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Presentation.

Master’s degree’s opportunity and strategic viability and connection with the economic and social environment.

Since the pioneering work of the last half century, perinatal and child clinical psychopathology has not stopped developing. Today occupies a privileged epistemological place to meet the challenges of a clinic distinguished by its diversity.

First, because it focuses on the thousand and one psychological and psychopathological variations of the founder parental meeting and human birth. The periods of pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding are the stages of a generational metamorphosis which are significant for the enrolment of the subject in the human community.

Then, because it develops in multiple non-institutional and institutional frames: in maternity units, in assisted reproduction centres, gynaecological services, prenatal diagnosis, adoption services, neonatology, paediatric, adult and child psychiatry, children’s clinic psychology, medical-social care centres, social work, speech therapy, maternal and child protection and reception centres, in schools etc.

Finally, in the heart of the interdisciplinary meeting between all perinatal scene professionals (obstetricians, general practitioners, midwives, sonographers, nurses, paediatricians, psychiatrists, psychologists, psychoanalysts, social workers...), child and perinatal clinical psychology represents a scientific knowledge that is not part of an exclusive corporatist monopoly, but rather an interactive and innovative common construction.

In fact, the “perinatal mental health” is now under increasing financial allocations by the European public authorities to recognize that the validity of the scientific arguments in favour of social-psycho-medical prophylactic strategies. From the standpoint of care, maternal and child services are proving the importance and profitability of prevention and care programmes for pregnant women and new-borns, especially in populations of biological, psychological and social risk.

In this dynamic, perinatal clinical psychopathology is the base of training in this context, since it provides the appropriate tools on the one hand, for primary and secondary prevention of parental suffering and early relational disharmony between parents/foetus/baby and, moreover, by involving clinical and ethical reflection on the conditions of existence of a caregiver function in that specific environment.

Academic, scientific and professional interest and relevance.

The interest in this proposal is linked to the relevance of research works developed by the researcher teaching staff of the University Master’s degree in Perinatal and Child Psychology and Psychopathology because of the numerous international and, particularly, European researches that have been carried out over the last two decades in the different disciplines dealing with mental perinatal and child health, both in the field of basic research and in the field of clinical research. Also, it is linked to the importance of training specialists able to continue promoting, in a cross-disciplinary way, the research in their corresponding professional fields to increase health care in the perinatal and child stages.

Since the pioneering work of the last half century, perinatal and child clinical psychopathology has not stopped developing, occupying a privileged place to deal with the challenges of a clinic characterized by its diversity.
This master’s degree deals with the multiple facets and psychological and psychopathological changes that include the birth of human life and the development of parenting, from conception. The periods of pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and childhood are the stages of a generational metamorphosis which are significant for the enrolment of the subject in the human community and the base of a healthy evolution during the adolescence and adulthood.
It develops in multiple non-institutional and institutional frames: in maternity units, in assisted reproduction centres, gynaecological services, prenatal diagnosis services, adoption services, neonatology, paediatric, adult and child psychiatry, children’s clinic psychology, medical-social care centres, social work, speech therapy, psychomotor services, rehabilitation, primary care, schools, and maternal and child protection and various reception centres, etc.
At the heart of the interdisciplinary meeting all perinatal scene professionals (obstetricians, general practitioners, midwives, sonographers, nurses, nursery nurses, paediatricians, psychiatrists, psychologists, psychoanalysts, social workers...), child and perinatal psychology is a field of scientific knowledge, which is not of an exclusive corporatist monopoly but rather an interactive and innovative joint construction between the various professionals and researchers dealing with perinatal, infant and parental life.

The growing social and scientific awareness of the importance of perinatal mental health care, to take care of the child, adolescent and adult, is promoting the increase of financial allocations by the European public authorities to recognize the validity of the scientific arguments in favour of psychosocial-medical prophylactic strategies from conception.
From the standpoint of care, maternal and child services are proving the importance and profitability of prevention programmes and care for the pregnant mother, child and father in trouble, especially in populations of biological, psychological and social risk.

Thus, the clinical perinatal psychopathology is the base of the training committed to that context, since it provides relevant tools, firstly for primary and secondary prevention of parental suffering and early relational disharmony between parents/foetus/baby and, moreover, by involving clinical and ethical reflection on the conditions of the existence of a caregiver function in that specific environment.
This field is very significant and important to the prevention and care of perinatal and child mental health, so the researcher will power of the Universitat de València is part of the effort to other European universities such as Université Laval, Paris7 Denis-Diderot, University of Lyon2, Universite de Provence - Centre d'Aix, University of Paris X Nanterre, Université Paris 5 René Descartes, Université Franche-Comte, Université Paris 10-Ouest and the University of Minho, in which, among other international universities, doctoral studies related to the field of Perinatal and Child Psychology and Psychopathology are developed.

