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Dr Pete Lawrence

Associate professor of clinical psychology, Southampton University.

Pete Lawrence is a father of three young children, Bertie, Betty and GiGi. When able, he also works as a clinical psychologist and a Lecturer in Clinical Psychology at the University of Southampton.

His research focuses on the development of young children in the face of psychological adversity. The final aim is to develop prevention and intervention programmes to support families and enhance children’s development.

Pete found his interest in children’s development and resilience as an undergraduate student at the University of Cambridge under the supervision of Prof Claire Hughes. Along the way, he has pursued this interest by training as a clinical psychologist at the University of Oxford; working as a therapist with Prof Alan Stein on randomized clinical trials to enhance children’s outcomes (first with mothers with postnatal depression, second with infants born with a cleft lip); and is presently working on a PhD with Profs Cathy Creswell and Lynne Murray examining the psychological and social development of children of mothers with perinatal anxiety. Pete’s talk today is about a phenomenon he encountered while working with mothers with postnatal depression: unwanted thoughts that ‘pop’ into mothers’ minds about deliberately harming their infants. Pete will focus his talk on the crucial information that one needs to gather from mothers about these, and how to gather it, to assess whether these terrifying thoughts indicate a risk of harm to the infant, or whether they are horrible thoughts to experience while posing no direct risk of harm to the infant. You can find a free Clinical Intelligence paper on this in the British Journal of General Practice here: You can find a free report of the trial for mothers with postnatal depression here:

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