This 2-day course will explore Mentalizing and the importance of the parent/carer’s ability to mentalize effectively, to support the development of the infant’s mind, attachment to their parent/carer and capacity to reflect and to relate to others.  Mentalizing refers to our ability to understand what is going on in our own minds and in the minds of other people, and to realise how this is affecting the emotions, thoughts and actions of ourselves and others.  It is a crucial skill for parents/carers to develop and/or strengthen, so that they can support their infant to do the same.

Using practical tools, engaging activities and case material that you bring, we will explore the application of this approach to the parent-infant relationship and how you can support parents/carers to mentalize their babies.  We will also consider how to support our own mentalizing as professionals, when we face stressful and challenging situations, particularly around infant safeguarding and multi-agency working.


Course Overview

Day 1


We will define Mentalizing as a developmental and relational construct, one that is particularly helpful for framing early years work as it offers a sense of how the work of parent or carer is at least as much about assisting in the collaborative endeavour (with the baby) of ‘mind-making’ as it is in body-rearing. The theory will be presented in an accessible way that assumes no prior knowledge of attachment studies or neuroscience, and emphasises the extremely pragmatic nature of this fecund theory. It will conclude with a definition of the "Therapist’s Mentalizing Stance", with opportunities throughout for delegates to practice and digest this material aided with low stress, playful activities that allow them to relate this material to the realities of their own work.


In the afternoon we will learn about applying Mentalizing less in the direct face to face interactions with clients, but more in support of workers themselves, whose capacity to ‘carry on and keep mentalizing’ is often challenged in contexts that involve high stress (for instance safeguarding concerns around the early years) and which require the integration of contributions from what are often large and complex multiagency and multi-professional networks. These networks frequently gather around clients in unintentionally ‘dis-integrated’ ways - that can at best be burdensome for all concerned, and at worst increase risk (as misunderstandings and conflict obscure significant warning signs.) In this part of the day we will be drawing on some key lessons and practices developed in AMBIT (Adaptive Mentalization Based Integrative Treatment) an approach that is used by a wide array of teams across the world where these kinds of contexts (including clients who are often at best ambivalent in respect to their engagement with professional help) are common features.


Day 2

We will review the learning from Day 1 and will cover in further detail about how this relates to your work with parents and babies. We will also hold space for case discussion.

The day will focus on a mentalisation based approach to working with parents and infants. The Mentalization approach, helps parents  to begin the process of reflecting on their own and their children’s mental states. Parent-child work helps parents to become more aware of and responsive to their children’s needs, leading to more emotionally attuned parenting, more secure attachment relationships, and an associated decrease in child protection concerns.

There will be an outline of some tools and techniques that can be used in the clinical work with parents to help clinicians focuses on the parental skills (mentalizing their infant’s experience, sensitivity, mirroring, attunement)  important for enhancing reflective functioning.  The focus of the seminar will be helping parents to mentalize their baby by thinking about not only the parent’s perspective, but also looking at the relationship from the infant’s perspective.

The seminar will also look at how to help parents to reflect on the self and ask the question:  what do you bring to the parent-infant relationship and where does this come from?  The Parent Map tool (Redfern 2016) will be outlined as a way of applying this in the clinical work.

Please refer to the timetable for further information.

Who is this course suitable for?

This course is suitable for professionals working in the field of infant and perinatal mental health e.g. nurses, therapists, psychologists, family therapists, health visitors, social workers and psychiatrists. 

Aims of course

This course aims to:

  • Develop your knowledge and understanding of Mentalizing;
  • Provide you with practical tools and skills for supporting mentalizing in the parent-infant relationship;
  • Enhance your reflectiveness as a professional, team and service, to support mentalizing during stressful and risky contexts.
System requirements for online training

The online platform Zoom will be used to deliver this training. 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.


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