Parenting Groups

  • Overview

    How can I get my child to behave better?

    Why is my child upset?

    How can I improve my relationship with my child?

    The Centre is introducing two groups to assist parents with managing their child’s difficult or concerning behaviour, to provide strategies for helping their child understand and manage their emotions, and to improve the quality of the parent-child relationship:

    • Circle of Security group
    • Reflective Parenting group

    Please click on the tabs to the left for more information.

  • Circle of Security

    Circle of Security is an eight-week parenting programme based on 50 years of attachment theory and research. The programme focuses on how parent-child relationships can be supported and strengthened, making attachment theory accessible and applicable to parents of children of all age groups.


    Circle of Security is an early intervention, suitable for those with children beginning to show problematic behaviours at home and/or at school.


    Please watch this video to find out more.


    The Circle of Security groups will be run by Dr Shadi Shahnavaz, Family Therapist and accredited Circle of Security Facilitator, at the Centre every Wednesday from 10am – 12 noon over an eight-week period (start date TBC).

  • Reflective Parenting


    The Reflective Parenting Programme (RPP) offers a highly collaborative approach for parents in order to promote family relationships, sensitive parenting and reduce the number of conflicts, bringing about behavioural changes and greater harmony.

    The core thread of the programme is to promote mentalizing in parents (i.e. the ability of a parent to understand the thoughts, feelings and needs of both themselves and their children).

    There is extensive evidence about the importance of understanding the intentions behind your child’s behaviour, and also getting a greater sense of your own mind (mentalizing) in human relationships and its relationship to attachment (for review, see: Fonagy & Bateman, 2016; Fonagy & Luyten, 2009; Fonagy, Luyten, & Strathearn, 2011). Research also suggests that understanding the thoughts, feelings and intentions behind your child’s behaviour and  your own reaction, (mentalizing) can act as a buffer against difficult behaviour.

    Group-based work with parents

    Reflective Parenting group work is an 8-week manualised group. The topics and themes that the groups cover are:

    1. What is Reflective Parenting? Why is it helpful?

    Research background, outcomes related to Reflective Parenting and making the approach meaningful to your parenting.

    2. How the state of mind of a parent affects parenting

    Thoughts, feelings, beliefs, past history, the impact of emotion. A tool called the Parent Map is used to help parents reflect on their own minds; for example, what triggers strong emotion and how their mind influences their relationship with their children.

    3. Thinking about what goes on in children’s minds

    Promoting different perspectives and ways to understand the meaning behind behaviour. It helps parents take a developmental perspective (e.g. what behaviour is common and to be expected), and helps parents examine their own assumptions about their child’s intentions.

    4. Keeping Reflective Parenting going

    This theme helps parents to look at what influences children to cooperate and examines different ways of disciplining children. Its aim is to promote the idea that empathic parenting and ways of holding a child’s perspective in mind reduces the chances of coercive parenting approaches, which can be destructive and lead to an escalation of behaviour. The group approach takes parents’ own examples.

    5. Taking a Reflective Parenting approach to the future

    How to maintain a reflective parenting stance in times of difficulty and when disciplining your child, in order to maintain a connection and sense of security in the relationship as well as hold an authority as parents.

    Expected benefits to the programme

    Parents can expect to develop a better understanding of their child’s emotions and behaviours, whilst increasing the connection both they and their children feel towards each other. The programme helps parents to connect with their child’s inner world, helping them feel understood and of value. It also helps to de-escalate difficult situations and reduce behavioural and emotional outbursts.

  • How to Find Out More

    If you wish to make a referral, please download our Parenting Groups enquiry form here. On completion, please send your form back via email to Marianne McGowan, Clinical Administrator (

    For further information about our parenting groups, including fees and referral criteria, please contact Marianne McGowan via email (given above), or call us on 020 7794 2313.