Caring for Generations
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Infant-Parent Training Institute

Master Classes

The Infant-Parent Training Institute offers Master Class, half-day professional development seminars, each spring and fall.

Master Classes are opportunities for experts in the field to share current research and knowledge on a variety of infant-parent mental health topics. Master Classes are open to the general public; advanced registration is required. CEUs for some disciplines are offered.

Upcoming Master Class

When: April 26, 2019, 1:00 - 3:30 p.m. 
Coming to Life in Time: Early Deprivation and the Sense of a Lively Future

Master Class Overview
Time plays a central role in both clinical work and child development. Dr. Seligman conceptualizes “disorders of temporality”; one form involves the blurring of past and present, but another is a more basic deficit in the sense of a meaningful future. This lifeless state will be linked with the experience of an infant with a parent who does not respond to the baby’s feelings and gestures so as to support the infant’s most basic senses of personal agency. A relational-developmental approach is applied to show how the common sense of time as motion toward an emerging future is embedded in personal experiences of other people’s sympathetic responses. Video vignettes of infant-caregiver interaction will illuminate moments of patient-therapist interaction, alternatively reflecting chronic lifelessness and enlivening responsiveness.

About the Speaker
Stephen Seligman, D.M.H., is a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at UCSF; Joint Editor-in-Chief of Psychoanalytic Dialogues; Training and Supervising Analyst at the San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis and the Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California; and Clinical Professor at the New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychoanalysis. Dr. Seligman has recently authored Relationships in Development: Infancy, Intersubjectivity, and Attachment (Routledge, 2018) and is co-editor of the American Psychiatric Press’ Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health: Core Concepts and Clinical Practice.

Dr. Seligman's book, Relationships in Development: Infancy, Intersubjectivity, and Attachment, will be available for purchase at the event.

This Master Class is offered in conjunction with A Home Within, a national organization dedicated to meeting the emotional needs of foster youth. 


Early Registration Discount through April 6: $50
Registration after April 6: $65

Applications for CEUs for social workers and licensed mental health clinicians have been submitted for this event.   

Recent Master Classes

High-Risk Families in the Court System: The Integration of Infant Mental Health Practice into Family Courts

Master Class Overview
This course will address the important contributions that infant mental health professionals can make in cases of child abuse and neglect within the court system.  The class will review the risk factors that infants contend with in the context of maltreatment, and the complex needs of court-involved parents. It will describe the shortfalls inherent to child welfare systems and Family Courts, in which legal and judicial staff make critical decisions about very young children without the benefit of background in early child development, and the benefits that accrue when an infant mental health practitioner becomes an active presence in the Family Court.  The course will describe efforts around the country to develop specialized courts for infants and toddlers, with a particular focus on New York City's Strong Starts Court Initiative.

About the Speaker
Susan Chinitz is a psychologist with specialties in the areas of infant/early childhood mental health and developmental disabilities in infancy and early childhood.

She was the former director of the Early Childhood Center and the Center for Babies, Toddlers and Families at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine where she was a Professor of Clinical Pediatrics and the Raizen Distinguished Scholar in Pediatrics. She is currently spearheading the development and expansion of the Strong Starts Court Initiative in the NYC Family Courts and is also the Clinical Co-Director of a Training and Technical Assistance Center that is providing support to seven new Early Childhood Mental Health Treatment Centers funded by the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Remembering the “Forgotten Parent:” Lessons from Practice and Research About the Changing Roles and Needs of Fathers of Infants and Young Children.

Master Class Overview
Fathers used to be known as “the forgotten parent” but their presence as front-line caretakers has increased dramatically since 1965. Research suggests that fathers spend three times as much time with their children now as they did in 1965. The success of the Feminist Movement and the changing economic climate in the US have led fathers, some out of necessity and some out of interest, to be more active and emotionally engaged in their children’s lives. At the same time, 25% of children grow up without a father in the house. In the context of this polarized picture, Dr. Ray Levy will discuss child outcomes and fathers' attitudes about the birth of their children. From his work at The Fatherhood Project at MGH, Dr. Levy will share lessons learned on incorporating father friendly practices in medical services to encourage early father involvement and the development of programs for fathers in recovery and teen dads.

