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The Fundamentals of Perinatal Practice

Module titleThe Fundamentals of Perinatal Practice
Module codePYCM092
Academic year2020/1
Module staff

Dr Heather O'Mahen (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

This is the first module on the Perinatal Clinical Psychology Training (PCPT) programme. Of the four modules, this is the only compulsory module. If you are taking this module, you are required to be clinical or counselling psychologist working in specialist perinatal mental health services. The modules have been developed in response to a Health Education England (HEE) tender to support the training of these professionals in new and recently-funded posts across England and cover HEE and British Psychological Society (BPS) perinatal competencies.

This module will include topics on the perinatal frame of mind, perinatal assessment, risk, treatment for psychosis, depression and Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD). It includes topics of fundamental importance to understanding and applying evidence-based practice in the perinatal population. It will provide key information about the perinatal period, including common health, social, psychological and infant developmental factors that affect parents and infants during pregnancy and the postnatal period. You will gain key skills in using this knowledge to adapt assessment and evidence-based interventions for depression and GAD, including effective ways to adapt the delivery of interventions to effectively reach parents and infants.

The module will be taught using a variety of pedagogical approaches including structured, online, distance-learning materials, and face-to-face workshops with world-class experts in the field and remotely-delivered action-based learning groups facilitated by experienced perinatal clinical psychologists. The distance-learning materials are designed to communicate to you and engage you in the underpinning knowledge-base for the topic area. This learning will prepare you for further teaching, skills practice and opportunities for reflection on learning both in the workshops and in the action-based learning groups.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The module aims to provide opportunities for you to develop and demonstrate knowledge, understanding and skills in the following areas:

  • Specialist perinatal clinical assessment skills and psychological therapy competencies in delivering perinatally adapted, evidence-based, National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)-recommend interventions
  • Specialist perinatal competencies in working with psychosis, depression and GAD.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Describe perinatal factors affecting mental health problems and how mental health problems affect the parent-infant relationship.
  • 2. Conduct comprehensive perinatal mental health assessments and formulation.
  • 3. Conduct a comprehensive perinatal risk assessment
  • 4. Provide perinatally-adapted, culturally sensitive psychological interventions.
  • 5. Account for couple and family needs in perinatal psychological interventions.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 6. Practise as a scientist practitioner, advancing your knowledge and understanding and develop new skills to a high level.
  • 7. Implement psychologically-informed assessment, formulation, intervention and evaluation.

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 8. Take personal responsibility for clinical decision making in straightforward and complex situations
  • 9. Tackle and solve therapeutic problems with self-direction and originality
  • 10. Adapt psychological practice with sensitivity, ensuring equitable access to people with diverse needs and presentations

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

Structured, online, distance-learning content will include:

  • The perinatal frame of mind
  • Basics in adapting transdiagnostic approaches to the perinatal period.
  • Foundations of Interpersonal therapy for transitions and complicated grief.
  • Self-compassion approaches

The two-day remote (or face-to-face) workshop will include:

  • Perinatal assessment, formulation and care planning, (including parent-infant relationship, perinatal psychosis, client experience/relationship ruptures)
  • Assessing and managing perinatal risk
  • Medication/safety (and therapy) during the perinatal period
  • Adapting evidence-based treatments and approaches for clients with perinatal depression
  • Functional analytic approaches


  • IPT for transitions and complicated grief
  • Strategies for tolerating perinatal uncertainty

Four action-based learning groups will be delivered fortnightly remotely (using zoom or skype video-conferencing) following the workshop, in groups of approximately six students, for two hours and will be facilitated by an experienced perinatal psychologist. The final session will include assessment of application of learning to practice via a case presentation (see assessment information). The content will focus on your individual goals for applying the module learning to practice.

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching2Structured online materials to be completed prior to attendance at workshops
Scheduled Learning and Teaching13Face-to-face workshops teaching on module content including skills practice and reflective exercises
Scheduled Learning and Teaching8Remotely delivered action-based learning groups focussed on implementation of learning in clinical practice
Guided Independent Study18Guided independent study and clinical practice


Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Case presentation5020 minutes1-10Oral and written feedback
Practice diary and reflective summary 504 weekly diary/log entries submitted with a 500-word reflective summary of learning as applied to practice1-10Written
Self-rated assessment of competency pre- and post-module01-10Requires completion only


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Case presentationWritten case report addressing areas previously failed1-10Within four weeks of original feedback
Practice diary and reflective summary4 weekly diary/log entries submitted with a 500-word reflective summary of learning as applied to practice addressing areas previously failed1-10Within four weeks of original feedback
Self-rated assessment of competency pre- and post-moduleNot applicableNot applicableNot applicable


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Ahmed, A., Stewart, D. E., Teng, L., Wahoush, O., & Gagnon, A. J. (2008). Experiences of immigrant new mothers with symptoms of depression. Archives of Women's Mental Health11(4), 295.
  • Dennis, C-L.,Chung-Lee,L., (2006). PND help-seeking barriers and maternal treatment preferences: A qualitative systematic review. Birth, 33, 323–331.
  • Dimidjian, S., & Goodman, S. (2009). Nonpharmacological Intervention and Prevention Strategies for Depression during Pregnancy and the Postpartum. Clinical obstetrics and gynecology52(3), 498.
  • Negron, R., Martin, A., Almog, M., Balbierz, A., & Howell, E. A. (2013). Social support during the postpartum period: mothers’ views on needs, expectations, and mobilization of support. Maternal and child health journal17(4), 616-623.
  • O’Mahen, H.A.,Henshaw, E., Fedock, G., Himle, J., Forman, J., & Flynn, H. (2012). Modifying CBT for perinatal depression: What do women want? A qualitative study. Cognitive and Behavioural Psychotherapy, 19,2, 359-371.
  • Woolhouse, H., Brown, S., Krastev, A., Perlen, S., & Gunn, J. (2009). Seeking help for anxiety and depression after childbirth: results of the Maternal Health Study. Archives of women's mental health12(2), 75-83.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

  • ELE page: URL?

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Perinatal mental health, depression

Credit value
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date