Highlight: Functional Neurological Symptom Disorder (FNSD) SIG

The Functional Neurological Symptom Disorder (FNSD) Special Interest Group (SIG) held its first official meeting over Zoom in June 2022, following a discussion between colleagues in the year prior about the lack of available FNSD resources. The mission is to promote discussion, education, research, advocacy and networking among pediatric psychologists who provide services to pediatric patients with FNSD and their families.

The FNSD SIG Leadership Committees have laid a strong foundation in their productive first year.

  • The Outreach Committee created a website with rich content from all other committees. Access here: fnsdsigspp.wordpress.com
  • The Clinical Committee created Fact Sheets for schools and a variety of providers with psychoeducation and evidence-based recommendations. They also organized a quarterly clinical case discussion series as a forum for discussion among FNSD providers. A link was distributed to start a provider directory. Are you an FNSD provider? Input your information here: https://forms.gle/Wd4EoVEgLCUyDpb98
  • The Education Committee started a quarterly education series.
    • The first webinar was entitled “An Introduction to Understanding and Treating FNSD” by Laurie Thompson, PhD and Nicole Zahka, PhD. A recording of the webinar can be found on the SIG website listed above.
    • The second and most recent webinar highlighted “Retraining and Control Therapy for Treating FNSD” by Aaron Fobian, PhD. A recording of the webinar will be available on the SIG website soon.
  • The Research Committee compiled a list of research outcome measures, as well as gathered information on ongoing studies, both available on the website.
  • The Student Representatives created a newsletter on FNSD that is available on the website.
  • Select FNSD SIG Leadership presented at APA 2023 in a symposium entitled “Functional Neurological Symptom Disorder 101: Empowering providers and uplifting patient voices” by Aaron Fobian, Margaret Tunney, Caitlin Thompson, & Areti Vassilopoulos
  • Members of the FNSD SIG Leadership will be presenting at the European Paediatric Psychology Conference in August 2023.

Currently, the FNSD SIG has an active and engaged leadership team, including:

FNSD SIG Co-Chairs: Nicole Zahka, PhD (Cincinnati Children’s Hospital) and Laurie Thompson, PhD (Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago)

Education Co-Chairs: Caitlin Thompson, PhD (Johns Hopkins School of Medicine/Kennedy Krieger Institute) and Devin McNulty, PhD (Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago)

Outreach Co-Chairs: Kristin Kullgren, PhD (Michigan Medicine CS Mott Children’s Hospital), Mary Milder, PhD (Great Lakes Neurobehavioral Center) and Cassie Ross, PsyD (Michigan Medicine CS Mott Children’s Hospital)

Clinical Co-Chairs: Areti Vassilopoulos, PhD (Yale School of Medicine/Yale Child Study Center) and Kelly Maynes, PsyD (Connecticut Children’s Medical Center)

Research Co-Chairs: Aaron Fobian, PhD (University of Alabama-Birmingham) and Margaret Tunney, PsyD (Johns Hopkins School of Medicine/Kennedy Krieger Institute)

Student Representatives: Chelsea Dale, MA (currently a post doc at the University of Miami)

If you are interested in joining the FNSD SIG, please register via the pedspsych.org membership portal.