Thesis Topics (MA & PhD)
Clinical activities & Services

Developmental Psychopathology and Family Functioning in


(Facilitating Adjustment of Cognitions and Emotions)



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The FACE©-model draws on neuroscientific insights that the reciprocal adjustments between cognitive and emotional processes are at the core of behavioural and relational responses to single or recurrent sources of stress, anxiety and trauma. These insights are integrated in a bio-psycho-social developmental psychopathology model.


In multi-site research (in collaboration with the Netherlands and France), we investigate selective aspects of cognitive control and emotional regulation throughout the life span. We examine how these determine children, adolescents and families' adjustments to specific sources of stress, in the topics outlined below.

Clinical Programme & Postgraduate Training

The FACE©-programme translates these research insights into practice by implementing systematized prevention/intervention protocols for children, adolescents and families (see topics). Furthermore, these insights are applied in pre- and postgraduate training and continuing education for mental health professionals. Finally, this involves conceptualisation and operationalization of child self-expression and family assessment tools.

Topics (including PhD & Masters research)

Cognitive control and emotion regulation processes in children and families

Current PhD Project: 'Emotion expression and recognition in school-aged children's Human Figure Drawings', Stefaan Baert.

ADHD and Bipolar Disorders through the life span

Cognitive control and emotion recognition in ADHD-children.

Emotion regulation in ADHD-children.

Emotion recognition and regulation in bipolar adults and elderly.

Substance misuse in ADHD and Bipolar youth and adults.

Trauma (Posttraumatic Stress) in adolescents

Completed PhD Project: 'Post Traumatic Stress Symptoms, Mental Health Outcomes, and Coping in Israeli Adolescents facing ongoing Terror Attacks', Orna Braun-Lewensohn, 2007.

Current PhD Project: 'The Effects of Traumatic Events and Coping on (Post) Traumatic Stress, Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties among Palestinian Adolescents living in the Gaza Strip', Ibrahim AbuNada

Cultural Diversity: risk and resiliency processes in children and families.

How to FACE sibling and family conflict.

Validity and reliability of the Animal Family Drawing test (AFD) and the Family Relations Test (FRT '99)

Follow-up of children born through assisted reproductive techniques (specifically ICSI).

Completed PhD Project: 'The influence of ICSI on children's cognitive, psychomotor, socio-emotional development and family functioning' ', Lize Leunens, 2007.


Selected recent publications (journal & book chapters)

Celestin-Westreich S, Celestin LP, Van Gils Y, Ponjaert-Kristoffersen I (in press). How to FACE© sibling violence: pathways from feud to friend. In: A. Dillen (ed.). Violence in family relations. University of Leuven.

Celestin LP, Celestin-Westreich S (in press). FACE© aux Troubles Bipolaires chez les séniors: vers une approche multimodale; In F. Ferrero et al. (réd.), Traitements psychosociaux des troubles bipolaires. Paris:Dunod/Elsevier.

Celestin-Westreich S, Celestin LP (2008). Ajustements familiaux cognitivo-émotionnels face au Trouble Déficit d'Attention et Hyperactivité. Annales Médico-Psychologiques 166: 5. 343-349.

Celestin L.P., Celestin-Westreich S. (2008). Faciliter les Ajustements Cognitifs et Émotionnels (FACE©) pour mieux prévenir l'échec scolaire. In: Martinez JP., Boutin G., Bessette L., & Montoya Y. (Réd.) La prévention de l'échec scolaire: une notion à redéfinir. Revue Recherches Enseignement, Education et Formation en Espaces Francophones, 7, pp. 83-97.

Celestin-Westreich S., Celestin L.P. (2008). Faire FACE© à la diversité socioculturelle dans la prévention de l'échec scolaire. In: Martinez JP., Boutin G., Bessette L., & Montoya Y. (Réd.) La prévention de l'échec scolaire: une notion à redéfinir. Revue Recherches Enseignement, Education et Formation en Espaces Francophones, 7, pp. 31-49.

Braun-Lewensohn, O., Celestin-Westreich, S., Celestin, L.P., Verte, D., Ponjaert-Kristoffersen, I. Adolescents' Mental Health Outcomes According to Different Types of Exposure to Ongoing Terror Attacks. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, Available Online July 2 2008.

Braun-Lewensohn O, Celestin-Westreich S, Celestin LP, Verleye G, Verté D, Ponjaert-Kristoffersen I. Coping Styles as Moderating the Relationships between Terrorist Attacks and Well-Being Outcomes. Journal of Adolescence 2008 Sep 3. [Epub ahead of print]

Leunens L, Celestin-Westreich S, Bonduelle M, Liebaers I, Ponjaert-Kristoffersen I (2008). Follow-up of cognitive and motor development of 10-year-old singleton children born after ICSI compared with spontaneously conceived children. Hum Reprod 23:1. 105-111.

Belva F, Henriet S, Liebaers I, Van Steirteghem A, Celestin-Westreich S, Bonduelle M (2007). Medical outcome of 8-year-old singleton ICSI children (born >or=32 weeks' gestation) and a spontaneously conceived comparison group. Hum Reprod 22: 2. 506-515.

FACE© program Home

book publications

Contact information

Prof. dr. S. Celestin-Westreich, Ph.D.

Dept. Developmental & Life Span Psychology,
Faculty of Psychology & Pedagogy - Building C
Vrije Universiteit Brussels (VUB)

1050 Brussels
Belgium (Europe)

Phone : 02 629 24 81
(International callers dial : 32 2 629 24 81)

Fax: 02 629 25 32
(International callers dial : 32 2 629 25 32)

Room C242 (Building C)






Questions or Comments?   Smadar.Westreich@vub.ac.be

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