Parent perceptions of the Parent Consultation Service (PCS)

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    Research Project Team

    • Anna Galloway
    • Dr Helen Brasnett
    • Dr Emma Keaveny


  • Background

    The Anna Freud Centre’s Parent Consultation Service (PCS) is an accessible, responsive, one-off, 30 minute telephone based consultation service for parents who have concerns about their child’s psychological well-being.

    The consultation takes place at a pre-allocated time to suit the parent and enables both the parent and clinician to collaboratively develop (drawing on shared decision making principles) a fuller understanding of the child (from 0-18) and the context around the child and family.

    Following the call, parents are routinely asked to complete an evaluation form sent out with a letter summarising the consultation.

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    • To increase understanding of the parents experience of the PCS
    • To ascertain what they found helpful about the PCS
    • To determine their thoughts about the service and to identify areas for improvement
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    A research assistant was engaged to interview parents over the telephone using a semi-structured interview schedule.

    These interviews were then analysed using the principles of thematic analysis.

  • Results

    Findings suggest that overall parents found the PCS a positive experience.

    Many felt the opportunity to speak about their concerns with a qualified professional left them feeling reassured about their parenting ability. They also appreciated being signposted to other services and resources.

    The service was felt to be responsive, efficient and professional and the professionals involved were felt to be warm and empathetic.

    From a more practical perspective, parents identified a need for less intensive support provision for those who don’t meet the threshold for other services.

    Given that speaking with an expert professional appeared important to parents, further research to explore the similarities and differences between the PCS and other non-professional led helplines, such as Family Lives would be warranted.