Introducing PIP UK’s new Head of Clinical Strategy and Development

03 May 2019

Karen Bateson 2560

This week, Dr Karen Bateson joined PIP UK as Head of Clinical Strategy and Development. We sat down with Karen for a cuppa and a chance to tell us a bit more about herself.

Tell us about yourself.

Always the hardest question!  I’m a psychologist with a passion for supporting early relationships. I’m interested in all the ways that we do that, including interaction guidance, psychotherapy, music, group work, touch, but I’m also interested in the environmental and policy factors like poverty and housing. I’m a collaborator at heart and get a buzz out of working with others.  I love Twitter (@karenjbateson) because it helps me keep up to date with neuroscience, implementation science, research and evidence, and it’s a great way to connect.

What’s your background in the IMH field?

I qualified in 1997 and have always looked for roles that were predominantly with young children.  I worked in CAMHS (Hull, Wakefield, Solihull) and Sure Start where I did lots of work with babies and toddlers.  I was a Consultant Psychologist at Solihull Approach for 11 years, training practitioners around the UK in an approach which blends psychotherapy with child development and behavioural approaches.  I was also the Early Intervention Lead there and we developed various under 5’s services including antenatal and domestic abuse recovery work.  It was an eclectic department and we used a wide range of therapies. I moved to NSPCC in 2015 to take up an implementation and then a development role in preventing child abuse and neglect.  When I look back now, I realise all my jobs have been about preventing trauma for young children.

Why have you joined PIP UK?

Easy! Three reasons; to support PIPUK at a really exciting time in its development, to work with great colleagues, and to come back to focussing on under 2’s.

What are you most proud of in your career so far?

Overall, I’m most proud of supporting others.  I’ve seen trainees blossom and practitioners bloom, I’ve worked with some amazing people on amazing projects, I’ve contributed to journal articles and research, and I’ve used what I know to help others.  Ultimately, all for the benefit of helping children. Writing journal articles takes me a lot of time and effort, so getting them published also gives me a sense of achievement.

What would you like to see happen in the field of IMH?

I’d like society as a whole to take the mental health of babies more seriously, and better understand the importance of attuned interaction.  Imagine what a difference it could make if everyone understood the importance of responding to baby cues, containing a baby’s feelings, and seeing behaviour as a communication.  I saw a quote recently: all families need support but some families need all the support they can get.  I’d like to see both happen, so that every parent knows where to turn to get effective support with their relationship with their baby.

What makes you get out of bed in the morning?

I love being part of a large community of people who want to help others; that dopamine hit from knowing everyone in the room wants the world to be better for babies. Also, my kids.  I haven’t had a lie in since 2008.

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