Center for Psychosocial… Institute for… Research Prevention and…

Evaluation of a mentalization-based Stress/ Traumasymptoms /Arousal /Regulation/ Treatment (START Childcare) Program for toddlers and their parents with high risk for traumatic experiences

Svenja Taubner (PI), Christine Bark (Co-PI) Julia Holl (Leitung)


Svenja Taubner (PI), Christine Bark (Co-PI)

Project management

Julia Holl




A quarter of all people fleeing to Germany are under four years old. Experiences of flight can be associated with an increased risk of psychopathological stress, especially among children. Attending an early day care centre, beginning with the process of settling in, offers children and their families with migration and flight experiences an early chance of integration and participation. Successful familiarisation and integration in early childhood can therefore play a significant role in the further development of the child and can thus also be understood as a protective factor for mental disorders (Bark et al., 2016; Mayer et al., 2019). At the same time, it can be a great challenge for the educational staff to build up a relationship with the child and its family with escape experiences. Traumatic aspects in the child's or the whole family's being as well as cultural differences might greatly impair mutual understanding and empathy. Against this background, we have designed the program "Psychological traumatisation and cultural sensitivity" (funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)). Within the framework of a one-day training course, we try to call the attention of the educational staff to cultural differences and traumatic aspects in young children and their families with escape experience in order to convey a suitable way of dealing with them on the basis of a mentalization-based attitude. In this way, we would like to strengthen the educational staff in the early day care centres with skills and knowledge in order to deal with these sensitive topics more easily and consciously. Within the framework of a BMBF-funded, multi-centre joint project, we are testing the effectiveness of the preventive module for children aged 0-3 years and their families.


Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), funding reference number: 01EF1807B


Bark, C., Baukhage, I., & Cierpka, M. (2016). A mentalization-based primary prevention program for stress prevention during transition from family care to day care. Mental Health & Prevention, 4 (1), 49-55.

Mayer, A., Taubner, S., Bark, C. Holl, J. (2019). Herausforderungen in der frühpädagogischen Arbeit mit geflüchteten Familien mentalisierungsbasiert begegnen. Praxis der Kinderpsychologie und Kinderpsychiatrie, 68 (8), 711-727