The quality of training of the Master’s degree in Perinatal and Child Psychology and Psychopathology at the Universitat de València, which currently integrates professors of 6 European countries, Latin America and Israel, and the doctoral programme in the same area of expertise, creates a major multidisciplinary request of academic training and research from different European and Latin American countries and contributes thus to the development of the discipline in third countries.
Given the importance that involves relevant and international directors-researchers integration into this Doctoral Programme, the Doctoral Programme Academic Committee takes care over effectiveness of procedures that allow adequate monitoring and supportive relationship between students and their teachers.

The European and interdisciplinary nature of this programme, which requires an interactive, flexible and inclusive research environment of different professionals and researchers concerned with the foetus/child and parenthood, from the period of conception, represents itself a originality typical of it, being well aware of the respect for fundamental rights and the principle of equality between men and women.
Equivalent to other programs offered by foreign universities for their content, teaching staff, objectives and methodology within the framework of current scientific collaboration with researchers from Belgium, Chile, Spain, France, Italy, Norway, Portugal and Switzerland, this doctoral programme, with an integrative theoretical orientation, it provides a training and research quality framework in the area of Psychology and Perinatal and Child Psychopathology and is part, from its origin, of the will to develop collaboration and research involvement with different European institutions interested in perinatal and childhood studies.

The close and committed relationship of these scientific researchers has a double origin for most of them: their great interest in the doctorate’s field of knowledge and their committed membership to international perinatal and child care associations, as the WAIMH and AEPEA (Association Européenne pour la Psychopathologie of l'Enfant et de l'Adolescent), determined promoters of specialisation and university research in this field.
This doctoral programme is promoted and organised by the Universitat de València and the “Association for Child Mental Health from Pregnancy” ASMI, Spanish subsidiary of WAIMH (World Association for Infant Mental Health), to develop the Framework agreement between both institutions. This project was organized and coordinated by Pacual Palau Subiela, founding President of ASMI WAIMH Spain.

Why is it necessary?

From the first weeks of intra-uterine existence, babies will be monitored, measured, checked and have an ultrasound scan; their birth will be scheduled based on technical and ethical standards by their parents but also by different actors in health and social field: psychologists, social workers, doctors, geneticists... and is expected to be born healthy and develop their full potential. But this is not always the case. In some cases they must spend long periods in hospital, so it is important to bend over backwards to achieve that their stay does not affect them psychologically in a serious way. Parents must be helped to overcome their helplessness and be guided to get their children be able to develop their full potential.

Moreover, although born apparently healthy, the child may suffer, very soon, a developmental psychopathology: How to recognize the disharmonious interactions between mother and child? When depression should be diagnosed in infants or how to detect the warning signs of autism? What psychotherapeutic support we offer to families affected by an early pathology? How to recognize the psychological suffering linked to the onset of asthma or functional colopathy? What do screams or sleep disorders mean? What psychotherapeutic interventions are possible to treat primary infantile anorexia? Are there breastfed babies more vulnerable than others? Is it possible to identify families at risk? What are the consequences of the intra-uterine death or perinatal death of a baby on his/her parents and siblings? How can it affect those born later? Is it possible to pre-emptively detect and treat risk factors on mother-baby imbalance during the prenatal period? Is it possible to prevent maternal and paternal psychopathology from the time of conception? How can we detect postpartum parental psychopathology? How may baby’s psychopathology affect the child, adolescent and adult? A prevention and treatment is possible?; In which way?

The field of study of this new science, which is the psychopathology of the baby and child, from the time of pregnancy, is immense and begins to be deciphered from a multiplicity of ways of bio-psycho-social research: the human sciences, epidemiological, clinical and basic research. Field of research that must be confronted and developed from a deep ethical reflection, linked to the right of any child to become a healthy teenager and adult, not mutilated in their emotions or intelligence. It is a major objective hard to reach without taking care of baby’s and his/her parents’ psychic life from the time of conception. The study of a complex perinatality will benefit all the other stages of life.

Some subjects of significant research in this field are: parenthood perinatal processes psychopathology; psychopathology of parents/embryo-foetus-breastfed relations in the family group and professional/ embryo-foetus-breastfed in institutions; parent/embryo-foetus-breastfed perinatal therapeutic consultation (specific framing and evaluation of the processes of change); parenthood exposed to prenatal diagnosis (clinic of anticipation and trauma; clinical ethics of “informed consent”); ultrasound paradigm (the meeting of human birth, becoming a parent and caregiving; the announcement of disability and staying by her/his side through it; preparation for birth and parenting (group, marital and individual); psychosomatic disorders in early childhood; early developmental disorders; caregiver condition in perinatality (non-institutional, network members); clinical reflection groups, etc.

