Book your place

Thursday 16th November 9.30am – 3.30pm

The focus of the AiMH UK National Conference 2023 is on ‘moments that matter’ – small, but significant steps professionals can take to support parent-baby relationships.

Experts in early relational health will share relationship-based and evidence-based practice which can positively influence the future well-being of babies.

They will discuss simple yet effective approaches for practitioners to enhance their work with parents and infants.

Early Bird tickets now available until October 27th 2023.

Members: £25 Non-Members: £45 (plus booking fees)

(Normal price tickets from October 28th: Members £35 Non-Members £55)

If you have an organisation / team or centre you would like to purchase tickets for please contact Lin Carruthers @

Book your place

Conference programme

9:30 to 9:40 Jane Barlow – Welcome

9:40 to 10:30 Debbie Brace & Rebecca Leuw, Reach Foundation, London

Introducing a Relationship-Based Approach to Working with Babies and Their Families.

Debbie and Rebecca will be asking “What does it mean to keep relationships at the centre of a parent-infant service? What does this actually look and sound like in practice?” They will illustrate their approach drawing on their group sessions with babies and families. This approach is also applicable to work with parents and infants in all settings. Debbie and Rebecca have created a universal model in Feltham, Greater London, which aims to increase the amount of emotionally connected moments between parents and their babies. This work is now to be scaled up across the borough and has been commissioned by the Hounslow Family Hubs. They will be conveying the essence of this ‘relationship centred approach’ demonstrating how getting the relational details right really matters and how these details are integral to developing a successful infant mental health service. 

10:30 to 11:30 Mariam Malik, LEAP Project, London

Now We’re Talking: Scaffolding Parent Baby Interactions and Language Development

Mariam is a Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapist for the LEAP (Learn Language, Empower, Aspire & Play) Project in Enfield, London. She will discuss how all practitioners working with parents and babies can support and create the conditions necessary for optimal early language development and why this is significant. Mariam has a special interest in equitable practice and will explore how speech and language therapy can be used to counter social disadvantage.

11:30 to 11:45 Coffee Break


11:45 to 12:30 Hannah Swan & Jessica Thomas, Little Minds Matter Team, Bradford

Moments That Matter: using everyday moments to promote connection.

The Little Minds Matter Team (Bradford’s Infant Mental Health Service) will talk about their work with parents and babies in the Bradford community, which focusses on using everyday moments to promote connection. They will share a community-based video that was co-created with local parents/ carers, capturing simple, fun and soothing parent-baby interactions, which don’t take long and don’t cost anything, but whose cumulative impact can last a lifetime. They will share some examples of their work with parents/ carers and babies to illustrate the powerful impact of moments of connection.


12:30 to 13:15 Pauline Lee, Tameside and Glossop Early Attachment Service

Cradling the Parent’s Past and the Baby’s Future: Exploring Therapeutic Challenges

Pauline will describe how, when working therapeutically with parents and babies, there is often more than one baby in the room. Through case material, Pauline will demonstrate how we need to be attuned and sensitive to the parent’s own baby self and their adult needs as well as the needs of the baby, and their relationship. Additionally, it is also important we pay attention to our own selves; our own infantile feelings and thoughts that will emerge in the room. Pauline will present two psychotherapeutic cases (antenatal and postnatal) highlighting the different infant voices that come into sessions, and the challenge of how to talk to the parent and baby about them. Who do you attend to first, when it can seem both parent and baby need help at the same time. 

13:15 to 14:00 Lunch Break


14:00 to 15:00 Professor Mary Dozier.

As simple as ABC: how practitioners can use ‘in the moment’ feedback to promote safe, enjoyable and nurturing parent-baby relationships.

ABC (Attachment and Biobehavioural Catch-Up) is an attachment-focussed approach which supports parents to stay emotionally and physically available to their infants. The ABC approach is brief and strengths-based and designed to build parenting confidence. It has been developed and refined over 30 years in Mary’s lab at the University of Delaware, USA. Mary will describe how the ABC has been developed and how it is put into practice. Videos of parents and infants will be used to illustrate the approach. Mary will also demonstrate the remarkable evidence-base for the ABC, which enhances parental sensitivity and demonstrates positive outcomes for babies, which are sustained through early childhood and into adolescence.

15:00 to 15:30 Kerry Taylor and Bea Birtwel, BrightPIP, Brighton.

Evidence Based Intervention with Parents & Babies: Adapting the ABC to UK Culture

ABC (Attachment & Biobehavioural Catch-Up) is widely used in the USA to support families where there have been difficulties in early attachment. BrightPIP is the first organisation in the UK to train in the ABC approach. We are delighted that Kerry and Bea will be talking to us about their experience of introducing the ABC approach in the UK. They will describe the successful adjustments they have made to fit the approach with UK culture and the next steps in UK wide dissemination.

Download the Conference Programme

Speaker Bios

Debbie Brace – Early Language and Behaviour Consultant (Baby Talk & Play)

Debbie Brace created Baby Talk and Play in 2010 and is commissioned as early language and behaviour consultant to work with babies and their families, schools and early years settings in the Hounslow borough.

Historically a qualified teacher with a degree in Drama, Debbie couples her M9 Tavistock training in infant mental health with her colleague’s expertise as a speech and language therapist. Together they co-created and have been commissioned by the Hounslow borough for over a decade to lead, the ‘Let’s Talk Together’ programme. LTT is an early language development training programme which supports and encourages the early years workforce to think and reflect deeply on their interactions with babies and young children in their care.

