Benedicta Bywater, UKCP Accredited Psychotherapist

Benedicta Bywater

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Benedicta Bywater, UKCP Accredited Psychotherapist

Benedicta Bywater

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My Approach

Parent-infant psychotherapy is intended to address problems such as perinatal mental illness (eg depression, anxiety, OCD), adjustment to becoming parents, birth trauma, attachment disorders/concerns, difficulties with bonding, feeding or sleeping difficulties, tantrums, excessive crying, developmental issues/concerns and more. I usually work with parent/s and child together, (either in person or on Zoom) with an integrative and holistic approach - and always without judgement. My approach has a psychodynamic (talk therapy) basis, but differs from more traditional psychotherapy because the baby or child is a part of it, and therefore is a little more flexible – sometimes including components of play therapy, practical support/information about child development, etc.

I try to look at both conscious and unconscious processes that are at play in the relationship and how these may shape the parent and infant's specific ways of relating to each other. By having the parent/caregiver and infant in the room together, I can observe and gain insight into these process, and related difficulties difficulties. Together with the parent/s, we can think about the communications of the baby, and the feelings of both parents and baby, helping to reflect upon the differing states of mind of themselves and their infant and how they present.
Often a parent may need to work through unresolved issues from childhood, or more recent past, that may be affecting their relationship with their baby. I support the parent/s or caregivers with their own emotions, so they can provide more sensitive and attuned care for their baby. This process of reflecting and understanding can lead to transformative change. Where appropriate, I may incorporate techniques that can help manage current anxieties and concerns.

This approach has been shown to have very positive outcomes for both the child and the parents.

The Anna Freud website describes Parent-Infant Psychotherapy as " broadly a talking and engaging therapy in the sense that the therapist and parents and baby will get to know and trust each other, watching the baby and making sense of his/her communications, sharing their thoughts, trying out different ways of responding. The parent has an opportunity to discuss with the therapist what is going well or not going well in everyday life and perhaps also issues that come up from the past at a pace that the parent feels is comfortable and safe.”

I can support you with:

• Prenatal, birth and postnatal support
• Antenatal anxiety, depression, etc.
• Fertility and baby loss
• Trying to conceive after loss
• Tokophobia (fear of childbirth)
• Birth preparation
• Birth trauma
• Bonding with baby
• Attachment concerns
• How to understand your baby’s experience and communication (mentalization)
• Sleeping issues (babies and young children)
• Breastfeeding
• Other infant feeding (including bottle feeding and weaning onto solids) and related difficulties
• Weaning
• Baby and child development
• Development issues or concerns, and related signposting
• Transition to parenthood (matrescence
• Impact of parenthood on relationships including sex and intimacy after having children
• Family dynamics

The number of sessions needed varies depending on the circumstances, but typically this will be between 6 and 12 sessions, although the work can be much longer term where needed.

My fees are £60 p/h but I do offer a limited number of low fee spaces.

About Me

Hello! I am a Parent-Infant Psychotherapist, with have nearly 15 years of experience supporting parents, babies and children.

The transition to parenthood can be very challenging. There can be too much information, advice, and pressure (!) and simultaneously a lack of reliable support or understanding. As parents, we often experience overwhelming, frequently conflicting feelings, which can be hard to bear or navigate alone (not to mention the immense physical and practical strain involved).

I am passionate about supporting parents to understand and tune into their babies and young children, and to themselves. The core part of my work is listening without judgement, and helping parents to interpret their baby’s communication and experience, which in turn allows the baby to feel heard, held and understood.

My interest and commitment to this area of work has been further fuelled by my own experience of parenthood, including perinatal anxiety and depression.

In addition to my private practice I worked for Cocoon Family Support until 2021, and continue to work with charitable services and low income families wherever possible.


In 2009, I founded and ran a charity supporting highly vulnerable parents and young children in Cambodia. We ran several early childhood development and family support programmes. Mental health was always a core component of our work.
In 2015, I started working as a birth and postnatal doula alongside my other work, offering emotional and practical support.
From September 2016 -July 2022, I trained as a Parent- Infant Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy at The School of Infant Mental Health, beginning clinical work in 2019.

I work with

  • Children and young people
  • Couples
  • Families
  • Individuals

Special Interests

Like all UKCP registered psychotherapists and psychotherapeutic counsellors I can work with a wide range of issues, but here are some areas in which I have a special interest or additional experience.

Types of Therapies Offered

  • Parent Infant Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist

What I can help with

  • ADHD
  • Adoption
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Family
  • Infertility
  • Mental Health Issues
  • Obsessions
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Parents
  • Stress

Types of sessions

  • Face to Face - Long Term
  • Face to Face - Short Term
  • Home Visits
  • Online Therapy

London Office

Willesden Green
United Kingdom

View Map


57 windsor Road
United Kingdom (UK)

  Wheelchair accessible View Map

UKCP College

  • College for Child and Adolescent Psychotherapies (CCAP)
  • Council for Psychoanalysis and Jungian Analysis College (CPJAC)

Working with Children

For more information about therapy for children and young people, visit our info page.
Benedicta Bywater

Benedicta Bywater


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