What is PAIRS?

The Parent and Infant Relationship Service (PAIRS) is a LEAP intervention to support early parent-infant relationships and bonding between parents and children from birth up until their fourth birthday.

We specialise in parent-infant psychotherapy, which is an activity that supports attachment difficulties for children in the early years.

We offer:

  • Individual therapeutic support to parents and children to address difficulties in their relationship.
  • Work with families in groups and support colleagues in early years services to run groups for families with less intensive needs.
  • Training, support, supervision and consultation to professionals.
  • Informal discussion and advice about potential referrals.

Who are we?

We are a team of experienced child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) clinicians.

Our team consists of child and adolescent psychotherapists and clinical psychologists. In addition to our core training we have specialist experience and training to work with pregnant women, new parents and parents of infants and toddlers.

Our team is based in Lambeth CAMHS. http://www.younglambeth.org/local-offer/useful-links/camhs.html

What do our sessions involve?

At our appointments we work with parents and infants together. We explore parents’ feelings and concerns about their relationship, as well as what would help them feel more satisfied with their relationship with their child.

We involve the child through play, encourage parents to reflect on their baby’s communication and explore ways of responding.

We listen, ask questions and sometimes make suggestions.


How do I make a referral?

Feel free to contact us by phone or email to discuss a referral.

Once we agree that our service best suits your client’s needs, we will accept the referral following completion of a referral form.

If we feel your client would benefit from alternative support or intervention we would be happy to make recommendations.

We will always discuss our reasons for this decision and confirm in writing.

When to refer?

Times to refer to the PAIRS programme are when there are/is:

  • Attachment and bonding difficulties during pregnancy and the early years.
  • Impact of parental trauma on parenting.
  • Birth trauma with an impact on the relationship.
  • Family relationships and difficulties adjusting to parenting.
  • When parental mental health difficulties impact on the parent-child relationship.
  • Separation difficulties.
  • Ongoing issues with feeding and sleep.
  • Ongoing parental worry about the infant’s health and development.
  • Ongoing difficulties with developmental tasks e.g. toilet training.
  • Babies described as difficult to manage or settle.

What happens next?

After the referral:

  • We will make direct contact with the parent to introduce our service and book an appointment.
  • We are keen to be flexible and accommodate the needs of the families we work with.
  • We will arrange to see the family either at their local GP practice, children’s centre or in their home. We will write to you with a letter summarising our assessment and treatment plan.
  • We will also inform you when we have finished our work and the progress the parents have made.
  • Our letters and reports are copied to parents and their GP.


If you have safeguarding concerns

It is important for you to inform Children’s Social Care of your concerns about a parent and child. It is possible we may work with the family after you have referred them and once your concerns have been assessed and supported by Social Care.

If you are concerned about parental mental health

Please contact the parent’s GP, local Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT), CMHT or Perinatal Service to discuss your concerns. It is likely that we will continue to work with the family, however it will be important that the parent’s mental health needs get the appropriate support first.

Service aims

  • Strengthen parent-child relationships.
  • Improve parental confidence and understanding.
  • Support children’s social and emotional wellbeing.
  • Support relationships as families change and grow.


If you would like to hear more about our service and your client lives in one of the LEAP wards of Tulse Hill, Stockwell, Coldharbour or Vassall do not hesitate to contact us.

Parent and Infant Relationship Team

Tel: 020 3228 6771



Civic Centre

Early Intervention,

PAIRS – Lambeth CAMHS,

5th Floor,

6 Brixton Hill,