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Parent-Infant Relationship Problems and Eating Disorders

Module titleParent-Infant Relationship Problems and Eating Disorders
Module codePYCM094
Academic year2020/1
Module staff

Dr Ann Hockaday (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks



Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

This is an optional module on the Perinatal Clinical Psychology Training (PCPT) programme. If you are taking this module you are required to have first completed the module PYCM092 The Fundamentals of Perinatal Practice. If you are taking this module you are also 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 evidence-based assessment and interventions designed to improve the quality of parent-infant relationships and to treat eating disorders in the perinatal period. You will learn key information about the developmental importance of different aspects of the early parent-infant relationship, how to observe and reliably assess parent-infant relationship quality, and will gain knowledge about the evidence base and focus of different therapeutic approaches designed to ameliorate parent-infant interaction difficulties. You will also gain key skills and knowledge about how to adapt assessment and evidence-based interventions for eating disorders in the perinatal period.

The module will be taught using a variety of pedagogical approaches including structured, online, distance-learning materials (padlets), and remotely (or face-to-face) delivered practice-based workshops with experts in the field. These will then be supported by and remotely-delivered “action-based learning groups” facilitated by experienced perinatal clinical psychologists. The distance-learning materials as 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, NICE-recommend interventions for eating disorders
  • Specialist perinatal competencies in assessing and intervening to improve parent-infant relationship problems

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

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

  • 1. Describe key aspects of the early parent-infant relationship that are important for healthy child development and how perinatal mental health problems affect the parent-infant relationship.
  • 2. Conduct comprehensive perinatal mental health assessment and formulation.
  • 3. Conduct a comprehensive perinatal risk assessment which includes child protection risk.
  • 4. Provide perinatally adapted, culturally sensitive psychological interventions for eating disorders.
  • 5. Account for couple and family needs in perinatal psychological interventions.
  • 6. Provide assessment and recommendations for suitable interventions for parent-infant relationship problems.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

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

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

ILO: Personal and key skills

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

  • 9. Take personal responsibility for clinical decision making in straightforward and complex situations.
  • 10. Tackle and solve therapeutic problems with self-direction and originality.
  • 11. 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:

  • Parent-infant interaction, bonding, attachment and impact of perinatal mental health problems on aspects of the parent-infant relationship.
  • Perinatal eating disorders (ED)

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

  • Evidence-based assessment of the parent-infant relationship (self-report, observational and speech-based assessment)
  • Evidence-based treatments of the parent-infant relationship
  • Working with multidisciplinary teams in parent-infant treatment
  • Assessment and formulation of perinatal ED
  • Perinatal ED treatment adaptations
  • Family/Couple treatment approaches to Perinatal ED
  • Working with multidisciplinary teams in treatment of Perinatal ED
  • PPI Presentations

Four action-based learning groups will be delivered remotely fortnightly (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 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 minutes1-11Oral 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 practice1-11Written
Self-rated assessment of competency pre- and post-module01-11Requires 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 failed1-11Within 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 failedWithin four weeks of original feedback
Self-rated assessment of competency pre- and post- moduleNot applicableNot applicableNot applicable


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Gerhardt, S (2014). Why Love Matters: How affection shapes a baby's brain. Second Edition. ISBN: 9780415870535.
  • Murray, L (2014). The Psychology of Babies: How relationships support development from birth to two. Published by Robinson.
  • Kirsten Asmussen and Lucy Brims (2018). What works to enhance the effectiveness of the Healthy Child Programme: An evidence update. Early Intervention Foundation. 
  • Eating disorders: recognition and treatment.NICE guideline [NG69] Published date: May 2017 

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

  • ELE page: URL?

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Perinatal mental health, parent-infant relationship, eating disorders

Credit value
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites

PYCM092 The Fundamentals of Perinatal Practice

Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date