The prime task of a Parent Infant Partnership is to provide specialised, strength-based, therapeutic services that focus on the relationship between baby and parents where this might be at risk, with a view to enhancing the wellbeing and future development of the child.
In most cases, a secure relationship between a caregiver and their infant forms naturally and enjoyably. Occasionally, however, issues may prevent a parent being able to be attuned to their baby’s needs and respond in an appropriate way. A PIP team takes referrals based on a risk analysis, and does not need a diagnosed symptom in either parent or infant. These might include:
- a mental health difficulty;
- substance misuse;
- a parent’s own neglectful or abusive experiences in their own childhood;
- very challenging life circumstances.
A PIP therapist will work with the carers and infant together, unpacking problems that act as obstacles to forming a positive relationship. The therapy offered will depend on the family’s needs and may be delivered within the home or in a community setting such as a Children’s Centre or Community Hub. The work might involve just the family or a group.
What skills make a PIP team?
Parent Infant Partnerships involve multidisciplinary teams. Experience of parent-infant psychotherapy is an essential, but not exclusive, clinical component. The partners are bound together by a working knowledge of early childhood development, attachment theory and an awareness of the importance of the unconscious dynamics of parenting.
PIP therapists may include parent-infant psychotherapists, clinical psychologists, family therapists, specialist health visitors and key workers.
PIP teams are supported by a business manager and/or administrative support where possible.
Who is the PIP service for?
A PIP team offers specialised psychotherapeutic services to parents and their under-twos, beginning in pregnancy. Whenever possible, the father will be included in the work. The service is intended for all those caring for a child, whether a natural parent, foster or adoptive, grandparent or other.
Do PIP teams work with other agencies?
PIP teams work in full partnership with all the different forms of statutory provision in the UK, complimenting and cooperating with all NHS services for parents and babies. Like them, PIP UK is free at the point of delivery, providing relationship-based interventions that focus on the period from conception to age two. Referrals typically come to PIPs from health visitors, midwives, Children’s Centre staff, family nurses and social services. PIP staff also work with a much wider range of local agencies, such as other charities, family services, mental health teams including specific perinatal mental health services, domestic abuse services, substance misuse services, housing associations etc.