Observing best practice in parent infant psychotherapy... WHY?
Here in Sweden...
My adventure continues despite the first heavy snow of the season. It feels like Christmas in Scandinavia and I'm loving every moment.
The flowers are struggling under the weight of snow
I can't believe that this is my sixth day in Sweden and I have learned so much already. What am I going to do with all this information. And anyway, who wants to know? What difference will it make?
Well, I'm a bit of a dreamer and I have some big dreams about the practice of parent infant psychotherapy. I'm hoping to inspire my team colleagues back in London so we can be energised to push new boundaries in our work with parents and infants. My travels will take me to like minded dreamers, many of whom have been on this road for thirty to forty years and have left a legacy in their nations.
According to Isaac Newton:
"If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants" ( Newton to Hooke, 5 Feb. 1676; Corres I, 416)
Newton probably learned this truth from theologian John of Salisbury who said in the 12th century:
"We are like dwarfs sitting on the shoulders of giants. We see more, and things that are more distant, than they did, not because our sight is superior or because we are taller than they, but because they raise us up, and by their great stature add to ours."
The Metalogicon of John of Salsibury: A Twelfth-Century Defense of the Verbal and Logical Arts of the Trivium
Today I want to give you the wider context of my research and how I will use the knowledge I gain a wider perspective in the practice of parent infant psychotherapy.
Back in London - My different Roles
Back home in London I'm privileged to work with several networks of professionals and I'm hoping that they will all benefit from my learning adventure.
At West London Action for Children I work part time as a parent infant psychoanalytic psychotherapist and a child and adolescent psychotherapist in a cross modality team of about ten therapists. We offer a range of counselling and therapy services for children in need, and their families, in the London boroughs of Hammersmith & Fulham and Kensington & Chelsea. We support families under stress to develop their confidence and skills to cope with the ordinary and extraordinary challenges of family life. Our services are primarily available to those on Income Support or receiving Tax Credits.
I also work part time as Clinical Lead for Croydon Best Start Parent Infant Partnership (CBSPIP). Our goal in this team is to develop a high quality service that delivers high standards of psycho-dynamically informed parent infant psychotherapy; also providing consultation and training to the Croydon Best Start workforce in relation to attachment, theory/practice and parent child relationships. The service is delivered in families’ homes, children’s centres and community settings across the borough.
CBSPIP is a partnership approach under the umbrella of Parent Infant Partnership UK (PIPUK) and brings together key services including health visiting, midwifery, perinatal services children’s centres, early years and the voluntary sector into an integrated service model. The aim is to provide the best start possible for babies, young children and their carers. The Croydon Best Start model aims to offer an effective and responsive service, strengthening the way that agencies work together using evidence of “what works” as a whole system enabling the whole to be more than the sum of the parts.
I was trained as a parent infant psychotherapist at the School of Infant Mental Health and the Parent Infant Clinic in Hampstad, which continue to feature significantly in my work and practice.
I teach a fortnightly infant/organizational observation class and also sit on the ethics and accreditation committees. At the clinic I take part in the Restart, Infant Family Treatment for families with children displaying early signs of autism. This work keeps me sharp and on the cutting edge of best practice. Thank you Stella for investing so much in me.
I am also hoping to share my learning with the UK Council for Psychotherapy, where I am a member of the College for Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy and the Faculty for the Psychological Health of Children. In the college, part of our work is to monitor the standards for training of psychotherapists. I aim to represent the perspective of parent infant psychotherapy and to ensure that the voice of the baby can be heard in the midst of the much louder traumatic cries of children, adolescents and adults. The faculty aims to be outward facing; organizing conferences and networking opportunities for professionals. You can click on this link to read more, http://www.childrensfaculty.org.uk/.
One last thing... I must mention my doctorate research in parent infant psychoanalytic psychotherapy with the University of Essex. I am researching the question;
‘How does parent infant psychotherapy enable change in children displaying pre-autistic behaviour and their families?’
As you can imagine, it is quite a challenge to evidence internal change so I need all the help I can get to learn how colleagues around the world have tackled this. I'm exploring in my research whether there is a correlation between the changes in the symptoms of a child who is displaying early signs of autism and changes in the parents' internal representations (the parent's view of their own parents), as a result of twenty sessions of parent infant psychotherapy.
I reckon that my travels will really inform my research and broaden my perspective.
Now that you have a context for my travels perhaps my next blog will be more meaningful to you.
I have a lot to share with you about my latest visits but I think this is enough for today.
See you next time...
The Correspondence of Isaac Newton Edited by H.W. Turnbull, J.F. Scott, A.R. Hall. Volume II 1676-1687 (1960 552pp). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.