Mentalizing the Body: Parental Embodied Mentalizing in Research and Clinical Practice

3rd July 2017 6th July 2017


Anna Freud National Centre for Children & Families Map
4 days
09:30 - 15:30




Training Fee with reliability


Training fee

Places available

About this course

We are pleased to announce that Professor Peter Fonagy will be delivering the 'Introduction to PEM in Context' between 09:30 - 11:00 on Monday, 17th October 2016. Dana Shai will lead the rest of the training. 

In the first year of life the baby communicates his or her mental states through bodily movements, and the caregiver manifests her understanding of the infant’s mental state via bodily gestures and the accent accompanying every movement. Based on a rich body of developmental research, it is evident that mentalizing must be embodied during the pre-language period. The quality of this nonverbal interaction between the parent and the infant has been shown to be possible to code reliably in terms of the parent's quality of mentalizing of the infant’s experience. Furthermore, these codes turn out to predict the infant’s security of attachment, behavior problems, and cognitive functioning in infancy and childhood.

This four-day course aims to provide an understanding of parents’ embodied mentalizing as this unfolds in the interaction with the infant and to become a reliable coder of PEM. The course will give a brief introduction to parental mentalizing and will include a movement activity to experience and better understand the theoretical concepts being learnt. Delegates will be shown how the PEM coding system works and will use the manual to code videotaped parent-infant interactions. The course will include homework which must be completed overnight and which will form the basis of discussion the next day.

Course fees do not cover the cost of the reliability test, which involves coding ten parent-infant interactions on completion of the training course.

Who is this course suitable for?

Researchers and professionals working in the area of infant mental health and clinical research.

Aims of course

Delegates will learn

  • To examine and assess nonverbal interactions between babies and their parent and assign a PEM score that reflects the parent’s mentalizing capacity.
  • To define the type of the embodied interaction and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of these interactions—which are useful in both the empirical and the clinical work.