preparing for parenthood

Fostering the mental and emotional wellbeing of parents-to-be, by supporting them to understand more about the importance of parent-child relationships from birth, in the context of  their own early experiences in life.
Doctoral Research Study:

One of the founding members of the Parents Support Network (Janet Williams) is doing a professional doctorate in Counselling Psychology, and will be carrying out a trial 6-month programme for parents-to-be during the second and third trimester of the pregnancy. The trial will involve regular consultations between the parents and Janet, as well as group work with 12 parents who live in the Bath & North East Somerset area. 

The focus of the research is to understand more about what helps prepare parents-to-be to be emotionally and psychologically ready for the important role they are about to take on. Below is a short introduction to the research. Please contact us, if you are interested in finding out more or in participating in the trial at the start of 2021.

Research Study:

What supports parents-to-be to feel emotionally and psychologically prepared for their responsibilities as parents? Investigating interpersonal and developmental psychology theories with the clinical objective of creating and piloting an educational and self-reflective programme for parents-to-be.

There is a long legacy of research confirming that relationships are a crucial context for healthy psychological development, and that when conditions impede a child’s ability to have their core needs met, they experience social pain which can lead to biological and psychological consequences, potentially disrupting their development and creating intra- and interpersonal conflict. This research study will bring together historical and current interpersonal and developmental psychological theories, with the clinical objective of creating and piloting an educational and self-reflective program for parents-to-be.

Not only will participants of the programme learn about relevant theories but they will also have the opportunity to consider their own attachment styles, to deepen their awareness of how they are in relationship, as preparation for their imminent parenting role.  

The research will identify key relevant psychological theories and models which can be summarised and structured into an evidence-based parenting program. A key aim of this study is to develop a preventative intervention, which will reduce the commonly experienced developmental and interpersonal psychological stress in early childhood, so that infants and young children have greater chance of growing up in an environment which supports them to thrive.

A main objective of the research will be to measure the effectiveness of the intervention by running a program with a group of 12 parents-to-be over a period of six months, in the second and third trimester of their pregnancy, with a view to implementing the program into social and health services.