Attachment and infant mental health training + supporting parents/carers
Promoting secure attachment and emotional wellbeing in infants, children, and young people
Promoting parental attunement and mentalization
Integrating neuroscience and attachment theory within your professional practice
All EarlyYES training is delivered online, and face-to-face by arrangement
“Conversations in our MDT meetings are very different now that members of the team have completed the Babies In Our Minds training. There is an energy and a shared understanding which everyone can feel a part of. Team members who have struggled to adjust from working with adults in CMHTs have demonstrated that their thinking has shifted to include focusing on the baby’s needs. The team therefore feels more cohesive with a shared vision.” (Evaluation Report)
“I would recommend highly this training for all front-line practitioners working with children and families, to enable them to develop a robust framework of knowledge and understanding and confident practice.”
Why do the EarlyYES attachment training?
EarlyYES attachment and infant mental health training increases your knowledge and understanding of the social and emotional development of infants, children and young people.
Early attachment relationships, and the extraordinary development of the brain – with its vulnerability to trauma and neglect – are key to our relationships with others throughout life, and our ongoing emotional wellbeing.
EarlyYES training gives you confidence in giving voice to the child and the impact of their experiences.
The courses also help you to support parents and carers who often have their own difficult life histories which, in turn, impact on their capacity to care for their children.
This understanding, and the skills developed further during the course, help you to achieve:
- more thorough assessment of emotional needs
- reduced risk and better safeguarding
- more effective therapeutic intervention
- more effective communication with the professional network.
- Understanding of theoretical concepts in children’s emotional and social development, and parent-child relationships, including: psychobiological brain development, emotional regulation, attachment security/ insecurity and intergenerational transmission, parental mentalization and attunement, and resilience.
- Application of theoretical concepts to work with infants, children, young people and their parents, including understanding the child’s communication through behaviour and play.
- Essential skills in detailed observation and recording of children’s behaviour and parent-child interaction.
- Essential skills in building robust therapeutic relationships with parents and carers to enable them to support their child’s emotional development and secure attachment.
- More thorough assessment of emotional needs of parent and child.
- Reduced risk and better safeguarding, and more effective communication with the professional network
Module 1: Infant brain development + observation/recording skills
Module 2: Attachment – the importance of positive early relationships, and how we can promote secure attachment
Module 3: Watching and waiting – promoting parental attunement through child-led play
Module 4: Developing skills in structuring parent-infant/child interventions, and in reflective practice
For more details, see Programmes
Babies in Our Minds, and Who Am I? training courses share the same module structure, but differ in focus.
Babies in Our Minds focuses on the parent-infant relationship, antenatally and postnatally.
Who Am I? focuses on the parent-child relationship across the age range, and including adolescence.
Course content reflects this focus in terms of illustrations of child development and the case examples provided. Module 3 of Who Am I? focuses on how children and young people communicate through play and drawings. An additional module, Separations & Loss, is unique to Who Am I?
Based on research
The human brain has over 100 billion neurons, each connecting to around 10,000 other neurons. But these connections are affected by our social and emotional experience from infancy. So how can we help to nurture healthy brains?
The EarlyYES training courses incorporate current research in the field of child development, including: neuroscience, attachment, emotional regulation, parental attunement and mentalization / reflective capacity.
The courses build on concepts and skills embedded within psychodynamic therapeutic work, mentalization-based therapy and interventions such as the Solihull Approach (Douglas, H. & Ginty, M. 2001), Watch, Wait and Wonder (Muir, E. 1992), the Tavistock Clinic approach: Watch Me Play! (2020), Mind-mindedness (Meins, E. 2012) and Words and Pictures (Hiles, M., Essex, S., Fox, A. and Luger, C. (2008).
Integrating theory & daily practice
EarlyYES training emphasises the importance of detailed observation, reflection and analysis, thereby integrating theory and practice.
Practitioners practice these skills in the safe and rich environment of group reflective practice, where practitioners bring their case examples for discussion.
Why Reflective Practice?
Thinking about our work is essential to good practice. Reflective practice encourages detailed observation, reflection and analysis, thereby integrating theory and practice.