She is a joint winner of the The Louise Emanuel Essay Prize (2019), an annual award presented for an outstanding piece of writing in the area of Infant Mental Health. This writing informed her recently published paper on the subject of ‘Settling In’ which explores the complexities of observing and responding to distress in day care.

Since 2021- Debbie has worked with Rebecca Leuw developing relational work with babies and their families in the West of Hounslow through the Reach Foundation. She is now working as part of the New Hounslow Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Family Hub team to continue and develop this work across the borough.

Brace (2021): ‘Settling In’: Exploring the complexities of observing and responding to young children’s communications of distress as they start day care, Infant Observation, DOI: 10.1080/13698036.2021.1875869


Rebecca Leuw – Parent and Infant Mental Health Lead (Reach Foundation)

After years of working in the charity sector, and after having two daughters, Rebecca took a slightly different path and retrained as an antenatal teacher and baby massage instructor to work directly with families. She then went on to a number of service delivery roles within national and local projects that focused on the perinatal period.

More recently, together with Debbie, Rebecca has been developing and refining the Reach Foundation’s perinatal offer, an approach to the first 1001 days that puts relationships at the heart of the work. This has now been commissioned through the Hounslow Family Hubs and Rebecca has been seconded to work as their Parent and Infant Mental Health Lead rolling out a programme of universal, targeted and specialist services for families to support foundational relationships.


Mariam Malik – Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapist (LEAP Project)

Mariam is a highly specialist speech and language therapist in early years. She has an interest in centring the implications of the social and political determinants of health in the lives of children under 5.

This is a priority in her community centred practice across the NHS and her involvement with charitable organisation, the Magpie Project.

Mariam is a part time lecturer at the university of Essex in their school of health, and is editor of recently published ‘A vision from the margin; Intersectional insights on navigating diversity in speech and language therapy’.


Hannah Swan – Clinical Psychologist and Clinical Lead (Little Minds Matter,Bradford’s Infant Mental Health Service)

Hannah Swan is a Clinical Psychologist and one of the Clinical Leads for Little Minds Matter, Bradford’s Infant Mental Health Service. After qualifying, Hannah specialised in Child Development for eight years before moving into Infant Mental Health, her first love – the field she worked in before doing her training.

Hannah is passionate about supporting parent-infant relationships to get off to the best start possible, reocognising how this lays the foundations for future wellbeing and development. Outside of work, Hannah is a Mum to a lovely and lively two. She enjoys the outdoors, plays basketball, and also the steel pans (or tries to).


Jessica Thomas – Infant Mental Health Midwife (Little Minds Matter,Bradford’s Infant Mental Health Service)

Jessica Thomas is an Midwife who joined the Little Minds Matter team in June of 2023. After qualifying in 2017, Jess worked in the hospital supporting families before following her passion of supporting maternal and infant mental health.

She is passionate about nurturing the parent-infant relationship and reducing the stigma surrounding needing support. Outside of work, Jess is an animal lover and devoted cat mum. She loves to knit and can often be found with her head buried in a book.


Pauline Lee – Consultant Clinical Psychologist &Psychoanalyst (Tameside and Glossop Early Attachment Service)

Dr Pauline Lee is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Psychoanalyst. She has worked for over 16 years in perinatal and parent infant mental health in the NHS.

She developed the Tameside and Glossop Early Attachment Service based on a psychoanalytic model which is now being replicated in 9 other boroughs across Greater Manchester (GM).

She is currently the GM Lead for Parent Infant Mental Health and also works in private practice.


Mary Dozier – Chair and Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences (University of Delaware, USA)

She has studied the development of young children in foster care and young children living with neglecting birth parents, examining challenges in attachment and regulatory capabilities. Along with her graduate students and research team, she developed an intervention, Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up (ABC), for parents of vulnerable infants. Through randomized clinical trials, ABC has been demonstrated to be effective in enhancing parental sensitivity and children’s behavioral and biological functioning.

In 2016 she was named the Francis Alison Professor, the university’s highest faculty honor. In 2018 she received the International Society for Infancy Studies Translational Research Aware and was the 2019 recipient of the American Psychological Association Urie Bronfenbrenner Award for Lifetime Contribution in Developmental Psychology in the Service of Science and Society.


Dr Kerry Taylor – Clinical Psychologist &Clinical Director (BrightPIP)

Dr Kerry Taylor founded and leads BrightPIP (Brighton Parent Infant Psychological Therapy). She has worked with families for 25 years and is passionate about working right at the beginning to prevent mental health problems.

As a parent as well as a clinician Kerry strongly believes that young families need to be respected and cherished. Kerry is a Clinical Psychologist and experienced Clinical Director specialising in parent-infant mental health, parenting and parent-child attachment.

She holds additional qualifications as a Play Therapist, in Eye Movement De-sensitisation and Re-processing (EMDR), Video Interaction Guidance (VIG), as an Expert Witness in Family Law (Cardiff University Bond Solon) and most recently in Attachment and Biobehavioural Catch-up (ABC).


Dr Bea Birtwell – Clinical Psychologist (BrightPIP)

Bea is an HCPC-registered Clinical Psychologist (PYL29276). She has worked with parents and carers of infants and children in a number of settings over the last 18 years including inpatient, community, statutory and voluntary, from pregnancy into childhood.

With a passion for timely, tailored care and support, she believes in the power of parenthood for motivating change.

She specialised in parent-infant psychological interventions during clinical psychology training and is trained in a number of evidence-based approaches that have been shown to benefit under-fives, including the Incredible Years, Mellow Bumps, Mellow Parenting, Triple P, and most recently undertaking a year long accreditation in abc intervention, an attachment-based parenting intervention for caregivers with babies age 6-24 months.

Book your place