Continuing psychological care.

: This article draws together thoughts derived from an experienced clinical psychologist's practice, with parents of ill and premature infants in the context of a psychological service for children and parents in a paediatric and maternity teaching hospital. Parents were those referred by attendant neonatologists in intensive neonatal care who observed acute distress. Referral was usually some weeks after birth and help continued until after discharge, in some instances after the death of the infant. The particular approach adopted was that of offering parents a therapeutic contact which, allowed them talk over these thoughts and feelings for which they had little other skilled listening environment. Parents chose the opportunity of a safe, calm and confidential contact to explore deep feelings and draw on their own strengths and an understanding of their own vulnerabilities. The novel insights derived and the clinical material presented were used to develop an understanding of the issues a support service should address. Key aims are described and should be incorporated to restore and enhance personal strengths and the mother child relationship hence contributing to positive outcome in infant development. Reference is made to the importance of understanding how women achieve soothed states and restoration of empowerment when birth presents extra challenge.