Family Interaction Research Program

The Family Interaction Program (FIP) at Griffith University - Gold Coast Campus was established to provide and evaluate therapeutic interventions for families, especially severely distressed families and families who have young children with behavior problems.

One program that FIP currently provides is Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT). PCIT is a family program that is partly funded by Queensland Department of Child Safety (a child protection agency).

A second program is Circle of Security

Our overarching goals are the identification and implementation of benchmark practices in therapeutic interventions that are accessible to families; contribute to the welfare of Australian children; and develop, extend and enhance links between community agencies.


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Articles about PCIT


What is Circle of Security?

The Circle of Security Parenting DVD Program is a unique relationship-based parent education program that teaches caregivers how to foster a secure relationship with their children. Caregivers receive education and support around identifying their children’s needs and responding in ways to meet those needs. Circle of Security holds that in the shift from ‘mind-blindness’ to ‘seeing what is hidden in plain sight’ lies the potential to break the stranglehold of problematic attachment patterns. Format of Circle of Security

The Family Interaction Program is delivering the Circle of Security Parent DVD Program (COS) to caregivers of children aged 1.5 to 5 years. The program runs for 11 weeks in total made up of three assessment sessions and eight weekly one hour sessions. During weekly sessions, caregivers meet one-on-one with a psychologist and together they watch clips on and discuss a different topic each week such as recognizing your child’s needs, awareness of your own strengths and weaknesses, and repairing the relationship.


The benefits of a secure attachment across the lifespan are well documented in the research literature. Among those most commonly reported are increased empathy, greater self-esteem, better relationships with parents and peers, enhanced school readiness, and an increased capacity to handle emotions more effectively when compared with children who are not secure

Contact Information:

Elbina Avdagic or Kellie Swan at (07) 56789115
Professor Melanie Zimmer-Gembeck at (07) 56789085


Partial funding for the Family Interaction Program has been provided by:

Queensland Department of Child Safety, Future Directions Targeted Program of Prevention and Early Intervention, Rotary Health Research Fund and Griffith University - Gold Coast Campus, School of Applied Psychology.

Appreciation is expressed to the therapists, committee members and advisors to the Family Interaction Program and Parent-Toddler Therapy for their generous support and guidance in the implementation of this trial.

FIP Staff

  • Elbina Avdagic
  • Kellie Swan
  • Haley Webb
  • Sorcha Healy
  • Shawna Mastro
  • Ourania Merlo

A special thanks to the families involved in the Family Interaction Program, who have shared their lives with us briefly, taught us so much and continue to encourage each other through their experiences.

Family Interaction Program Office - (07) 56789115 Within Australia