Posted by Peggy Kaufman
Last Monday night I had the wonderful opportunity to participate in the third graduation of the Infant-Parent Training Institute (IPTI). Ten post-graduate professional fellows celebrated the completion of their two-year fellowship in Infant Mental Health. Our graduating fellows hail from a range of disciplines including psychology, social work, education, and nursing. It was a thrill to hear the fellows and faculty alike share their personal tributes and stories of their professional journeys. Serious remarks were mixed with silliness, including the distribution of marbles to each fellow: an inside joke about "losing their marbles" during the intensive two year study process. I was deeply moved by the ways the fellows shared their enriched experiences of feeling known, heard, and understood as learners and clinicians. One such reflection came from graduate Emily Fischer (pictured below):
"This fellowship has supplied me with innumerable points of light that guide and orient me, ranging from the most concrete - a plethora of assessment tools - to the most intangible - the knowing that happens in the group mind. So, ending for me means letting go of the tangible elements - the coming together and seeing each other every other week, the stack of papers to read, the assignments we've worked to put together. I am proud of all of us for the accomplishments, and especially grateful that we have had leaders who have helped us to approach our work with families, and ourselves, with such deep integrity and respect. My hope for all of us is that we carry the intangibles with us - the broad and expanding thinking, the listening on multiple levels, the flexibility in how we engage, and that we find places and people that nurture these ways of being in us."
Since leaving a rich learning community is a challenge, several of the graduating fellows have requested our first-ever third year of IPTI training, which will begin in the fall. Our Infant-Parent Training Institute is a home that continues to build new opportunities.
Peggy H. Kaufman, MEd, LICSW is the founding director of the JF&CS Center for Early Relationship Support. With a background in perinatal emotional health and the growth and development of parents, her interests include the earliest relationships. Ms. Kaufman is the recipient of multiple awards for her groundbreaking programs and her commitment to increase awareness of postpartum depression and maternal mental health.