ACP's ABC of child mental health continues with F for Family - working with the family in the early years

The ACP continues with it's ABC of children's mental health, looking at the family and the importance of training for professionals who work with families in the early years.

ACP member, Rachel Pardoe runs a 5-day training course  for professionals in Health, Education, Social Care and the Voluntary Sector. It is called Who Am I? and it is devised and led by child and adolescent psychotherapists and aims to develop a greater understanding of:

  • Theoretical concepts in children's emotional and social development, and parent-child interaction (eg Attachment, Mind-Mindedness, Resilience, Attunement, Psychobiological brain development).
  • Application of theoretical concepts and findings from research to work with infants, children and their carers, including understanding the child's communication through behavior and play
  • Essential skills in making detailed observation and recording of infants, children, and young people and their interaction with their carers.
  • Increased skills in building robust therapeutic relationships with parents and carers to enable them to support their child’s emotional development and secure attachment.

This understanding contributes to reduced risk and more effective assessment, safeguarding and therapeutic interventions.

Since 2015, the Who Am I? training has been delivered to 54 practitioners in Wales; a further course for CAMHS practitioners in Cwm Taf is being delivered in March 2017, and for Swindon Children’s Services in June 2017. Rachel Pardoe has been delivering training in Bristol in children’s mental health since 2005 and a similar 5-day course was delivered within the NHS in Bristol and Swindon where the course was attended by over 180 practitioners.

Feedback has ‘Excellent’ ratings consistently on many aspects of the course and practitioners frequently report that their knowledge, understanding, and professional skills have been significantly enhanced by the training. Practitioners also comment that they feel more confident in approaching their work, after completing the course. One early years practitioner said, "I found the course very useful both personally and professionally. It has helped me to gain a deeper understanding of emotion, and has strengthened relationships with families and colleagues also.

To find out more about the course and the work of the early years centre where Rachel works, contact:

“Trauma shatters the child’s trust and the parent’s confidence – they become triggers for each other… we must learn to ‘speak the unspeakable’, to name the experiences compassionately and directly, to create a ‘speakable language of trauma. It is never too late to reconfigure the narratives from the past – to build new ‘Angel’ memories...” Alicia Lieberman, World Association of Infant Mental Health (2016).