Perinatal Loss

Bearing the Unbearable: A Relationship-Based Training Program for Perinatal Loss

We are delighted to offer our Perinatal Loss training program: a comprehensive, integrated training program for working therapeutically with perinatal loss.

Perinatal loss is like no other form of loss.  Birth and death join together in a way that does not fit our understanding of natural order.

The field of perinatal loss is a vast landscape covering preconception and assisted conception issues, early and late miscarriage, termination including genetic/medical termination, prematurity, stillbirth and neonatal death.  Perinatal loss is more than the loss of a baby.  Perinatal loss is the loss of an attachment relationship. The loss of dreams and hopes.  Subsequently, feelings of shame, guilt, isolation, and disenfranchised grief are common when perinatal loss is present.

Pregnancy or infant loss is enormously impactful to parents, leaving them on shaky, uncertain ground. Perinatal loss challenges a woman’s fertile self-image, leaving her to question her capacity to create, gestate and deliver something alive and good.

A baby is not only gestated in utero, but is also gestated in mind…when a baby dies, so too do the hopes and dreams attached to that baby.

Working with families bereaved from pregnancy and infant death can be harrowing.  The emotionally-charged nature of perinatal loss lands the clinician squarely in the territory of unbearable, intolerable and unspeakable aspects of human experience.  The clinician is required to join with their patient/client to bear the unbearable, tolerate the intolerable and find words for the unspeakable experiences that occur when a pregnancy ends and a baby dies.

The Perinatal Training Centre has developed a comprehensive, integrated, relationship-based training program for working therapeutically with bereavement following a perinatal loss.  

Learning Objectives

  • Identify key features and types of perinatal loss;
  • Differentiate between perinatal loss and loss at other times in the lifespan;
  • Outline and apply multiple grief models relevant to perinatal loss;
  • Locate perinatal loss within a developmental frame, highlighting normative psychological transitions through pregnancy and postpartum and how these processes may be affected/interrupted by perinatal loss;
  • Assess and formulate presenting issues from a relational perspective, integrating psychodynamic, attachment theory principles and mindful self-compassion;
  • Examine affective ways to support parents through pregnancy after perinatal loss;
  • Consider parallel processes in this therapeutic work

Our training program includes 12.5-hrs of Continuing Professional Development.  Content will be delivered via three components:

  • Video tutorials – 2.5-hrs
  • ‘Live’ online immersive workshop – 8-hrs
  • Implementation and integration post-workshop consultation – 2-hrs
  1. Video tutorials:

Participants will complete a series of six 20-30-minute video tutorials that will orient them to concepts, theories and models of grief, and relevant concepts and theories in the field of perinatal and infant mental health.

Video tutorial topics include:

  1. Overview of perinatal loss
  2. Models of grief
  3. Developmental frames of practice
  4. Developmental frames of practice
  5. Relational frames of practice
  6. Clinical considerations

Participants will be invited to actively reflect on the material as it is relevant to the families and communities they serve, in order to personalise the information and optimise the training experience.   Participants will be given access to the video tutorials 4-weeks prior to the in-person workshop.

  1. ‘Live’ online training:

This will provide the opportunity for participants to take a deep dive into the ideas presented in the video tutorials.  Participants will be oriented to the material from the video tutorials and be primed to explore the therapeutic application of the material in greater depth within a supportive space where there is a sharing of wisdom. The workshops will be facilitated by two or more of the Training Team, where the emphasis is on therapeutic formulation and intervention at an advanced level.

  1. Post-workshop consultation:

The immersive 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 one or more of the training team via video conferencing.  Several time options will be offered to maximise participants ability to attend.  The consultation will occur between 2 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.

“Working with families bereaved from pregnancy and infant loss is harrowing – it requires bearing the unbearable alongside them. Our training program positions you to hold the complexities of difficult experiences and create a containing psychological nest for your patients to experience and make sense of their grief.”   ~ Dr Bronwyn Leigh

Who should attend

This workshop is designed for multidisciplinary health professionals either currently working with, or who have a desire to work with, families bereaved following a pregnancy or infant loss, as well as those holding parents through a subsequent pregnancy.  The training program is primarily targeted at those working in an ongoing therapeutic capacity with bereaved parents.  First responders, eg., delivery suite nurses, sonographers, OBs, may benefit from the training too, but this is not our primary target audience.


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

Participant inclusions

  • 12.5-hrs of Professional Development training with our dedicated and experienced Training Team of perinatal psychologists, comprising:
    • Video tutorials totalling 2.5 hrs
    • Live, online workshop totalling 8 claimable hrs
    • 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 provided at the workshop 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
  • Perinatal Training Centre 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 Perinatal Training Centre supervisor
  • Eligible to participate in our Reflective Supervision Groups


Registration Fee: $ 760
Cost includes GST and all participant inclusions

Cancellation Policy
Cancellations: Full amount less $100 admin fee will be provided for cancellations received in writing more than four weeks prior to event, where video content has not been accessed. Strictly NO refund after this time irrespective of circumstances. 