About the Speaker
Dr. Levy is the Founder and Executive Director of The Fatherhood Project at Mass General Hospital. Through programs, training and original research, TFP is dedicated to helping men be more knowledgeable, active and emotionally engaged with their children. Being a father has been a central part of Dr. Levy’s life. He is also the Senior Editor of a book series on Psychodynamic Psychotherapy Research. Dr. Levy has been in the private practice of psychotherapy for 35 years, currently in Belmont, MA.

Trauma and Immigration Stress among Latino Families: Implications for Infant-Caregiver Well-Being 

Master Class Overview
The experience of immigration is universally stressful and the current climate heightens feelings of uncertainty and fear. How do these realities impact families and the relationships between parents and their young children? An ecological model can provide a frame to understand the multiple risk and protective factors, which determine the quality of an infant-caregiver relationship. Immigrant women are particularly vulnerable to trauma, discrimination and health disparities, yet there has been limited research describing the implications for maternal-child well-being. This master class will include a presentation of findings from clinical research studies of Latino immigrants in the United States and clinical examples to examine the factors that have an impact on Latina immigrant women's emotional health, including the impact of exposure to interpersonal violence, discrimination, poverty and disadvantage and immigration status. We will discuss implications for infant-caregiver health, and specific intervention, prevention, and policy considerations. Following the didactic presentation, staff from the Early Connections/Conexiones Tempranas program of the Center for Early Relationship Support will share clinical vignettes and qviruestions from dyadic work with Latina immigrant parents and their young children.

About the Speaker
Lisa Fortuna, MD, MPH is Medical Director for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Boston Medical Center (BMC) and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine. She is Co-Director of Transforming and Enhancing Access to Mental Health in Urban Pediatrics (TEAM UP for Children), a BMC-community health center partnership aimed at building excellence in behavioral health care integration in primary care for children (ages 0-18 years) and families in Boston and Lowell, MA. Her clinical career has focused on health services research with a particular focus on post-traumatic stress disorder; Latino, immigrant and adolescent mental health services; access to care and quality of treatment for underserved minority and immigrant populations. She is a co-founder of the Refugee and Immigrant Assistance Center Community Counseling program, which offers mental health care integrated within a refugee resettlement agency in Boston. She has been an investigator on several NIH-funded national and international epidemiological and clinical studies of immigrant and minority mental health. She has published peer reviewed articles and chapters in the field of multicultural mental health services research and in posttraumatic stress and a book on the treatment of PTSD and co-occurring substance use disorders in adolescence.

Early Signs and Symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder 

Master Class Overview
Professionals in the early childhood field are faced with the difficult tasks of identifying early signs of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in infants and young children and of sharing their concerns with parents sensitively and effectively. In this Master Class, Dr. Carter will discuss research that helps us understand early symptom presentation and the varied course of onset of autism spectrum disorders. Specific strategies to assist in identifying early symptom presentation, including the use of behavioral checklists and structured observations, will be discussed. The importance of learning about parents’ concerns and beliefs about their children’s red flag behaviors will be emphasized as well as potential approaches for discussing ASD when you suspect that a child may be on the spectrum.

About the Speaker
Alice Carter is a professor in the psychology department at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Trained as a clinical psychologist, Dr. Carter’s work focuses on young children’s development in the context of family relationships, with an emphasis on the early identification of psychopathology and factors that place children at risk for difficulties in social and emotional development. Dr. Carter is an author or co-author of more than 200 articles and chapters, the co-editor of the Handbook of Infant, Toddler, and Preschool Mental Health Assessment with Rebecca Del Carmen, PhD, and the co-author of the Infant-Toddler Social and Emotional Assessment (ITSEA) and the Brief Infant-Toddler Social and Emotional Assessment (BITSEA) with Margaret Briggs-Gowan, PhD. She is a member of the Zero to Three DC: 0-5 Task Force, and a DC: 0-5 trainer.

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