3-Day Intensive

Perinatal and Infant Mental Health: Using a Relationship-Based Approach to Perinatal Mood Disturbance

Perinatal and infant mental health is a specialised area of practice focusing on the health and development of parents and infants. The perinatal period is a vulnerable time for parent-infant and couple relationships.  It is the time of highest risk for a woman to develop, or have a reoccurrence of, a mental health condition.  Where maternal mood disturbance is present, working clinically with only maternal symptomatology is insufficient to address issues within the mother-infant relationship.  By contrast, working with the dyad can help both maternal symptoms and relationship difficulties if they are present.  Australian clinical practice guidelines recommend assessment of mother-infant interaction as an integral part of postnatal care (beyondblue, 2011; COPE, 2017).

A baby’s developmental needs can be forgotten in the midst of parental exhaustion, the chaos of early parenting and in the presence of mental health issues.  We explore ways to hold the baby in mind when working therapeutically with parents during the perinatal period.

Our signature training package includes a 3-day in-person intensive workshop followed by a 2-hr consultation in small groups via video conferencing.  

The workshop provides an overview of assessment, formulation and treatment in both the antenatal and postnatal phases incorporating the mother, father, infant and their relationships. Theories of development, attachment, interaction, object-relations, behaviour and cognition will be incorporated.  Participants can expect an introduction to theoretical models and practical applications in working therapeutically with parents, infants and the parent-infant relationship.  Detailed case studies are presented in Day 3 to strengthen formulation skills and highlight clinical work, with a focus on the mother-infant relationship and attachment themes.

The 3-day workshop is followed by a small group, 2-hour post-workshop consultation to help integrate the workshop material into your practice.  Research tells us that there are limitations to a ‘drop-in, fly-out’ stand-alone workshop style of learning.  The implementation and integration post-workshop consultation provides opportunity to discuss effective ways to integrate the material covered in the workshop in meaningful ways to your practice setting and the families you serve.  The consultation will be facilitated by Dr Bronwyn Leigh via video conferencing.  Several time options will be offered to maximise participants ability to attend.  The consultation will occur between 2-4 weeks post workshop.  Live participation is required, as the groups will not be recorded.  Participation in the post-workshop consultation is not compulsory but highly recommended to optimise your training experience.

Learning Objectives

  • Assess and formulate maternal presenting issues, infant presenting issues and the mother-infant relationship
  • Assess and formulate father and couple presenting issues
  • Outline attachment theory, patterns and interventions
  • Identify the importance of parental reflective function in the development of affect regulation and attachment
  • Describe and apply clinical principles from parent-infant interventions


“Working with families during the perinatal period offers unique therapeutic opportunities.  For parents, it is a time of developmental crisis when motivation is high to improve functioning and relationships.  For infants, we have an opportunity to positively influence the trajectory of their social, emotional and relational development.” ~ Dr Bronwyn Leigh


Who should attend

This workshop is designed for health professionals either currently working with, or who have a desire to work with, families during the perinatal period from a relational, developmental and attachment perspective.  In particular, this workshop is ideal for those who would like to include the infant and mother-infant relationship in the treatment of maternal mood disturbance.


Training and experience in mental health is assumed.  Assumed knowledge: experience in general assessment, diagnosis, formulation and treatment planning of mental health conditions.

Centre of Perinatal Excellence (COPE) have produced the Australian Clinical Practice Guideline: ‘Mental Health Care in the Perinatal Period’ (Austin, M-P, Highet, N. & the Expert Working Group, 2017).  It is assumed participants are familiar with these guidelines prior to the workshop.  In addition, COPE have developed a free accredited online training program for health professionals based on the national guidelines.  Completion of the online training prior to this workshop is highly recommended (link here to the training).  Content of the COPE guidelines are not covered in this workshop and is assumed knowledge.