When & Where – 2022 Workshop Dates – All Online

Group 1

Workshop Days:
Friday 10th and Saturday 11th June 2022

10am-2.30pm each day (AEST)

Follow-up consultation (attend only one):
Friday 24 June – 10am-12noon, or
Saturday 25 June – 10am-12noon
(choose when booking)

Dr Bronwyn Leigh, Dr Charise Deveney & Julie King


Group 2

Workshop Days:

Friday 25th and Saturday 26th November 2022
10am-2.30pm each day (AEDT)

Follow-up consultation, either:
Friday 9 Dec – 10am-12noon (AEDT)
Saturday 10 Dec – 10am-12noon (AEDT)
(choose when booking)

Facilitators: Dr Charise Deveney, Carla Anderson, Dr Bronwyn Leigh


Meet the Training Team

Centre for Perinatal Psychology is a trusted training provider in the field of perinatal and infant mental health (PIMH).   We have held contracts for the provision of PIMH training with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Victoria, the Northern Territory Government and the Government of South Australia. Independently, we have offered training nationally in PIMH since 2012.

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 the Perinatal Training Centre.  Bronwyn is deeply interested in the psychological aspects of becoming a parent, the emotional development of infants, and parent-infant relationships.  Her interest in perinatal loss is long-standing and preceded her qualification as a psychologist, volunteering as a telephone grief counsellor to parents bereaved from pregnancy loss or neonatal death. She later held an honorary position as the national trainer in perinatal loss counselling for the Bonnie Babes Foundation, travelling Australia to train others in perinatal loss counselling.  She has provided media interviews discussing perinatal loss and grief and has facilitated various workshops in the perinatal field nationally.

Carla Anderson is a psychologist working in her private practice Perinatal, Child and Family Psychology for the past thirteen years, with a special interest working with families within the perinatal period, particularly perinatal loss. Carla’s passion began prior to this with the Bonnie Babes Foundation as a volunteer telephone grief counsellor for families who had experienced a miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal death. She then held an honorary position as a national trainer in perinatal loss counselling. Carla then went on to volunteer as a telephone grief counsellor for Angel Babies. Carla has also been involved in a number of national projects and training programs within the perinatal field, and recently published a journal article on Pregnancy-related fears.

Dr Charise Deveney is a clinical psychologist.  Charise founded Let’s Talk Psychology Practice in Sydney in 2008 and since that time has worked with a strong perinatal and infant mental health focus.  In 2016 Charise completed specialist perinatal and infant mental health training with the NSW Institute of Psychiatry.  Charise is currently undertaking a PhD through the University of Sydney and Australasian Research Institute examining risk factors for perinatal mood disorders.  For the past 10-years Charise has been facilitating a private group program that supports women with the transition into motherhood.  Psychodynamic, attachment, and relational-based frameworks guide Charise’s work with perinatal women and infants.

Julie King is a Psychologist and Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Clinician.  After a long career working with children and their parents, Julie began working specifically with parents and infants in 2003. She was lucky to be part of a team that offered home visiting to parents and infants and included weekly case conferences and supervision. She found this work very rewarding and was keen to enhance her knowledge and skills. She initially enrolled in a Graduate Diploma in 2006 and then completed her Masters in Perinatal & Infant Mental Health in 2011. She began her private practice in 2008.  As a Senior Psychologist Julie provided hands on training in infant mental health (including joint casework) to colleagues in her local Child and Youth Mental Health (CYMHS) team.  Julie is acutely aware of the vulnerability experienced by parents in the transition to parenthood. That vulnerability is felt more acutely when also coupled with perinatal loss. Julie has seen a lot of grieving parents in both her public and private work. Julie is passionate about helping parents and families at these times. Julie also has specific skills in helping very young siblings grappling with family loss. Julie strongly believes it’s important that all families receive sensitive and informed care. Julie is therefore delighted to be part of the team offering this training. Julie has always been keen to share the substantial “treasure” of practice wisdom and research in the perinatal and infant mental health field and has delivered a number of papers at conferences and MHPN meetings.

Interested in what others think about our training?

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 our sold-out Melbourne debut in October 2019 facilitated by Bronwyn, Julie, Charise & Carla.  These testimonials comment on workshop content:

“This training was absolutely superb – thank you for providing such a vital and dynamic learning space.”
“A very clear and informative workshop – gave me a great foundation to use in my work. I would highly recommend this workshop to others.”
“Thank you for creating such a beautiful, reflective and client-centred training.”
“I appreciated the collaborative approach that was fostered throughout the training and wisdom sharing – it was refreshing.”
“Fantastic training.  Well planned and paced. Excellent level of content.”
“Frameworks / ways to conceptualise SUPER helpful.”
“I really liked having the tutorials beforehand to be able to process the information and reflect on cases prior to the training.  I found this maximised what I was able to get from the training.”
“It was – as usual – a truly great CPP workshop!”
“Really engagingly presented.”
“I am really grateful and inspired to continue with this part of my career.” 

“Very informative and practical application.”
“The wisdom of the presenters was evident … and the examples from their own work was invaluable.”
“Handouts and 
participation in application of principles to cases was very useful.”
“The videos were great in preparing for the workshop.”
“I am so grateful for the graciousness of the Centre – the training you put on has excellent content, a great level it’s pitched at, excellent opportunity to reflect on my current practice and actionable tasks moving forward.”
“Well done on delivering such a comprehensive & well organised training program!”

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