Parent / Infant

In this therapy I work with pregnant mums-to-be; primary carer(s) which is usually mum; and dads are also very much encouraged to participate. The baby (0-2 years old) comes to therapy too.

The reasons are numerous as to why help may be needed during this eventful time. They could include the carer's mental health such as a history of depression with concerns that it may recur during pregnancy or has recurred, or once the baby is born which is post natal depression; there may be heightened feelings of anxiety during pregnancy or afterwards; perhaps the carer has suffered from post partum psychosis or has had previous psychotic episodes.

Other reasons for parent-infant psychotherapy may be that the carer is finding it difficult to tolerate baby's cries or perhaps just isn't able to enjoy baby. There may have been a traumatic birth experience which could include a still birth or a previous bereavement or miscarriage. It might be that a natural birth was planned but instead it was a Caesarean section which has left mum feeling like she's failed or let the baby or others down.

Perhaps there are feeding difficulties which feel unmanageable; sleeping difficulties; once baby is a few months old there may be anxiety around being separate from baby.

Parent-infant psychotherapy provides a space to think and reflect on the relationship with baby; to think about your own feelings and experiences and to try and understand and think about baby's experiences. It may be that your own childhood experiences have come flooding back causing symptoms similar to post traumatic stress, like withdrawal from the world, not feeling like loving your baby or feeling like the baby doesn't belong to you. Therapy is an opportunity to think about how you were parented. Something from your past may be interfering with the present.

This earliest period of child development, from conception until 2 years old is the formative time for growing the capacity for regulating and managing emotions; also for the developing capacities to make healthy relationships, it all starts here. It is so much better and easier for the carer(s) and baby to be helped during this earliest stage of life than to wait until problems become more intractable.

Sessions, with baby/toddler, are once weekly minimum, for 50 minutes.