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Perinatal art therapy: from pregnancy to 2 years old - NEW COURSE

This course gives an introduction to art therapy practice within perinatal parent-infant mental health. The perinatal period, parental mental illness and infant personality development are described in a theoretical context. The course explores how complex trauma has a trans-generational impact upon attachment and the parent-infant relationship. The practicalities of treatment planning including safeguarding risk and infant observations using video analysis are demonstrated using clinical materi

Friday 8th October 2021

9:30am - 16:30pm


Delivered via Zoom, information for the day & invite to join will be sent once booking has closed

Book Online Now

**This course is suitable for qualified Art Therapists and other qualified Creative and

Health professions from around the world**


One in five parents experience a perinatal mental illness. A UK post-lockdown report suggests this ratio has now increased. Many parents fear disclosing mental health issues, as they feel anxious that their baby will be removed from their care. The work presented focuses on marginalised families that have experienced complex relational adversity and deep-rooted traumas.


This course introduces a dynamic intergenerational mode of art therapy that has been shown to help parents gain a deeper understanding of themselves through the kinaesthetic nature of artmaking. With care, this can happen in the presence of their baby. The perinatal period is a time when parents’ sensitivity to their own childhood memories of being parented are often heightened. Links can be made between this and what is perceived to be hindering the parent-infant attachment relationship that is alive and current. Awareness can encourage repair and change. We explore how the therapist maximises the infant’s voice and models positive attunement whilst building parents confidence in attending to infant needs. Intergenerational repair during the perinatal period can achieve lifelong effect on a child’s neurological and personality development. The course is designed to strengthen theoretical understanding, bringing it alive with examples of infant observation, clinical formulation and practical guidance.


COVID-19 has curtailed sensory interventions like art therapy, yet touch is central to this population. We discuss work with parent-infant families and with dyads in groups, analysing the effectiveness of on-line delivery with physical proximity in secondary settings and community sites. Clinical and safeguarding supervision, and support from multi-disciplinary teams are also considered. This course covers the background context to art therapy and perinatal parent-infant mental health. Based on eco-systemic and psychoanalytic theory, we discuss the usefulness of art therapy in perinatal parent-infant mental health. We introduce a model of perinatal parent-infant art therapy that highlights the dynamic relationships formed between the parent and infant mind, the therapist’s mind and the objective position of the artwork made. We describe how video analysis that details examples of parent-infant interaction is shared in supervision and reviewed with parents. This runs alongside art-making to help facilitate bi-directional creativity and parental reflective function (mentalization).


We cover practical aspects of how intervention sessions can be structured in the clinic, community sites or adapted for on-line work. Risk, safeguarding and supervision are discussed alongside advice on suitable measures to evidence practice.


Participants may find it useful to have art-making materials such as clay, paper and ink as you will be given opportunities to reflect on course content.


On completing this course, you will have:

1. Gained a deeper theoretical understanding of perinatal mental health and infant personality development


2. Learnt how a transgenerational model of perinatal parent-infant art therapy can be applied to clinical work


3. Learnt how the perinatal period offers a small window of time to: (a) Help halt transmissions of deep-rooted trauma (b) Maximise parent-infant interaction to positively affect personality development (c) Value the use of video and artmaking in this field


4. Learnt how you might practically apply this learning to your clinical setting



Silvina Diaz-Bonino is a child and adolescent psychoanalytic psychotherapist trained at the Tavistock Centre, London. She works in the NHS with adults and infants in perinatal psychology. She teaches Infant Observation at postgraduate level and has contributed to the Infant Observation journal as an author and as part of the editorial board. She has a longstanding interest and ongoing research in the feeding relationship between mother and baby.


Diane Bruce is a qualified Art Psychotherapist registered with the Healthcare Professionals Council (HCPC). She completed a two-year IAPT infant mental health post graduate diploma at UCL Anna Freud Centre where she also qualified in Video Intervention Positive Parenting (VIPP). She underwent five years of personal psychoanalysis as part of her training.

Diane joined North-East London Foundation Trust (NELFT) in 2015 and currently works for the Perinatal Parent-Infant Mental Health Service (PPIMHS) Maternal Mental Health Team (MMHT). She is a clinical and safeguarding supervisor and an integrative practitioner informed by attachment, systemic and psychodynamic theory. Diane is a member of the British Association of Art Therapists (BAAT) where she teaches CPD in art therapy practice within perinatal parent infant mental health. She has also contributed as an author to Arts in Health books and to the International Journal of Art Therapy (IJAT).


Additional Information:


  • Booking will close 1-week prior to start date.
  • Reading materials and invite to join will be sent once booking has closed.


Full Unemployed or Retired Member: £90.00


Full Underemployed Member: £100.00


Full Member (Self Funded): £110.00


Associate Member: £110.00


Employer Funded BAAT Members: £145.00


Non-BAAT Member (Self or Employer Funded): £175.00


Please create a Free Booking Account if you don't have one or are not a member, here:


Employer Funded places for members or non-members, please download a course booking form here: Invoice Request Form - Course Booking Form.docx

Completed Booking Forms (with purchase order number and BAAT booking account number), please email to:


Please Note: We do not accept employer funded bookings without an employer purchase order.


Convenors: Diane Bruce & Silvina Diaz-Bonino

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