Participant inclusions

  • Three full days of training with Dr Bronwyn Leigh
  • Small group, 2-hr Implementation and Integration Post-Workshop Consultation held in the weeks after the workshop via video conferencing
  • Detailed power point slides in booklet form as a post-training professional resource
  • Helpful handouts and articles in a mix of hard copy and electronic form
  • Recommendations for books, websites and further training opportunities
  • Certificate of Attendance
  • Centre for Perinatal Psychology Certificate of Completion electronic logo as part of our identity program
  • Option to continue your professional development upon course completion via access to individual or group supervision or consultancy with a Centre for Perinatal Psychology supervisor
  • For eligible and invited psychologists: opportunity for membership to the Centre for Perinatal Psychology, with our online national directory and private, supportive professional community


Registration Fee: TBC for 2020
Cost includes GST, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea, and all participant inclusions

Cancellation Policy
Cancellations: Full amount less $100 admin fee will be provided for cancellations received in writing up to two weeks prior to event. No refund after this time but registration is transferrable to another person to attend the same workshop.

When & Where

Monday 18, Tuesday 19 & Wednesday 20 March 2019
Mantra on Russell, CBD

Thursday 27, Friday 28 & Saturday 29 June 2019
The Grace Hotel, 77 York Street Sydney

9am-4.30pm daily
19.5 hrs of claimable CPD for the in-person workshop
2 additional hrs of claimable CPD if participating in the post-workshop consultation

2020 Dates

May 2020 – dates TBC – Registrations not yet open
Mantra on Russell, CBD

Ready to register?

Register for Melbourne – 18-20 March 2019 – Bookings closed

Registration for Sydney – 27-29 June 2019 – FULLY BOOKED

About the Presenter

Dr Bronwyn Leigh is a clinical psychologist, perinatal and infant clinician and early parenting consultant.  She is the Director of the Centre for Perinatal Psychology and consults in Fairfield Vic.  Bronwyn specialises in the psychological aspects of becoming a parent, the emotional development of infants, and parent-infant relationships.   She has contributed to research in the areas of maternal mood, prematurity and early parenting difficulties, and has been a national trainer in perinatal loss counselling.  She was the founding member and inaugural National Convener of the Australian Psychological Society’s Perinatal and Infant Psychology Interest Group (PIPIG).  Bronwyn is experienced in the provision of clinical supervision, training and consultancy and has published in academic journals, presented at conferences and provided media interviews.  Bronwyn co-authored Towards Parenthood: Preparing for the Changes and Challenges of a New Baby (ACER Press, 2009) a self-help reflective guidebook for parents during pregnancy and in the first year after having a baby.

Bronwyn has facilitated this PIMH workshop since 2012.  It started as a 2-day workshop but the feedback was overwhelmingly that participants wanted more!  So, it is now offered as a 3-day intensive. It has run in Cairns, Brisbane, Darwin, Alice Springs, Melbourne, Launceston and Hobart with participants from around Australia and overseas.

Bronwyn has facilitated workshops for the Northern Territory Government (Darwin and Alice Springs) and DHHS Victoria.

Interested in what others think about the workshop?

Psychologists are heavily restricted in the ways testimonials can be used.  We are not allowed to use testimonials about an individual psychologist or their service.  We are able to use testimonials from trainings, so here are a few from previous PIMH workshops facilitated by Bronwyn.  These testimonials comment on workshop content:

“Essential, unforgettable training”
“Great balance between theoretical frame and practice considerations”
 “Easily digestible yet comprehensive content”
 “Effective blend of theory and practice”
 “Liked the case vignettes and clinical insights”
 “Haven’t attended a course that so appropriately met my needs”
“Useful – Validating – Researched – Contemporary – Applicative – Resourceful”
“Liked the ability to discuss, problem solve and reflect on the theories and strategies discussed and then apply them to specific case examples”
 “The theory underlying attachment was especially valuable to me”
 “Best presentation of attachment”
“Liked opportunities for discussion and reflection”
“Very relevant case presentations to represent the different attachment styles.  Clear format of formulation and treatment planning, with a good amount of detail in order to apply the learnings to my practice”
“Exceeded expectations – would recommend to others”
“This has been the most relevant and engaging workshop I’ve attended over the last few years”
“This was an excellent workshop.  One of the best.  Worth travelling interstate for”


Ready to register?

Register for Melbourne – 18-20 March 2019 – Bookings closed

Registration for Sydney – 27-29 June 2019 – FULLY BOOKED

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