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ITSIEY: Emotional Abuse in Infancy

About this course

In England, emotional abuse (including neglect) is the most common categories of abuse for under 1s subject to child protection plan. Emotional abuse is a particularly detrimental form of maltreatment and a robust predictor of future mental health difficulties. Environmental factors – such as poverty, homelessness, substance abuse – are known to heighten risk of neglect and emotional abuse in young children. These ‘external’ factors are reiterated through the parental state of mind to the baby.

This module will discuss the epidemiology and environment of emotional abuse and neglect, and how parental states of mind are infiltrated and expressed in verbal and embodied ways to the baby.  Abused babies seen in health and early years setting often already show symptomatology in terms of regulatory difficulties and precocious defences, but these may not be understood as such. The module will focus on skills in identifying babies’ communications about their experiences of abuse and their attempts to adapt to such distorting relational environments. All seminars will be accompanied by video material, with an emphasis on cross-disciplinary and interactive learning.



1. Parental states
2. Epidemiology and environment
3. Extended and nuclear family and Co-parenting
4. Embodied risk
5. Symptomatology in the Baby
6. Integration of themes through a case study


Who is this training suitable for?

ITSIEY is suitable for professionals working in the field of infant and perinatal mental health e.g. nurses, therapists, psychologists, family therapist, health visitors, social workers and psychiatrists. If you have any specific questions about the suitability of the module for your practice, please email

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.

See ITSIEY 2019 course brochure 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 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.

Currently ITSIEY offers the following modules:


We have compiled an essential reading list for this training. This will be made available for you on-line three weeks before the training. The essential reading list has been carefully chosen to support the learning objective of the course so we would strongly encourage you to read this as thoroughly as possible before the training begins.

Special Offer

a 5% discount is available for students who book on more than one ITSIEY module at the same time. Please contact training@annafreud.orgto claim this offer.