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About this course 

This year-long course is a specialist course for professionals and clinicians working regularly with parents and infants during the perinatal period (conception to 24 months). It is multi-disciplinary in nature and draws on theory, clinical practice and latest research across a range of modalities and approaches. The course is intended to support professionals to develop specialist skills for working in a more therapeutically-informed way with infants and their parents or carers. 

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In-depth, we explore infant development and mental health from the relational standpoint of the infant parent relationship, through the lenses of psychoanalysis, attachment theory, neuroscience, mentalization and developmental psychology. We will look at how that relationship can be adversely impacted by intergenerational relational trauma and think about how we can work with these families in an infant-centred and non-stigmatising way. We will also highlight protective factors within the infant parent relationship and how these can be drawn upon within our work. 

The course predominantly focuses on infant parent practice and working therapeutically with the infant, dyad or wider family or in group work. Consequently, the emphasis is on praxis and integrating theory into practice, via three types of regular discussion groups, all of which will be held by qualified, experienced Early Years clinicians within the Anna Freud Centre.

Course Curriculum:

Supervision Groups: Group supervision is provided weekly (30 sessions) throughout the year in a group of no larger than 6 trainees.  Supervision is a core element of the training, in which concepts learned in the theoretical seminars are brought to life in the consulting room.  Each trainee is required to present cases, usually using process session notes and, where possible, by showing film (with consent) of the recorded session.

Trainees are encouraged by the group and group tutor to analyse their own technical choices, interventions, responses and counter-transference to the material in the session, and also to each other’s presentations. Cases are presented regularly, with an emphasis on “micro moments”, helped by analysing video material. Safeguarding and networking issues are also thought about carefully in the group. Over time, the work and progress of trainees is followed, shared and commented on by the whole group. A focus on the baby and the professional’s contact with baby is at the heart of the work. This emphasis also marks the transition in focus for the practitioner who is learning how to be a parent infant specialist.

Reading Groups: This group is held frequently throughout the course (10 sessions) and focus on discussing the theory behind the various approaches and modalities included within the course and how this can be applied and embedded within practice.  Set texts will be brought for discussion in the group, where concepts that support the development of understanding and conceptualising parent infant relational strengths and difficulties will be explored. Trainees are required to read for each seminar and be able to discuss common themes and points of difference.

Context Groups: This group is held frequently throughout the course (9 sessions) and is a space for trainees to bring issues around working in this new parent infant way and how that intersects and impacts their way of working for them professionally, as well as within your team or service. It is a forum to share experiences and offer guidance and support. Participants are encouraged to reflect upon how they are adapting and integrating theoretical knowledge and skills into their practice within the wider context of their role and work. The group aims to foster a space where personal, institutional and organisational challenges can be addressed.

Taught Seminars: There will also be several modular courses included within the training, comprised of taught seminars.  These include:

  • Foundations to infant mental health: parenting in the perinatal period (4 days)
  • Principles and practice of psychoanalytic parent infant psychotherapy (3 days)
  • Engaging and supporting fathers in the perinatal period (1 day)
  • Mentalizing in practice: Working with parents and infants (2 days)
  • Running groups for parents and infants (2 days)

Infant Observation: We strongly encourage all applicants to have completed an infant observation training course prior to, or during the training, but this is not an essential requirement. 

If we have significant interest, we will hold an infant observation course for those who haven’t yet completed this component of training and are interested to do so, alongside this Perinatal Infant Mental Health training. Details of this course can be found here

Who is this course suitable for?

This training course is suitable for professionals and clinicians working with families with children aged 0 – 2, particularly those in perinatal or infant mental health teams or in CAMHS.  This includes professionals such as: 

  • Specialist health visitors
  • Occupational therapists
  • Psychologists 
  • Mental health nurses
  • Therapists
  • Counsellors
  • Nursery nurses
  • Social workers

Applicants may be working at level 1 as mapped on the AIMH IMH Competency framework and aiming to reach level 2, or may be wanting to consolidate skills in level 2 aiming for level 3.

Course requirements
  • A professional qualification (i.e. clinical psychologist, psychotherapist, social worker, health visitor)
  • Experience delivering psychological or therapeutic interventions with families
  • Current employment where parent-infant work is accessible and supported
Aims of the course
  • To enhance knowledge and understanding of infant mental health and development 
  • To develop the skills to include the baby as the subject of the therapeutic intervention and to apply an infant-parent relational approach to working practice with perinatal families 
  • To develop multi-modal parent-infant intervention skills that are therapeutically informed
  • To promote an inclusive approach to practice for all families
Course work

Reading:

  • Weekly reading of circa 2-4 hours per week

Reviews:

  • 2x course review meetings

 Clinical caseload:

Approximately 3 individual cases (some group work will be considered)

  • At least one parent-infant dyad
  • At least one case that involves a partner and triadic work (directly or indirectly)
  • At least one case where parental mental illness is present
  • Writing up weekly process notes during term-time to share and reflect upon in supervision groups

Assessments:

  • 1x clinical case presentation due towards the end of term 3
Accreditation

We are currently in discussion with the Association for Psychodynamic Practice and Counselling in Organisational Settings (APPCIOS) to get this course accredited.  This is expected to be finalised within the next few months and we will update you as soon as we have further information in this regard.

Additional time information

The course will be taught in a blended way, through a mix of online and face-to-face teaching and discussion groups.  We are currently scheduling for trainees to come into the Anna Freud Centre for face-to-face teaching twice per term. 

N.B: Face-to-face meeting will be determined by the latest developments regarding CV-19 and government regulations.  Further, if there are people who live far from London, we can see whether it might be an option to deliver training predominantly online with a termly face-to-face meeting only. 

The course will be held over 3x 10-week terms and includes circa 165 taught hours in total.  There will be a 2-week half term break each term and the terms will run from:

  • Term One: 28th April – 14th July 2022
  • Term Two: 15th September – 1st December 2022
  • Term Three: 12th January – 30th March 2023

The course will take place weekly over 30 Thursdays.  Your attendance will be required on 21 of these Thursdays in the afternoon only and for 9 of these Thursdays for the full day. 

For modular courses, an additional 6 training days will fall on days other than Thursday within the working week. 

The full course timetable will be shared with you once your place is confirmed on the training, for you to ensure that you can make the necessary arrangements to attend the full course.

Bursaries

We recognise that there are structural barriers to accessing specialist training courses for people from minoritised groups and that consequently, the mental health and Early Years workforce is not as diverse as it should be and does not reflect the wider population it serves. 

Due to generous funding from the Chesser Trust, we are able to offer 2 full bursaries for this specialist training, as well as one partial bursary of £3,500. 

We encourage applications for these bursaries for people who identify as being from minoritised groups, this will include but not be limited to applicants from low-income households, people who are racially and ethnically minoritised and people with disabilities, who are consequently often under-represented in the wider specialist workforce. 

If you are interested in applying for the bursary, please include this in your overall application for the training. The deadline for the course application and the deadline for the bursary application is 28th February 2022. If you are shortlisted, you will be contacted in March for an interview to determine whether you are awarded the bursary or not.  

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 Zoom.us/test and follow the instructions.

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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