I375 – Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health Practice: Parent/Child Relationships
This yearlong course focuses on developing relationships with families and on how these relationships can support growth and change in both child and parent. Emphasis is placed on sensitive listening, understanding and holding difficult emotional states, and providing emotional support,concrete assistance and developmental guidance specific to the individual child. Participants will learn about the early identification of risk, screening for social/emotional/behavior problems and how to assess the parent/child relationship,including the parents’ and the child’s capacities for relatedness. Major emphasis is placed on the practice of parent/infant psychotherapy, including understanding and responding to the parents’ history, allowing relationship conflicts to be expressed and explored, and supporting parents in observing, nurturing and engaging with their child.Participants will have the opportunity to learn about different approaches to parent/infant psychotherapy and to receive training in interaction guidance, a method that uses a videotape intervention approach. Students will develop in-depth intervention skills as well as learn to recognize the limits of their practice, based on their disciplinary training, and how to collaborate with other care systems including adult mental health services. Topics covered will include parental psychiatric illness, chemical dependency, child maltreatment and trauma, failure to thrive, domestic violence and infants and toddlers in foster care.