About this event



 The International Training School for Infancy and Early Years (ITSIEY), which provides mental health and early years professionals with expert-agreed standards of knowledge and skills to work confidently with infants (0-3) and their families, is holding an online conference. The conference will address key learning from the Covid-19 pandemic about the need to respond to the vulnerability of infants to parental stress and the need for culturally-informed and unbiased practice. The conference will be led by speakers who are experts in working with parents and infants and will address how, as  practitioners, we can:

  • Recognise toxic stress in infants and support their recovery
  • Work in a culturally-informed and responsive way
  • Help parents to regulate their emotional responses to their infants and respond to their need for safe, attentive and responsive parenting      
  • Support parents to enjoy their baby and promote their infant’s well-being

Our conference topics are pertinent to the impact of the pandemic on infants and share approaches which are immediately applicable to practice. We hope participants will leave this conference inspired to put their learning into practice and take away ideas and evidence-based approaches which can help many babies and their parents in the future.

Presentations will be given by experts in the field and discussions will allow participants to link the presented content to their professional practice. They have been created to be fascinating, thought-provoking, current and pertinent to practice. The event will also provide you with the opportunity to network with fellow attendees during the breaks. 

Day 1 Presentations - 22nd April 2021

22nd April 2021

Presentation 1:  Responding to the effect of stress and trauma on infants

In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on isolation, poverty, stress, mental illness and domestic abuse, there is an urgent need to be responsive to the impact of toxic stress on infants.  Even with the best intentions on the part of professionals, infants can become ‘neglected’  in work with parents and infants. This is especially so when a parent’s emotional distress  and/or trauma are very present.  This presentation has been designed to help practitioner’s  keep the infant at the heart of their work.  

Participants will learn how to:

  • Recognise the impact of stress and trauma on infants
  • To recognise babies’ attempts to protect themselves
  • To engage infants as part of the therapeutic process
  • To safely address risk with parents


Amanda Jones (Consultant Parent Infant Psychotherapist, NELFT)

Abel Fagin (Parent Infant Psychotherapist, The Anna Freud Centre)

Presentation 2: Culturally-informed infant mental health practice

In the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests, this presentation provides practitioners with an opportunity to understand unconscious bias and reflect on how it may be present in their own practice.  This event has also been designed to help participants increase their understanding of culturally-informed practice and to be able to meaningfully apply learning from community-based infant mental health practice to their own work with parents, infants and young children. 

Participants will learn how to:

  • Recognise and redress unconscious bias in communications with parents
  • Enhance parent-infant relationships with culturally-supportive approaches
  • Protect BAME infants with culturally informed safeguarding practice
  • Engage in culturally-informed thinking and its application to practice


Yvonne Osafo (Early intervention lead at West London Action for Children)

Anna Godfrey (Parent Infant Psychotherapist at Croydon Best Start Family Solutions Service)

Day 2 Presentations - 23rd April 2021

23rd April 2021

Presentation 3: Parenting Under Stress: From Reactivity to Containment

In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, in which so many families have suffered and continue to suffer intolerable stress, infants can be the most vulnerable of all family members. This presentation has been designed to help professionals to support the parents they work with in regulating their responses to their infants, so that they can parent safely and promote their infant’s well-being.

Participants will learn to:

  • Apply the concept of mentalization to support safe parenting
  • Help parents to regulate their responses to their infants
  • Support parents in being responsive, rather than reactive, to their infants
  • Help parents regulate their infant’s distress


Nicola Labuschagne (Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Deputy Head of the Early Years Programme, The Anna Freud Centre)

Joe Druce (Social Worker and Early Year Therapist, The Anna Freud Centre)

Presentation 4: To a healthy future: how to use the Watch Me Play technique to support parent-infant relationships both online and beyond.

The final presentation of our conference gives practitioners a directly applicable approach to enhance parent infant relationships.  Watch Me Play is a simple approach to helping  parents develop their capacity to ‘tune in’  to their infants and can bring parents and infants closer to each other, particularly when relationships have been under stress and  there have been challenges in bonding. The Watch Me Play approach can adapt seamlessly to both online and face to face work.

Participants will learn:

  • The five keys of the Watch Me Play approach
  • How to introduce Watch Me Play to parents
  • How to support parents in recognising and responding to their infant
  • How to use the Watch Me Play approach in online work


Jenifer Wakelyn (Consultant Child Psychotherapist, The Tavistock & Portman NHS Trust)

Andrea Katz (Parent Infant Psychotherapist, The Enfield Parent Infant Partnership and Course Lead, ITSIEY)

Aims of the conference

Overall aims of the ITSIEY Conference

  • To address the specific needs of infants which have been highlighted by the Covid-19 pandemic
  • To address the need for culturally informed and unbiased practice
  • To disseminate rich learning that can be immediately applicable to practise
  • To facilitate integration of course content to professional practice through expert-led discussions​


Who is this conference suitable for?

These events are suitable for all professionals in the fields of infant and perinatal mental health for example: psychologists, child and adult psychotherapists, parent-infant psychotherapists, family therapists, play and occupational therapists, nursery nurses, perinatal nurses, health visitors, psychiatrists, paediatricians, GP’s and social workers.

About International Training School for Infancy and Early Years (ITSIEY)

ITSIEY is the winner of 2017 Maternal Mental Health Alliance Emma Cadywould Award for Perinatal Mental Health Education and Training, see our news story here. 

Delivered by a unique collaboration of internationally acclaimed Centres of Excellence (Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust and Yale University Child Study Centre), the International Training School for Infancy and Early Years (ITSIEY) provides mental health and early years professionals with expert-agreed standards of knowledge and skills to work confidently with infants (0-3) and their families. This exclusive training encompasses a range of theories “seamlessly interwoven into a shared conceptual framework” (student). The ecological model that is at the heart of its vision and curriculum uses most up to date knowledge of advances in neuroscience combined with strong clinical and research experience relevant to collaborative work with families. ITSIEY builds a forum for international cross pollination of knowledge, skills and research in the field of infancy and early years mental health for practitioners.

System requirements for conference

The online platform Zoom will be used to deliver this conference. Prior to booking on, please ensure you meet the system requirements so you're able to join this training.

Before the training, please test your equipment is working by going to and follow the instructions.

Details of how to join the event on Zoom will be shared closer to the event.

Book Now

22nd April 2021 - 23rd April 2021
  • Online - via Zoom (joining instructions will be shared with registrants close to the event)
  • 2 consecutive afternoons
  • 13.30 - 17:00 (UK time)

Student fee

Standard Fee


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