EVENT POSTPONED – We regret to inform you that, due to unexpected circumstances, we must postpone the upcoming event. However, we are excited to announce that it will now take place as our National Conference on Thursday, November 21st 2024. Further information will be provided as soon as it becomes available.

Refunds will be issued to those who have already purchased tickets, and we apologise sincerely for any inconvenience this may cause and we hope you will join us at this event in November.

The AiMH UK Spring workshop will now focus on the collaboarative event we are running with ADBB; ‘The Alarm Distress Baby Scale – 3-hour workshop,’ with Alexandre Deprez on Tuesday 23rd April. details here

Any queries contact info@aimh.uk

Best wishes and thank you for your continued support.

‘A Fresh Look at Mentalisation: Supporting Parental Mentalisation to Enhance Parent Baby Connection’.

This conference will bring you up to date with the latest research on mentalisation and its practical application to working with parents of infants. This event is for all professionals working with babies and their parents. It will provide you with the knowledge and skills to:

  • Help parents recognise and respond to their baby’s communications
  • Increase parent-infant connection
  • Enhance babies developing sense of security

Mentalisation is the two-fold ability firstly, to understand our own minds and secondly, the ability to enter another’s mind and to respond with understanding. Babies whose caregivers can mentalise (both for themselves and for their baby) are soothed and grow to understand their feelings and experiences and ultimately, have an accurate sense of themselves as a person. Having a parent or carer who can mentalise is therefore foundational to infant well-being and future mental health.

Michelle Sleed, senior research psychologist at the Anna Freud Centre, will present current findings on understanding and assessing parental mentalising. Michelle’s research lens will also illuminate the essence of being a mentalising practitioner!

Joanne Greenway and Gerry Byrne, who both lead programmes which support parental mentalising will share with us the sensitive, practical and applicable approaches that practitioners can take to support parental mentalisation.

Programme of the event

9:00 Jane Barlow, President of AiMH UK


9:10 Michelle Sleed, Senior research psychologist at the Anna Freud Centre

How to be a Mentalising Practitioner

10:00 Joanne Greenway, Therapeutic family time & intervention service manager – The Daisy Programme

Promoting Mentalisation Skills in Parents from Pregnancy to Early Infancy

10:45 Break

11:00 Gerry Byrne, consultant child and adolescent psychoanalytic psychotherapist (Tavistock), The Lighthouse Parenting Programme

Using Mentalisation to Foster Safe Relationships between Parents and their Young Children

12:00 Programme close


CPD HOURS 3 – All attendees will be sent a certificate.

Add to your IMH Portfolio on the AiMH UK IMH CPD Programme




Michelle Sleed – How to be a Mentalising Practitioner

Michelle will present a review of the current research on parental mentalisation and will link this research to practice to demonstrate how we can understand and assess parental capacity for mentalising. Michelle will also present recent findings on practitioner mentalisation: for example, what triggers make a practitioner lose their mentalising capacity and jump to quick judgments; the connection between practitioner capacity for mentalising and recognising risk to infants; the importance of recognising pre-mentalising modes in parents (the inability to hold their baby’s mental states in mind or malevolent attributions to the baby).

Michelle’s talk will help practioners to:

  • Take in the latest research on parental mentalising
  • Understand how they can develop their own capacity for mentalising
  • Use their mentalising capacity to recognise risk to infants

Joanne Greenway – The Daisy Programme: Promoting Mentalisation Skills in Parents from Pregnancy to Early Infancy.

Joanne will describe the sensitive work of the Daisy Programme which is a pre-birth and early infancy programme which supports parents whose babies are on the edge of being taken into care. The programme aims to promote positive parent-infant relationships and to prevent the need for parent-infant separation and care-proceedings by providing intensive attachment and mentalisation-based support to vulnerable parents as they transition to parenthood.

Joanne will demonstrate how parents with traumatic early histories are helped to understand their own story with compassion, to understand their previous harmful responses to children who were taken into care and how they are then prepared and equipped to be sensitively responsive to their babies when they are born.

Whilst the Daisy Programme was piloted for women with babies on the edge of being taken into care, its principles are relevant to work with any parents who may be struggling with their relationship with their baby. Joanne will describe the Daisy programme’s ‘Mentalise & Attach Pathway’ and will provide practical tools for professionals to:

  • Help parents to look back and make sense of their own narrative, so that they are better equipped to make thoughtful responses to their baby.
  • Help parents identify trigger points that have led them to make unsafe choices for themselves, their baby and any other children.


Gerry Byrne – The Lighthouse Parenting Programme – Fostering Parental Curiosity and Safe Relating between Parents and their Young Children.

The Lighthouse Parenting Programme aims to create safe parenting experiences for babies by enhancing parental mentalising. Its strength lies in engaging hard to reach parents, who typically do not benefit from parenting programmes.

The Lighthouse Parenting Programme is designed to foster in parents an active curiosity about their baby or child’s inner world and a readiness in parents to reflect on their own thoughts, feelings, and reactions. It supports parents to make sense of misunderstandings in their relationship with their young children, including misunderstandings that arise from unresolved difficulties in the parent’s own attachment history. It equips parents to inhibit harmful responses in those moments of misunderstanding and to repair ruptures arising from these misunderstandings in their relationship with their child. The Lighthouse Programme has an evidence based including in a randomly controlled trial.

Lighthouses have traditionally warned sailors of hazards, helped establish their position, and served as a beacon for navigational aid, guiding them to their destination. In the same way, the Lighthouse Programme serves to warn parents of hazards in relating to their child, helps to establish their position as an emotionally receptive and responsive parent and serves as a beacon, guiding parents to the safe harbour of healthy parent-child relating.


Gerry will use video case examples from the Lighthouse Parenting Programme and participant discussion to help professionals to:

  • Foster parental curiosity about their child’s experiences
  • Support parents to inhibit angry responses towards their young child
  • Help parents to relate to their child in an emotionally healthy way

Gerry will also bring the conference full circle and guide us as to how we can put into practice the essence of Michelle Sleed’s research findings.

Download the Full Programme & Bios