Meaghan Elizabeth Pilling is a 2015 graduate of the PsyD Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University, New England

Dissertation Committee

  • Martha B. Straus, PhD, Committee Chair
  • Gina Pasquale, PsyD, Committee Member
  • William Slammon, PhD, Committee Member


group psychotherapy, group therapy, foster care, co-therapists, mentoring, relational cultural theory, young adults, women, females

Document Type


Publication Date



The following dissertation outlines a group intervention designed to improve the relational and mental health of female emerging adults who have aged out of foster care. It is argued through review of the literature that emerging adulthood is a unique developmental phase in which relational connections are vital to successful transition to adulthood. Female emerging adults who have aged out of foster care frequently lack these social supports; their isolation renders them particularly vulnerable to psychological and interpersonal problems. Therefore, a mentoring component might be valuable to this population and is included in the current intervention. Included in the following is a treatment manual for the proposed intervention, which is adapted to meet the unique needs of young women aging out of foster care. Extensive recruitment efforts did not yield participants for the group, so the following describes the intervention and manual as planned, but not implemented. The treatment manual that is adapted for these young women is offered as the results of the dissertation. A discussion of the limitations and implications for future research is offered. Lastly, the dissertation concludes with a chapter exploring the complexities inherent in serving marginalized populations, as well as recommendations addressing these unique challenges.