Given a safe space to reflect on our contact with families, our interactions and our own responses, we can increase our understanding of relationships, and become more effective in our work.
Reflective practice supports us in responding therapeutically in the best interests of the child, young person and family, reducing the danger of the practitioner acting/reacting, with consequent risk to families.
The reflective practice is facilitated by the EarlyYES trainer(s), bringing years of expertise and skill to thinking ‘on the fly’ with each case, to help practitioners to find new ways of working therapeutically with children and families.
For more details, see the Course Programmes.
“The reflective practice was a brilliant platform for different views and ideas from other professionals.”
“I found the reflective practice sessions with the trainers really useful as it really allowed me to think about what I’ve learnt, and apply it to live cases.”
Senior Family Worker
“The reflective practice was so very beneficial to me in the application of theory to practice.”
Primary CAMHS Therapist
Who are the courses for?
EarlyYES courses are for professionals employed within Health, Education and Social Care, and the independent and voluntary sectors.
The course Babies In Our Minds is designed for:
- Practitioners working antenatally and postnatally with infants and families, e.g. Perinatal staff, Midwives, Health Visitors, and Early Years workers.
BIOM supports skills identified in the Association for Infant Mental Health (AIMH) UK Infant Mental Health Competency Framework and Perinatal Mental Health Competency Framework. BIOM is recognised by the AiMH UK Infant Mental Health Recognition Register.
The course Who Am I? is designed for:
- Practitioners working with children, young people and families, e.g. CAMHS clinicians, Social Workers, Youth Workers, Parent Support Workers, Teachers, Counsellors and Therapists.
CPD for Health Visitors
The EarlyYES training courses contribute to essential Health Visitor CPD, in accordance with the National Framework for Continuing Professional Development for Health Visitors – Standards for professional practice (iHV, 2015), Standard 1 “Working therapeutically to effect change with children and families”.
Standard 1 specifies that Health Visitors need to be:
“confident and effective in engaging and building positive relationships… This requires excellent interpersonal skills and personal qualities (e.g. emotional literacy and emotional resilience) in order to establish and maintain effective working relationships with parents and carers.”
The EarlyYES training courses provide the key knowledge and skills outcomes identified in the National Standards; in particular increased confidence and effectiveness in building positive relationships.
Practitioners need to have experience of working with infants, young children and their families in a professional capacity.
Babies In Our Minds is suitable for practitioners at Levels 1-3 of the AiMH UK Infant Mental Health Competency Framework.
The learning outcomes depend on the level of expertise and skill of the practitioner at the start of the training. Participants access the training at their level, and develop accordingly.
The trainers are skilled at adapting the course to the appropriate level (varying theoretical content, depth of discussion, and therapeutic techniques) to ensure that all practitioners benefit.
Practical details & timing
EarlyYES training is delivered online using Zoom.
Face-to-face courses can be arranged if required in Bristol, the South West, Midlands and South Wales.
The Babies In Our Minds and Who am I? training courses are modular in design. Courses can be delivered as required by commissioners for their staff – for example as a 2-day or 3-day course (see Programmes).
Days and dates can be arranged to suit your needs.
It is recommended that there is a 1-2 week gap between each module, to allow time for reflection and application of learning.
Minimum number of practitioners per module: 10
Recommended maximum number of practitioners for each module: 15 to allow time and space for discussion.
Greatert numbers can be accommodated, with the understanding that fewer participants will be able to discuss their work.
All practitioners who attend a course in full are issued with a certificate of attendance.
Rachel Pardoe developed the EarlyYES training courses over many years, and is founder and Director of EarlyYES Ltd.
Rachel Pardoe delivers the training in person. If required, a co-trainer can join Rachel to enable larger groups to break into small group facilitiated discussion.
For more information, see About.
The course fees below apply to cohorts of a minimum of 10 practitioners.
Fee per person
Full day: 7 hours
Full day: 7 hours
Half day: 3.5 hours
Module 4 (follows 1, 2 & preferably 3)
Half day: 3.5 hours
The Separations, loss and endings module of the Who Am I? course is also a half day at £70 per practitioner.
