The Lighthouse MBT Parenting Programm

IFCA is pleased to announce that we will be providing ‘The Lighthouse MBT Parenting Programme’ to members in the Longford/Westmeath region in September 2019.

“When a child has suffered through trauma, neglect or early loss, these experiences lie within his internal world like rocks and prowling sharks beneath the surface of the water.”



In the language of The Lighthouse© MBT-Parenting programme, you have been given the keys to a lighthouse and told that you are now the lighthouse keeper (whether you like it or not). It is now your responsibility to shine the light of attention on your child, this research-based programme will show foster carers and relative foster carers how.

Commencing: 3rd September 2019.

Target Group participants: Foster carers and relative foster carers who are IFCA members.

Maximum Number of Participants: 8-10 Location: Mullingar, Co. Westmeath. Venue: Bloomfield House Hotel.

Duration: The programme will run for 12 weeks, with two-hour weekly sessions, 7-9 pm.

Closing date for enrolment: Tuesday 20th August.

Information sessions: 27th and 28th of August (to be confirmed).

Final session: 26 November 2019.

Participants will receive a certificate of attendance.

Aims of the Lighthouse MBT-P research-based Programme:

  • To help parents develop a deeper understanding of their child and enable them to see the child in a clearer light.
  • To promote secure attachment and reduce disorganisation.
  • To enhance parents mentalization of their children.
    • To help you and your child find joy in the growth and exploration of your relationship with each other and with the world.
    • To enhance parental understanding of why a child, particularly a child with a history of relational trauma may behave as they do.

The Lighthouse© MBT-Parenting programme model aims to enhance parent’s capacity to mentalize or be reflective and in particular mentalize their children in order to promote a more secure relationship. The program explicitly trains parents to mentalize themselves, their children and the parent-child relationship and reflect and attune to their child’s stage of development, emotions, wishes and desires.

Participants are required to:

  • Be available to attend an initial information/screening session prior to the commencement of the group.
  • Be available to attend all 12 sessions. As this is a process group, attendance at all sessions is strongly requested so as not to take away from the experience of other members of the group.

About the Facilitator:

Tom Casey is an accredited Psychotherapist/Social worker who has a particular interest in attachment and the application of the theory of mentalization to support the relationship difficulties children in care can struggle with. Tom is an accredited Mentalization Based Practitioner who will take you on a journey of discovery.

Tom is currently working on his Ph.D. in the Tavistock & Portman (NHS) in London. Tom formerly worked in Crosscare Teen Counselling for the past 20 years delivering generic counseling to parents and teenagers across Dublin.

Tom has adapted the Lighthouse© Parenting programme, the first Mentalization Based Parenting programme and pioneered its use specifically with Foster Parents. Tom sits on a number of committees including a Foster Care committee, Therapy Committees in addition to being a current member of the IFCA Board.

Further information on the Lighthouse programme:

The Lighthouse© MBT-Parenting Programme has been developed in collaboration with the Anna Freud Centre London. The Lighthouse MBT-Programme is research informed in the field of attachment theory, child development and neuroscience.

The term mentalization refers to the ability to reflect on and understand someone’s state of mind. This skill is especially important for children in foster care who have suffered neglect, trauma, early loss and experienced a break or severed parental attachment.

This programme trains foster parents and relative foster parents to mentalize and reflect on their child’s mental state and ultimately understand the child better, leading to a more positive rewarding relationship.

Places are limited: The Lighthouse Programme is limited to 8-10 participants, so early booking is advised.


It is intended that the group is a confidential space where participants will be encouraged to share freely. As always, such confidentiality may be breached in the unlikely event of a concern arising that meets the threshold for reporting under the Children’s First 2017. Creating a safe space for participants to share their experiences is paramount thus no information shall be divulged.

Additionally, we will be asking participants to complete an evaluation form at the end of the program which will be shared with IFCA assuming your permission.

Refundable deposit: Participants are requested to pay a deposit of €50, this deposit will be returned on completion of the course.

When will the sessions take place?

Tuesday 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th September

Tuesday 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd October

Tuesday 5th, 12th, 19th, 26th November



For more information, please contact Wendy Gilsenan IFCA Learning and Development on or phone the national office on 01 459 9474.

What if this programme is not running in my area?

Please email us at if you would like this training in your area and we will try to meet your needs when planning future events.