes – in the therapeutic processes she’s been guiding – are helping families and couples through divorce, dealing with affairs, new stages in the family life cycle, building new relationships with stepfamilies, etc. As a member of the Family Lab’s teaching staff, she is involved in practicals on assessment as well as intervention in the field of couple and family therapy.

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                        dr. Sabine Hellemans

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                        Sabine Hellemans is a clinical psychologist and a systemic psychotherapist. Currently, she works at the Center of Medical Genetics at UZ Gent in helping patients with a hereditary disease. As hereditary diseases often affect entire families, she focuses on family communication and their ability to cope with the psychosocial impact of a diagnosis. Furthermore, she is a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Biomolecular Medicine (Faculty of Medicine). Her current research examines the psychosocial impact of hereditary cancer syndromes in children. She obtained her PhD within the Family Lab, investigating intimate partner violence and its relational dynamics. She was also a team member of interdisciplinary research projects on sexual health in Flanders (i.e., Sexpert) and on (school) mediation (i.e., Fittif). As a member of the lab's teaching staff, she is involved in the course on Interpersonal Models in Psychology.

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                        dr. Joke Vandamme

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                        Joke Vandamme is a systemic psychotherapist working mostly with couples in a private practice in Kortrijk. She is also working for the Flemish organization ‘Kind en Gezin-Opgroeien’. She is mostly interested in themes as parenting, attachment, and (loss of) relationships in general. She completed a doctoral thesis (in Health Sciences) on induced abortion, from a systemic and contextual perspective. As a member of the lab’s teaching staff, she is involved in practicals on assessment as well as intervention in the field of couple and family therapy.

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