Training delivered & recommendation
Babies In Our Minds has been delivered by Rachel Pardoe to over 85 practitioners in perinatal teams since 2019, and a further 170 early years and perinatal practitioners in South Wales attended BIOM Module 2 (Attachment) in 2021.
Who Am I? has been delivered to over 300 practitioners in Bristol, Wales and Swindon.
Participants are asked for detailed feedback to help us ensure the continued quality and relevance of the course to varied professional contexts.
Feedback from practitioners is highly positive, as shown by comments on this website, and in the Course Programmes.
Practitioners give top ratings on many aspects of the course. Evaluation Reports are available on request. Example here.
Highly positive comments indicate the impact of the EarlyYES training courses on practitioners’ thinking about their work, and the development of their professional practice, for the benefit of the many children, young people and families receiving professional intervention and care.
Recommendationby Debbie Bunce (2021) Perinatal Team Manager, Somerset NHS Foundation Trust
“Our perinatal practitioners feel they benefited a significantly from the Babies In Our Minds training, and have referred to it in supervision while discussing families they are supporting. I think it has made a difference, leading to practitioners considering the voice of the baby at each contact.”
Recommendation by Mandy Raywood (2021) Specialist Perinatal Service Manager, Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
“Conversations in our MDT meetings are very different now that members of the team have completed the Babies In Our Minds training. There is an energy and a shared understanding between the team which everyone can feel a part of.
Team members who have struggled to adjust from working with adults in CMHTs have demonstrated that their thinking has shifted to include focusing on the baby’s needs. The team therefore feels more cohesive with a shared vision.”
Recommendation by Louise Campion (2018)
Principal Officer, Health and Wellbeing
Children, Families and Community Health Service, Swindon.
“We have been working with Rachel Pardoe of the “Who am I?” training programme since 2013, running a multi-disciplinary course each year for staff from a range of roles for example, health visitors, social workers, family support workers.
“The feedback and evidence from our quality assurance activities is that there is a positive impact on their practice and in the way they can communicate with each other about young children. My experience has always been positive in being able to develop the course to match our local needs through sensitive and helpful work with Rachel.
“I would recommend highly this course for all front line practitioners working with children and families to enable them to develop a robust framework of knowledge and understanding and confident practice.”
Feedback from practitioners
click the ‘+‘ icons in the Feedback sections below.
Earlier training: Rachel Pardoe has been delivering training in Bristol in children’s mental health since 2005.
A 5-day course was delivered within the NHS by Rachel Pardoe and Caroline Church in Bristol and Swindon (2011-2016); the course was attended by over 180 practitioners.
Feedback was consistently excellent, with 90% plus Excellent ratings in Bristol for Course Content, Theoretical Workshops and Relevance to Your Work.
Feedback from Perinatal Practitioners
BIOM training has completely changed my way in thinking about how people’s histories play such a significant role in their own parenting styles. I also feel that my knowledge base has significantly expanded and I am able to provide a better service to the individuals I work with.
I have thoroughly enjoyed the course, it has been very interactive, despite being online, and extremely stimulating and thought provoking. The skills and knowledge I have learned with inevitably impact on my practice alongside further reading from the extensive reading list provided.
I would like to take the opportunity to thank Rachel for her commitment, compassion and enthusiasm for having ‘babies in our minds’ in the delivery of the course.
I feel the training worked well online. I feel more equipped to be the babies’ voice.
The language used when talking to parents and documenting these engagements is so important, and I feel like these sessions have supported my use of terminology more positively and appropriately.
Great content, well delivered, great to share experiences and cases. Very good training, will take a lot from it and will make changes to my practice.
Feedback from Health Visitors and Early Years
Excellent course, very informative and has boosted my confidence as a Health Visitor.
I feel that every Health Visitor / Practitioner should be able to complete this course. It will definitely improve practice in all areas!
This course has allowed me to explore more effective ways of working with families. It has also given me the language and confidence to improve my report writing skills.
This training will make such a difference to my practice. Increased knowledge and understanding of attachment difficulties, how significant play is. Excellent training.
