The activities of the Department focus on mental health (esp. infant mental health), perinatal psychology, clinical psychology of children and families, and early intervention.
The scientific activity conducted by the Department is focused around the psychological impact of premature birth for the development of children and their families as well as the exploration of early psychological mechanisms (associated with the relationship between parents and children) which play a protective role in psychological development. The Department also studies the psychological situation of children born with craniofacial defects and their families.
Examples of projects carried out by the Department:
A multi-annual statutory task conducted in 2006–2009:
- Long-term impact of premature birth on the development of relations between parents and the child.
Statutory task for 2010–2012:
- Fathers and mothers in the perinatal period: the emotional condition of the parents and the perception of the baby.
Statutory tasks for 2012–2014:
- The psychological situation of children with cleft lip and palate and of their families.
Participation in the research project entitled ‘Relational and biological background of self-regulation processes in prematurely born children in the first year of life' (No. N N106 045734) was financed by the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education in 2008–2011.
The project was implemented by the Department of Psychology of the University of Warsaw in collaboration with the Institute of Mother and Child (ZWIP, Neonatology and Neonatal Intensive Care Clinic, Screening Tests Department) and the Interdisciplinary Centre for Behavioural Genetic Studies, the Clinical Hospital at the Medical University of Warsaw and the Holy Family Hospital in Warsaw.
The Department engages in continued scientific cooperation with the following IMC units: Neonatology and Neonatal Intensive Care Clinic, Nutrition Department, Orthodontic Clinic and others.
The Department runs two outpatient clinics, both of which have a contract with the National Health Fund: the Mental Health Clinic for Children and Youth, and the Mental Health Clinic.
Moreover, the following are offered:
- regular psychological consultations for parents of children hospitalised at the Neonatology and Neonatal Intensive Care Clinic,
- crisis intervention for parents who have lost their child during the perinatal period,
- assistance for women with mental disorders in the postnatal period,
- consultations for other IMC units.
- Since 2005, the Department has been running regular training courses for paediatricians, psychiatrists, psychologists, physiotherapists and speech therapists, entitled ‘Early intervention and mental health problems in children up to three years of age';
- The Department also offers lectures and workshops as part of postgraduate training for neurologists, paediatricians, obstetricians-gynaecologists, nurses and midwives, as well as internships on a volunteer basis for final-year students and graduates of psychology departments;
- Knowledge popularisation activities;
- ‘Childbirth School', within the Healthcare Programme of Antenatal Education in the City of Warsaw and in co-operation with the Obstetrics and Gynaecology Clinic,
- The Department staff offer consultations on texts for magazines and take part in TV and radio shows designed for parents of young children;
- The Department co-operates with non-governmental organisations focusing on childbirth, premature birth, breastfeeding and protection of children (‘Rodzić po Ludzku', ‘Dzieci Niczyje', ‘Wcześniak', ‘Komitet Upowszechniania Karmienia Piersią').
The Department also runs antenatal classes.
The Department was established in 1977 and initially operated under the name of ‘Family Health Department' (until 2006). Since its early days, its focus has been on the assistance to families with young children. Therefore, the Department's history is associated with the development of various forms of support and continuous expansion of its scientific activities, research and clinical activity in this sphere. Right from the start, the Department has also worked with various research centres in Poland and other countries, e.g. Centre international de l'enfance, WHO and UNFPA.
In the first years of its operation, the Department focused mainly on counselling in the area of family planning, supporting families in crisis, supporting parents of young children and children with disabilities. The antenatal classes were also initiated in that period. Created in 1980 under the name of ‘School for Parents', the antenatal programme was innovative for its time because its curriculum comprised the psychological aspects of pregnancy, childbirth and parenthood, including fatherhood.
Since the early 1990s, the Department expanded its activity to incorporate families in the perinatal period, which subsequently turned into its unique specialisation. Psychological support was offered to pregnant women with risk pregnancies, risk of preterm birth and repeated obstetric failures. Studies were carried out on the restoration of fertility in women after childbirth. The Department also participated in an UNFPA project on improving the quality of care for women in the reproductive period.
Apart from psychological aspects of reproduction, in its subsequent years of operation the Department also focused on the formation of an emotional bond and mental development of prematurely born children, psychosocial and neurodevelopmental aspects of HIV infection in children, the effectiveness of selected methods of psychological intervention, as well as epidemiology, diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted infections. In the area of HIV/AIDS and HPV, the Department has co-operated with international centres, e.g. from London, Manchester, Milan and Paris.
In 2007, the name was changed into ‘Early Psychological Intervention Department'. The scientific activity of the Department is focused on the risk of developmental disorders (including emotional and behavioural disorders) and the functioning of families (also during the perinatal period), as well as the exploration of early psychological mechanisms with a protective psychological function (associated with the parent-child relationship). The Department's clinical activity, educational work and popularisation focuses on the aforementioned areas.
The Department operates the following outpatient units:
- Mental Health Clinic for Children and Youth,
- Mental Health Clinic,
- Childbirth School, with costs reimbursed by the capital city of Warsaw.
dr n. hum. Grażyna Kmita
22 32 77 322
Budynek Lipsk, piętro IV