Building stronger relationships with innovative family therapy

More West Midlands parents and children are set to receive a pioneering attachment therapy to improve the quality of their relationships than ever before.

Over 40 health professionals within perinatal mental health teams have now completed training funded by the NHS in the region to deliver Circle of Security®, an evidence-based therapy designed to enhance the development of parent-child bonds.

Developed by academics in America, the programme was first introduced in a large scale roll out by the NHS in London as part of ambitions laid out in the NHS Long Term Plan to offer treatment closer to home, when patients need it.

Dr Jelena Jankovic, Clinical Lead for the West Midlands Perinatal Mental Health Clinical Network at NHS England and NHS Improvement said:

“We are delighted to now have the skills in teams across the West Midlands to deliver this therapeutic intervention – the first area outside of London to offer it on such a large scale. We’re proud to be paving the way in perinatal mental health and hope that this new offer results in even better outcomes for new parents and their children.”

The Circle of Security® is best described as attachment theory and uses video-based intervention to help strengthen parents’ abilities to observe and improve their caregiving skills. Attachment theory, through the Circle of Security®, offers every parent a personalised plan to improve and develop more secure relationships with their child.

Sally Simmonds, Perinatal Mental Health Team Manager at 2Gether NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“The programme really emphasises the importance of early intervention to help parents develop healthy attachments with their children. Since completing the training, I’m now able to recognise the cues that a baby is giving and have a deeper understanding of what a supportive response from a parent might be and how to achieve it.

“In Hereford, we’ve been adapting elements of the training to offer simplified explanations and tactics, which are helping parents really get to grips with how the attachment process develops with their child and what they can do to improve it.”

Research shows that a secure attachment between child and caregiver is critical to a child’s current and future wellbeing. Secure children are more likely to develop empathy, greater self-esteem, better relationships with parents and peers and enter school ready to learn, and able to handle emotions better.

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