The course was informative, in-depth and brilliantly taught by two passionate and knowledgeable people. The reading was useful and relevant – and the course was perfectly pitched to a range of professionals from child Health and Education. I would strongly recommend this course to anyone working with children of any age.
I am already thinking differently about the interactions I see, seeing things more from the child’s perspective. I am conscious of how my reports are now more focused on the family relationships and interactions.
Increased knowledge of children’s social and emotional development has increased [my] professional confidence to use this in all aspects of work, especially when there is urgency, e.g. child protection and emotional harm.
Specialist Health Visitor
The course has made me think about not rushing in to solve a ‘behavior issue’ straight away, but to observe the child and try to understand the feelings behind the behavior. I feel that will now be able to write a much more effective, valuable conference report.
Feedback from CAMHS practitioners
This is one of the most organised courses I have ever attended. It is clearly well thought out and broken down into sensible & manageable chunks… there was a consistent narrative throughout.
I came to the course with hardly any knowledge of early years/attachment. My knowledge has grown greatly. I feel that I can gain a better understanding of what the young person is going through.
CAMHS Nurse Therapist
Excellent discussion. Eye opener.
I think I’ll be less process driven and more child-centred. I love the idea of encouraging parents to be mind-minded and to understand feelings rather than just focus on changing behaviour.
Primary CAMHS Therapist
At our team meeting [3 weeks after the training] we made plans to change some of our practice to emulate your formula. We agreed to use some of our Case Consultation meetings to devote to the preparation of a ‘child observation’ that we can share and use as opportunity for CPD.
Senior Primary CAMHS Specialist and Supervisor
Feedback from Family Workers, Social Workers & Youth Workers
All of the course was informative. I have developed a new understanding of family work. I have learnt new strategies to use to work with the families and above all, I feel more confident in my work – it’s valid and important!
Family Integration Worker
Thank you very much, the course was very interesting, enhancing my knowledge and understanding. I was looking forward to each session.
This course has an excellent level of interaction between examples, and discussion and sharing info, which holds attention well.
Having a better understanding will allow me to choose interventions that are more appropriate, and therefore more effective.
Senior Family Worker
Trainers have been very professional, always prepared and I could just draw from their expertise.
I tend [now] to communicate with adults/children in a way which is more sensitive to their emotions (mind mindedness). I also feel I am beginning to analyse children’s behaviour during observations. Very informative and interesting course. Facilitators very knowledgeable.
Family Integration Worker
I feel I make more detailed observations when visiting Families, I’m confident to ask about previous trauma & experiences to inform my work. I will use support sessions and reflective practice to inform my work and support others.
Family Integration Worker
Contact Rachel Pardoe about Commissioning a Training Course
The EarlyYES Babies In Our Minds and Who Am I? training courses are delivered online using Zoom, and can also be offered face-to-face in Bristol, the South West, Midlands and South Wales.
Dates (and venue if appropriate) are arranged with local commissioners, and local administrative staff coordinate recruitment of practitioners.
All practitioners will be issued with a certificate of attendance.
Course Fees & Finances
Babies In Our Minds and Who am I? are costed according to Modules taken – see Course Programmes.
£120 pp per full day module; £70pp per half day module.
Maximum number of practitioners for each module: 15
Please contact Rachel Pardoe for details.
Training is delivered online using Zoom, or locally to you.
Additional costs of face-to-face training include venue hire, and travel expenses for the trainers. (For courses outside Bristol, we will need two overnight hotel stays. If the venue is more than 90 mins drive from Bristol, we will need further nights’ accommodation.)
Participants will be advised to buy one or two books (or for these to be purchased by management).
Check list to help
- Secure funding for the training course (we will supply full costings)
- If face-to-face, agree with Rachel a suitable training venue with IT facilities.
- Identify an administrative staff member who can liaise, and inform Rachel Pardoe of who to invoice.
- Advertise the course by email using EarlyYES marketing information (we will supply this).
- Keep a record of applications (we will supply forms): ensure you have committed applicants who can attend the full course.
- Provide Rachel with names of practitioners, contact details, roles and organisations worked for.
- Continue liaison with Rachel, to send out information for practitioners and update as needed.