This Master’s degree aims to study the field of perinatal and child psychology and psychopathology in their clinical, theoretical and scientific aspects in a multidisciplinary context with specialists in the integration of the psychic and the somatic, to contribute to the renewal of diagnostic, nosological and therapeutic approaches.

Its pioneer constitution coincides with the latest initiatives of several universities in the European Union, setting the Master’s degree in perinatal and child psychology and psychopathology in a prominent position.

Professional influence reasons justifying the implementation of the Master’s degree.

Goals:

This Master’s degree was developed to ensure the competence of professionals dealing with psychological care in the field of perinatal and child psychology and psychopathology and complement the training of other professionals involved in this field.

The theoretical and clinical objective of this Master’s degree is to establish a teaching model for sharing their experiences to the somatic specialists involved from conception to childhood, and caregivers of mental health in the same period.

The practical objective is to propose a model of prevention and treatment approaches for different professional fields that deal with child and family, from the time of conception and throughout childhood. In this sense it is part of the field of intervention specialists in gynaecology-obstetrics, paediatrics, psychiatry and psychology, paediatric nursing, social workers, midwives, speech therapy, physiotherapy and rehabilitation, early intervention, early childhood education, psychomotor and occupational therapy.

These specialists will renew and increase their competition through the creation of a team of teachers who practise in different countries of the European Community and Switzerland. They are experts in paediatrics, obstetrics, midwifery, psychology, psychiatry, psychoanalysis, education, neuroscience, social intervention, paediatric nursing, interested in the training of professionals and caregiver teams from perinatality to childhood.

Under the framework of interest to standardize and enrich the practice, opened in 2000 with the Bologna Declaration, this Master’s degree is focused on extending this reasoning to the field of post-graduate training by proposing an initiative, original in the discipline, aimed at sharing and enrichment of training that exists in different countries, and especially in regard to the multidisciplinary approach to perinatal and child psychology and psychopathology.

The care provided to children and their families in Spain and other European countries have complementary objectives, so nowadays it is indispensable to confront their therapeutic effects. That is why it is necessary to complete, in that domain, the training of professionals to support the diversity of theories referred, and the foundations of their practices.

Who promotes this Master’s degree:

It is promoted and organised by the Universitat de València and the “Association for Child Mental Health from Pregnancy” ASMI, Spanish subsidiary of WAIMH (World Association for Infant Mental Health), to develop the Framework agreement between ASMI WAIMH Spain and the Universitat de València.

With the support of the Department of Psychological Personality, Evaluation and Treatment at the Faculty of Psychology in the Universitat de València and with the tight collaboration of the University of Paris Descartes (P5), the University of Paris VII, the French-Speaking WAIMH, the AEPEA (European Association on Psychopathology Department of Psychopathology of Children and the Youth) and the European Subsidiary WAIMHs. This project was created and coordinated by Pacual Palau Subiela, founding President of ASMI WAIMH Spain.

Desire for union:

In June 2007, an International European Meeting of Experts on Clinical Psychology and Child Psychiatry and in Perinatal Psychopathology, together with the International Association for Child and Adolescent Psychopathology (IACAP) and the representatives of the European Subsidiaries of the WAIMH (Spain, Italy, France, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany) among which is the ASMI WAIMH Spain, which was in charge of the European coordination of the project of promoting in the entire European Union the ‘Perinatal and Child Psychology and Psychopathology’ Master’s degree

This Master’s degree of the Universitat de València is created with the intention to become European and it is made in the context of an initiative in which participate, in its first edition, professors form Spain, Belgium, France, Italy and Switzerland, belonging to Universities of Lyon, Geneva, Lausanne, Leuven, Padua, Paris V (Univ. Descartes), Paris VII (Univ. Denis Diderot), Madrid, Bilbao, Barcelona, Alicante and Valencia.

The participation of professors from different European Universities will allow a profitable exchange of professors and students, it will allow to promote a better development of this study field and to accumulate an exchange university experience and European collaboration which will allow to transform it, further on, in an Erasmus Mundus.

In next editions, Universities from those European countries which had already asked for it in Lugano and Universities from other countries which will ask for it it in the future, will be able to join.

In conclusion

For all the abovementioned, the University Master’s degree in Perinatal and Child Psychology and Psychopathology, of the Department of Psychological Personality, Evaluation and Treatment of the Faculty of Psychology of Universitat de València and ASMI WAIHM Spain, it is fully justified both at academic and professional levels, as it supposes an institutional answer to the research and knowledge body generated in this discipline and to the actual demand of professionals from Spain and most European countries, which request specific information that allows them to respond to the need to properly take care of the perinatal, child and parental mental health, within their respective professional fields of action.

 

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