DCP Faculty of Perinatal Psychology
The Faculty of Perinatal Psychology was inaugurated as a special interest group in 2006 and became a Faculty in 2008.
- To advise and respond on both a local and national level to the development of policy impacting upon our client group.
- To liaise with other professional groups and service user groups who share an interest in perinatal care of women and their families.
- To provide a forum for sharing advice on setting up, promoting or protecting psychology provision within perinatal services.
- To provide a forum primarily for Clinical Psychologists working with women who are pregnant, in labour, or in the postnatal period, and to their partners, children and extended family where appropriate.
- To provide support for this group of professional colleagues who span specialities (e.g. Health Psychology, Mental Health) and client groups (e.g. Adult, Child) in order to promote and develop psychological services within services concerned with the perinatal period.
- To promote Perinatal Psychology, via links with regional training schemes, and liaison with other relevant academic and professional bodies.
- To support the expansion of a knowledge base in Perinatal Psychology via training, research, and sharing examples of best practice.
Follow us on Twitter/X at @PerinatalDCP.
What do clinical perinatal psychologists do?
Clinical psychologists have extensive and in depth training (a minimum of 6 years) including a 3 year clinical psychology doctoral degree funded by the Department of Health specifically to fulfil these roles for the NHS. Specialist clinical perinatal psychologists have received further post-doctoral training under the supervision of a Consultant Clinical Perinatal Psychologist.
Clinical perinatal psychologists are trained to provide:
- Assessment, identification and effective intervention to improve problematic mother-infant relationships that are otherwise likely to impact adversely on the child’s social, emotional or behavioural development.
- Delivery of teaching, training and supervision of other health professionals (e.g., Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) staff; specialist midwives and health visitors) delivering psychological therapies for mild to moderate mental health problems.
- Expert application of psychological theory to mental health and physical health care. This in-depth understanding and ability to integrate knowledge of maternal mental health, infant mental health, developmental psychology, family dynamics and systemic issues ensures optimal care for a wide-range of mental health needs of women and their babies during pregnancy and after birth.
- High quality, evidence-based psychological therapy to effectively alleviate moderate, severe, complex or co-morbid forms of psychological distress during pregnancy and the postnatal period.
- Leadership in psychological service development and service evaluation.
Why is clinical perinatal psychology important?
Perinatal mental health has become a significant public health concern. Urgent action is needed to address indirect causes of maternal deaths, both medical and psychiatric, as there has been no significant improvement in death rates since 2003.
In addition, the long term cost of perinatal depression, anxiety and psychosis in the UK is £8.1billion per year, the equivalent of £10,000 for every single birth with three quarters of the cost being due to adverse impacts on the child.
Clinical perinatal psychologists bring a unique and advanced skill set to the understanding and treatment of mental health and physical healthcare problems in the perinatal period. Many women have a clear preference for psychological support for mental health problems over more medicalised interventions such as pharmacology in the perinatal period.
Psychological therapies are effective in psychotic illnesses, severe depression and anxiety, perinatal OCD, personality disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and bipolar disorder, and it is recommended that every specialist perinatal mental health team should include clinical psychology sessions.
In addition, clinical perinatal psychologists are qualified to work with mothers and babies on enabling sensitively attuned mother-infant interaction during this critical period.
Delivery of psychologically informed care and psychological therapies in maternity services
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Other helpful resources
Chair: Rachel Mycroft
Honorary Secretary: Michele Kavanagh
Honorary Treasurer: Sarah Finnis
- Aurora Falcone
- Kyla Vaillancourt
- Laura Francis
- Laura Waring
- Morounkeji Moses
- Ukwuori Kalu
- Sarah Healy
Northern Ireland Representatives: Michele Kavanagh
Scotland Representatives: Alison Robertson / Joan Burns
Wales Representative: Cerith Waters
Conference/Webinar Representative: Jo Peterkin
Trainee Representative & Social Media Representative: Vacant
DCP Pre-Qualification Representative: Vacant
ERG / CRG Representative: Anja Wittkowski
NHS Clinical Adviser and IAPT Representative: Heather O’ Mahen
- Jacinta Cordwell
- Rebecca Chilvers
If you would like to apply for any vacant positions, please complete a Statement of Interest form.
If you would like to find out if there are any other positions available, please contact the Member Networks Team.
Membership of the Faculty of Perinatal Psychology is only open to members of the British Psychological Society.
There are three grades of faculty membership:
For psychologists who are Full Members of the Division of Clinical Psychology (DCP) and who work in or have an interest or expertise in the field of perinatal psychology.
For psychologists who are General (Pre-Training) and In-Training members of the Division of Clinical Psychology (DCP). Affiliate members may take part in discussions but may not vote.
For General members of the Division of Clinical Psychology (DCP) and non-Division members. Associate members may take part in discussions but may not vote.
If you are not already a member, you can join the faculty at the same time as applying for membership of the society.
Benefits of belonging
The Faculty provides a forum primarily for members working with women who are pregnant, in labour, or in the postnatal period, and to their partners, children and extended family where appropriate.
The Faculty supports the expansion of a knowledge base via training, research, and sharing examples of best practice.
The Faculty of Perinatal Psychology uses its membership announcement email list to inform its members of activities and initiatives that are relevant to their interests and to make requests for engagement on topical issues.
By becoming a member of the Faculty you are automatically added to the announcement list.
To receive these emails you will need to:
- become a member of the Faculty of Perinatal Psychology
- opt into receiving email communication and provide a working email address
These preferences can be updated by logging into your member portal.
If you have any queries, please contact Member Network Services.
To assist us in responding to your query please make sure to include your membership number and quote 'Faculty of Perinatal Psychology announcement email' in the subject line.
To join the Member Discussion List please login to your member portal and click on the Preferences tile, where you’ll be able to join the discussion list.
To receive discussion list emails you will need to be
- a member of the DCP Faculty of Perinatal Psychology
- opted into receiving email communication from the Society (you can change your preference by logging onto your account via the member portal)
The Faculty for Perinatal Psychology relies on a wide range of people getting involved, and the work of the Faculty is largely achieved through the dedication of unpaid volunteers.
Our volunteers come from a wide range of different backgrounds, whether they be practitioners or academics, or full members or in-training members, and together form an open and inclusive community.
The first point of contact for any queries regarding the work of the DCP Faculty of Perinatal Psychology should be the Member Network Services Team.
The Member Network Services team provides support to all our Member Networks.