About this course

Intensive Clinical Training Program for Professionals Working with Infants and Parents.

We are pleased to announce that Professor Peter Fonagy will be delivering the 'Introduction to PEMA in Context' between 09:00 - 10:30 on the first day. Drs Dana Shai and Rose Spencer 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 Parental Embodied Mentalizing Assessment (PEMA) is a 12-point tool used to assess non-verbal risk and protective factors in parent-infant (0-2) dyads. PEMA is based on over a decade of empirical research in which PEM has been found to be associated with parental mental health and predict infant’s security of attachment, behaviour problems, and cognitive functioning in infancy and childhood.

Drawing from this evidence-base, this 5-day course orients professionals working with parents and infants to using PEMA™ in their clinical work. PEMA™ Intensive Training Program is an in-depth training where participants will learn to identify parent-infant embodied circles of communication and specific elements of parent-infant communication through didactic and experiential exercises and video examples to explore key features of parent-infant nonverbal communication and their significance in child development.

Additional time information

Please note the training schedule allows delegates time to code independently for homework which must be completed overnight and which will form the basis of discussion the next day.









Who is this course suitable for?

This training is suitable for professionals working with young children and their families including: Psychologists, Psychotherapists, Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists, Mental Health Counsellors, Home Visitors, Family Support Workers, Outreach Workers, Nursery Staff, Behaviour Support specialists, and anyone providing parenting education and/or counselling to parents of young children.

Aims of course
  • Introduce the theory and research behind Parental Embodied Mentalizing (PEM) from its developer, Dr. Dana Shai
  • Explore and identify the theory and movement language underlying PEMA™
  • Learn step-by-step processes to identify risk and protective factors in parent-child dyads
  • Fulfill prerequisite requirements for Reflective Practice and PEMA™Certification
PEMA for Research Purposes - Reliability Test

For participants wishing to use PEMA for research, and not clinical purposes, in order to receive PEMA certification, participants are required to complete the Reliability Test, which includes the additional coding of up to 5 practice and 10 standardized pre-coded videos of parent-infant interactions.

Those who choose to do the PEMA reliability for research purposes will be sent links to access the videos. On successful completion of the Reliability Test you will be authorized to use the PEMA research purposes only.

PEMA Reliability for Research and Clinical Purposes: 8-week Reflective Practice

To use the PEMA reliably in clinical practice, it is necessary to complete an 8-week reflective practice group process. Participants will meet for 8 x 90-minute group video reflective practice sessions exploring the application of PEMA with pre-coded (standardized) training video samples. One tape needs to be coded per week in preparation for the reflective practice meeting. Additionally, participants will employ PEMA with videotaped parent-infant interactions from their own concurrent clinical practice for group reflection. For more information or to book on, please click here: Parental Embodied Mentalizing Assessment (PEMA™): 8-week Reflective Practice

30th January 2023 - 3rd February 2023
  • Online – live via Zoom (Joining instructions will be sent to the email address you booked on with at least one working day before the event)
  • 5 half days
  • 09:00-12:30

Training fee without reliability

Training fee with reliability for research purposes


The Anna Freud Centre brings together those with a stake in the mental health of children and young people. Please subscribe to our mailing list to receive a bi-monthly e-newsletter and occasional updates about the Centre's training and events. 

Our use of cookies

We use necessary cookies to make our site work. We’d also like to set optional analytics to help us improve it. We won’t set optional cookies unless you enable them. Using this tool will set a cookie on your device to remember your preferences.

For more detailed information about the cookies we use, see our Cookies page

Necessary cookies

Necessary cookies enable core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility. You may disable these by changing your browser settings, but this may affect how the website functions.

Analytics cookies

We’d like to set non-essential cookies, such as Google Analytics, to help us to improve our website by collecting and reporting information on how you use it. The cookies collect information in a way that does not directly identify anyone. For more information on how these cookies work, please see our Cookies page. If you are 16 or under, please ask a parent or carer for consent before accepting.