The Whole-Brain Child: Child Development Courses for Local Parents & Parents-to-be

Today’s post on Bishopston Mum features an interview with Hannya Melrose, a parent-child therapist and psychotherapist who specialises in prenatal and birth trauma. In May and June, Hannya is running a child-development course for local parents and parents-to-be which is called ‘The Whole Brain Child’.

Here, Hannya explains a bit about herself and about The Whole Brain Child.

The Whole Brain Child Scan 001

Hi Hannya, please can you tell readers a bit about yourself?

Hello Hilary. I’m a body-oriented psychotherapist (specialising in prenatal and birth trauma) and also a parent-child therapist, with a particular interest in supporting a secure attachment between parents and children.

This comes from years of working with adults/ parents on an individual basis and witnessing the profound and often damaging way in which we are shaped by our early experiences. I feel passionately about supporting parents so that they can be the parents they want to be.

I trained both as a Steiner kindergarten teacher and in mainstream early years and also worked with children with special educational needs in a Camphill community. I’ve always had a deep empathy for children and a wish to support them in their transition into the world.

Please tell me about The Whole-Brain Child course.

The course is based on neuroscientist Dan Siegel and psychotherapist Tina Payne Bryson’s recent book called ‘The Whole-Brain Child’. Dan Siegel is well-known for pioneering the newly emerging field of interpersonal neurobiology, which is basically the brain science around relationship to self and other.

‘The Whole-Brain Child’ is a structured and practical approach for parents to learn ways of connecting with their child, based on the latest findings about the development of the brain. I’m using this as the core material for the course and am adding in further material, such as prenatal/birth psychology and attachment theory.

I’m also bringing in some mindfulness practice, as this is such a wonderful resource for everyone, but particularly for parents in those stressful or high intensity moments with one’s child!

What will the course involve?

The course will be a mixture of theory, DVD material, simple experiential exercises and there will also be time for group sharing/discussion. I’m envisaging the course will be a safe, nurturing environment for participants to reflect and get support for personal issues too.

We’ll be following the book and accompanying DVD and participants will have the opportunity to review the material at home if they wish and try putting it into practice.

Who will the course benefit in particular?

I anticipate that the course will appeal most to parents, parents-to-be, caregivers and professionals working with children of any age but having said that, it is relevant for everyone!

We’ve all been parented and have probably had some challenging experiences along the way. The course is an opportunity to understand what has shaped us and what we can now do to change those old beliefs and patterns of behaviour that no longer serve us. The great news is that the brain is changeable and can be rewired in more positive ways, no matter how old we are.

When and where will the course be held?

There are several courses starting in May and June this year and then there will be regular courses after that. In May I’m planning to run a 6 week course from 10-12 noon on Mondays and also a Thursday evening 7.30-9pm course, both at the Friends Meeting House in Redland.

The Monday morning group may be of interest particularly to mothers with young babies as we’ll be in the comfortable carpeted library and will have time to go slowly with the material. In June there’ll be 3 consecutive Saturday sessions 10am – 2pm in Bishopston.

This might work well for a parent or a couple who know or want to get to know the lovely community venue KudaCan. They can always stay for lunch after the workshop too!

What is the cost of the course?

The course is £85 and I’m offering a £20 discount for couples to encourage them to come along together. It is such a good resource to bring into family life.

How can people sign up for a place on the course?

To book a place, please email me at or phone me on: 07776291889. I will send you more details about the course and answer any questions.

Anything else that you would like to add?

I’m delighted to have found Bishopston Mum and am impressed by the resources that are available for parents/families in this part of Bristol. My hope is that ‘The Whole-Brain Child’ will benefit those who join the courses and be another useful source of support for the community.


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