The Institute for Parenting Post Master’s Program in Parent-Infant Mental Health, Developmental Practice and Trauma is a 2-year intensive training program designed for clinicians, supervisors, and consultants. This program is unique in its theory and research to practice emphasis, its grounding in infant and early childhood development, its cross-disciplinary scope and its practitioner practicality perspective. Rooted in the relational context of the work, the course of study embraces the complexity of the children and families served as well as the systems in which service is delivered. The program offers what the IMH clinician really needs to know to do the work. It is practice driven. In addition, the program aims to help the clinician formulate new and deeper ways to think about the why and how of practice.
The term Infant Mental Health (IMH) is a slight misnomer and also includes Early Childhood Mental Health. IMH can be understood as the developing capacity of the 0-5-year-old child to experience, regulate and express emotions; form close and secure interpersonal relationships, explore the environment; and learn within the psychological balance of the parent-infant relational system, as well as larger family, community and culture without serious disruption caused by harmful life events.
Recent neuropsychological research has shown that infants are born with their brains wired to be engaged in important nurturing and protective relationships. They come into the world with remarkable capacities to establish and regulate these relationships. Infants are surprisingly competent and endowed with predispositions toward attachment promoting behaviors. They are not the “blank slates” they were once thought to be. Infants possess an amazing repertoire of social and emotional capacities that are designed to give their parent information about their well-being and to actively behave in ways that modify and regulate the behavior of their parents. The infant’s capacities to execute these signaling behaviors have roots across developmental domains. In turn, infants seek emotional responsiveness from their parents and become disturbed when it is not forthcoming.
Although the infant’s contribution to the relationship with his parent is great, it cannot be separated from the context of the parent. The infant-parent relationship will suffer when infants fail to display behaviors or characteristics which elicit responsive caregiving as can be the case with some who are premature, drug-exposed or who have developmental challenges. Sometimes it is parents who cannot modify their expectations because their early life was characterized by unmet needs, abandonment and maltreatment, or because current stressors like maternal depression, mental illness or domestic violence are present.
Infant Mental Health Practice is an interdisciplinary field that represents a dramatic shift in clinical practice. IMH practice focuses on the development of 0-5 year-olds within the context of the early parent-child relationship as the foundation for healthy social-emotional, cognitive, language and even physical development. IMH offers ways of conceptualizing early disruptions in the attachment process, and of organizing interventions. Its focus is on the mental health and relational dimensions of development that unfold in the context of other related domains of development, all of which are intimately and inextricably interlaced in infancy. Thus, the thrust of IMH practice must be developmentally and trauma informed.
Infant Mental Health specialists work within the context of the parent-child relationship to strengthen parental capacity while promoting both an understanding of the needs of infants and young children, as well as their parents’ unique ability to meet those needs. The dimensions of service aim to meet the needs of families on multiple levels and in many settings and include a service continuum that includes both prevention and intervention.
This comprehensive and intensive approach integrates a range of methods and services that include emotional support, developmental/parent guidance, early relationship assessment, infant-parent psychotherapy, advocacy and concrete assistance.
Attachment theory tells us that the early parent-child relationship is the secure base from which children explore and learn about their world, and will serve as a model for future relationships. When the attachment relationship is impaired or disrupted, healthy development is at risk. From birth, infants begin to develop an understanding about themselves, their parents, and the world, based upon their experiences in their earliest relationships. These experiences with parents begin to determine the answers to such questions as “Am I loved or unloved?”, “Do my feelings and actions get felt and responded to?”, “Am I a worthwhile person?” and “Are others to be trusted or mistrusted?” For this reason, emotionally attuned and responsive positive early interactions with parents are essential for infants to come to know the world and themselves as fundamentally good. (Costa, 2000)
When the infant is not met by a warm, attuned, and available parent, his/her capacity for social relatedness and development along multiple lines can go awry just as when the parent is confronted with the infant’s developmental difficulties, then her/his capacity to parent can be challenged. Moreover, recent brain research indicates that actual changes take place in the physical and chemical structures in the brain, in response to experiences. This means that the infant’s experience of early caregiving that include failures of the early environment to provide adequate attunement and protection can have an enormous impact leading to depression, limited impulse control and aggression later in life. From this perspective, then, it becomes clear why it is essential to provide intervention to parents together with their infants, toddlers or preschoolers to promote the attachment relationship.
