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Parent-Infant Psychotherapy Baby Clinic Groups

  • Research Project Team

    • Michelle Sleed,
    • Jessica James,
    • Tessa Baradon


    • Camden Health Visiting


  • Background

    The Parent-Infant Project has collaborated with community based baby clinic services to introduce parent-infant psychotherapy drop-in groups into routine baby health clinics.

    The aim is to provide a culture that can address the emotional needs of infants and their parents in universally available and non-stigmatising health care settings.

    The first project took place in a residential hostel for homeless families. The second group was introduced into a universal baby health clinic in the community. Both projects have been evaluated and are now completed.

  • Aims

    To evaluate the impact of parent-infant psychotherapy groups in baby clinics, in terms of:

    • Infant development
    • Parents’, infants’ and staff experiences of the clinic
    • The focus of the clinic as a whole on the babies’ emotional experiences.
  • Methodology

    The baby clinic in homeless hostels was evaluated and outcomes for babies and parents in the intervention hostel were compared with outcomes for parent-infant dyads living in hostels where the intervention did not take place.

    For the community baby clinic, qualitative and quantitative changes in the clinic were evaluated from the perspective of the parents, staff, and the clinic as a whole.

  • Results

    In the hostel project: Indices of mental and motor development of infants in the intervention hostel were significantly improved over time in relation to infants in the comparison hostels.

    No significant differences were found in the parent-infant interactions between the two groups over time. This evaluation indicates that the service model may have positive benefits for the development of this group of infants.

    In the community project: Preliminary findings indicate that changes to the clinic were positively viewed by parents and staff.

    Analyses of video footage of the clinic demonstrated far more group cohesion, interaction, and infant-directed communication in the clinic following the introduction of the parent-infant focused group.