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Mother–infant psychotherapy and perinatal psychiatry: Current clinical practice and future directions

Galbally, M.ORCID: 0000-0003-3909-1918, Lewis, A.ORCID: 0000-0002-2519-7976, Snellen, M., Paul, C., Szego, K. and Trauer, T. (2006) Mother–infant psychotherapy and perinatal psychiatry: Current clinical practice and future directions. Australasian Psychiatry, 14 (4). pp. 384-389.

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Objective: To explore trends in the practice of mother–infant psychotherapy among perinatal psychiatry clinicians based in Melbourne.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey with a purpose designed self-report questionnaire was used to assess the attitudes and practices of 47 perinatal and infant psychiatry clinicians in their use and understanding of mother–infant psychotherapy.

Results: Seventy per cent of clinicians in this field of psychotherapy who responded to the questionnaire subscribe to a psychodynamic model, although cognitive behavioural models are also used. The interventions were mostly used in conjunction with other interventions, would be more accurately described as ‘parent–infant psychotherapy’, and non-psychiatrists in the area tended to be more likely to be formally trained in psychotherapy, but only 4% were formally trained in specific mother–infant psychotherapy. There was a unanimous request for further clinical training in this area.

Conclusions: The emerging field of perinatal psychiatry needs to develop coherent therapeutic models and conduct outcome trials on specific interventions. Specific trainings in these models, in assessment and in diagnostic frameworks are required to enhance clinical efficacy, for research and service development purposes.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: SAGE
Copyright: © 2006 by The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists
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