Parent-Infant Relational Assessment Tool - PIRAT Global Scales Training

A growing body of research from different disciplines points to the importance of the early caregiving relationship in infant mental health. Difficulties in the parent-infant relationship have been shown to risk derailing critical developmental processes in infancy and beyond. It is vital in such circumstances that health and social care professionals are able to identify aspects of the parent-infant relationship that are a cause for concern.

Professionals working within the field of infant health and development are well placed to identify parents and infants where the primary relationship is in difficulties at the earliest opportunity. Grounded in clinical practice, the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families’ Parent-Infant Relational Assessment Tool (PIRAT) has been specifically developed to enable a range of health and social care professionals to observe and rate qualities of parent-infant interaction and identify infants at risk. It is a flexible tool designed for use in everyday practice, in the consulting room, clinic or home. PIRAT can be used both as a risk assessment tool and to elucidate the quality of the parent-infant relationship. It is time-efficient to learn and provides a shared language for professionals from various professional backgrounds.

• PIRAT offers a systematic evidence-based framework for assessing risk to babies with their carers
• Focused on infants of 0-2 years, it offers a global rating of parent-infant and infant-parent interactions (affects and behaviours), which includes ratings of optimal behaviour and ratings of risk behaviour
• Grounded in clinical practice, it has been adapted and developed to provide a flexible tool easily incorporated into the health professional’s toolkit of expertise and efficient to use in everyday practice
• Participants will learn the PIRAT manualised method of coding and assessing parent-infant interaction, using DVD material to practice the coding of the measure.

Please note this course will support professionals to apply the tool to parent-infant relationships in their working practice however they will not be accredited to use the tool reliably (as required, for example, for use in court proceedings).



The course will cover:

• Early parent-infant relationships and infant mental health
• Observation of parent-infant interactions
• Coding video-taped parent-infant interactions on PIRAT
• Use of PIRAT in professional, clinical and research settings

Aims of course

• To teach health and social care professionals the rationale for PIRAT and the techniques for its use.
• To provide an overview of assessment measures in infant mental health.
• To consider the use of PIRAT in professional, clinical and research settings.

Who is this course suitable for?

Health and social care professionals working with parents and infants aged 0-2, including GPs, social workers, health visitors, midwives, infant mental health workers, perinatal and nursery nurses, psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, child psychotherapists and researchers in the field.

System requirements for online training

The online platform Zoom will be used to deliver the live elements of this training.  Please ensure you meet the system requirements for Zoom before booking on to any online live courses.  Before the training, please test your equipment is working by going to and follow the instructions.  This will ensure you are able to join this training and resolve any technical issues before the training day. 

The online platform Blackboard Learn will be used to deliver any self-guided learning and will provide access to handouts, materials and homework.  Most laptops/ PCs/ MACs/ i-pads and android devices work with Blackboard.  Blackboard is best accessed through Google Chrome.

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. 

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