On 5th March the AiMH UK London Region Hub welcomed 47 participants to its second online event, ‘Babies & Young Children under Lockdown: Attunement and Adaptation. The event was a welcome opportunity for London region infant mental health practitioners to connect with each other. Outgoing London Region Hub lead Sara Rance reviews the event below and invites suggested themes for future hub events from AiMH UK London Hub members.

Monika Celebi, National Video Interaction Guidance (VIG) supervisor and trainer, and parent infant psychotherapist gave a moving presentation about her face to face and online work with parents: A Friendly Mirror – Reaching out to support parents and babies using video Interaction guidance. Monika described how she uses video to help parents to see themselves differently from the outside, and how, with the support of the therapist’s benign gaze, parents can be helped to review some of their negative projections and gain confidence in their capacities through seeing moments of positive connection with their infants – something especially valuable to isolated parents in lockdown times when they are largely deprived of the experience of being supported in their developing role by extended family, friends and wider social networks. Monika has published an edited volume, ‘Weaving the Cradle: Facilitating Groups to Promote Attunement and Bonding between Parents, their Babies and Toddlers’, Singing Dragon 2017

In her presentation ‘Settling in Unsettling times’, Debbie Brace, Early Language and Behaviour Consultant and founder of Baby Talk & Play introduced us to her work in the London Borough of Hounslow, where she and a colleague run the Let’s Talk Together programme for over 50 Early Years settings. She focused on the work supporting practitioners to observe, receive and respond to children’s communications of distress, for instance in the face of separation from their care-givers. Debbie has written about this work in her paper ‘Settling in’: exploring the complexities of observing and responding to young children’s communications of distress as they start day care’, in the Journal of Infant Observation. (Brace, 2021)

Monika and Debbie have kindly agreed to share their PowerPoint slides and these will be emailed to delegates who attended.

Reflective Groups

London Region Hub members were invited to stay for discussion in smaller reflective groups following the presentations.

This was my final event as Chair of the London Region Hub and I am delighted to be passing on the baton to Gwen Kirkwood, Child & Adolescent Psychotherapist and Parent Infant Psychotherapist, who runs a Specialist Parent Infant service within City and Hackney NHS CAMHS. Gwen will be supported in this role by Julianne Boutaleb, and other members of the London organising ‘Hubble’; Debbie Brace, Coretta Ogbuagu and Carol Levine. A request was made for an event focussing on parenting premature babies and those born with disabilities. The Hubble would welcome further suggestions of themes for future events.

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