Caring for Generations
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Infant-Parent Training Institute

Infant Mental Health Fellowship

Year One Curriculum

The Infant-Parent Development Seminar offers a multi-disciplinary approach to conceptualizing how infants and their caregivers grow and develop together within the earliest relationships. Through readings, discussion, video, and case material we explore theories of attachment, infant and parent development, and the impact of early experiences, including trauma, on development through the lifespan. The course focuses on integrating developmental and relational theory to understand the ways in which infants and their caregivers express their emotions, intentions, and conflicts. Early attachments and ways of relating can influence individuals throughout life. Understanding the impact of these early experiences helps to inform our ways of working therapeutically with others.

The Integrative Seminar offers a range of opportunities for understanding the clinical application of infant mental health concepts. Drawing on readings, shared observations, and clinical cases, the course begins to build bridges between theoretical ideas about early development and the world of professional practice. The course builds capacities in two arenas: integrating conceptual material into practice and understanding ourselves as practitioners in the work. These dual goals of thinking about the material and thinking about oneself, provides the frame for the discussions, assignments, and exercises of the class.

The Infant Observation course helps prepare professionals for working with infants, parents, and families. The course includes a two-hour small group seminar, weekly one-hour observations of an infant-parent dyad, written observations, and readings on aspects of infant observation, development, and infant-parent interaction. The course meets twice a month from September to June and must be taken prior to or during the first year of the Fellowship.

Year Two Curriculum

The Assessment and Intervention Seminar emphasizes Clinical Assessment and Intervention. Students will be introduced to a range of assessment tools appropriate for children birth to five, as well as tools and approaches that assess parent representations, risks, and strengths in the early caregiving environment and parent-child interactions and relationships. We will become familiar with a range of intervention strategies, approaches, and models including parent-infant and parent-child psychotherapy, Circle of Security, Minding the Baby, Nurse-Family Partnership, etc. We will consider the impact on the parent-child relationship of special circumstances, such as parental depression, trauma, prematurity, special needs, adoption, and foster care. Faculty and invited guests will share their work, present cases, and respond to student case presentations of their work.

Clinical Work/Consultation

  • Clinical work is a requirement in the second year of the Fellowship. Each Fellow carries two cases at a time to meet the requirement for clinical work.
    • Some Fellows may meet the requirement for clinical work in their current professional setting. Cases are selected from the Fellow’s work that provide the opportunity to apply the concepts and intervention approaches studied in the Fellowship to clinical work with families and children. Cases are presented for consultation as described below.
    • Some Fellows may have the opportunity to do clinical work through the JF&CS Center for Early Relationship Support. Arrangements are worked out on an individual basis with the CERS Clinical Director.
  • Clinical consultation is provided for all Fellows by IPTI Faculty; typically Fellows are paired up for this consultation and meet for one hour, every other week, at a time to be arranged. Some students may request or require individual consultation; in these cases consultation would be provided for an additional fee.


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