Despite the importance of development during this period and the costs of early derailment of the infant-caregiver relationship, there are a paucity of programs providing services to infants, toddlers, preschoolers and their parents. There are even fewer available training opportunities.
The emotional and behavioral challenges seen as children grow older are often related to gaps and lapses in the foundation of their development. These gaps can derail basic capacities to relate and communicate, share attention and self-regulate. Developmental disturbance can disrupt the formation of empathy and comprehension of the world and the capacity to communicate thoughts and feelings with words, play and other symbols. The program’s focus on understanding the foundations of development and early experiences makes sense for any clinician who is interested in training that will support and enhance their work with families and children at all ages.
This program is for interdisciplinary post master’s professionals from many different backgrounds such as social workers, pediatricians, psychiatrists, neonatologists, nurse practitioners, midwives, speech pathologists, psychologists, psychiatrists, obstetricians, family therapists, mental health counselors, school counselors, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and other licensed professionals whose work impacts the lives of young children and families.
Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis.
Class size will be limited.
Please note: Applications will not be considered until ALL materials are submitted.
Year one of the program begins in October 2017 and continues through June 2018. Year two, 2018-2019 begins in September 2018 and continues through June 2019.
Adelphi University Manhattan Center
75 Varick Street
New York, NY 10013
Year One (2017-2018): Tuesday Evenings, 6:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m.
|October 2017||10, 17, 24|
|November 2017||7, 14, 28|
|December 2017||5, 12, 19|
|January 2018||16, 23, 30|
|February 2018||6, 13, 27|
|March 2018||6, 13, 20, 27|
|April 2018||10, 17, 24|
|May 2018||1, 8, 15, 22, 29|
|June 2018||5, 12, 19|
Year Two (2018-2019): Tuesday Evenings, 6:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m.
|September 2018||4, 11, 18, 25|
|October 2018||2, 9, 16, 23, 30|
|November 2018||6, 13, 27|
|December 2018||4, 11, 18|
|January 2019||15, 22, 29|
|February 2019||5, 12, 26|
|March 2019||5, 19, 26|
|April 2019||2, 9, 16, 23, 30|
|May 2019||7, 14, 21, 28|
|June 2019||4, 11, 18|
The coursework in this program meets some of the competencies for Endorsement through the New York State Association for Infant Mental Health
Marcy Safyer, Ph.D., LCSW-R, IMH-E® IV-C, is a NYS-AIMH Endorsed Infant Mental Health Specialist and the Director of the Adelphi University Institute for Parenting. As a clinician with more than 30 years of experience, she has worked broadly with adults and children with a focus on young and developing families and has extensive training in working with very young children who have experienced trauma. Ms. Safyer has taught and trained clinical social workers and other professionals on topics such as psychopathology, attachment theory, and the impact of trauma on the development of young children. In addition, her research and clinical interests are in the development of effective intervention programs for at-risk young children and their parents such as those in foster care or the criminal justice system. She is also the founding president of the New York State Association of Infant Mental Health.
Joaniko Kohchi, MPhil, LCSW, IMH-E® (IV-C), is a NYS-AIMH Endorsed Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Specialist with both clinical and training experience spanning several regions of the United States. Ms. Kohchi focuses on children, families, and adults who have survived traumatic events, often leading to out-of-home care and court involvement, and has long experience implementing Child-Parent Psychotherapy. Ms. Kohchi has worked in early care and educational settings, as well as in PK-12 schools for students with typical and atypical development, providing direct service to children and families, consultation to staff, and supervision to interns, externs, fellows, post-docs, and residents. Ms. Kohchi has served as an expert witness in several states, and has enjoyed appointments as clinical and research faculty. Ms. Kohchi is Co-President of the New York Zero-to-Three Network and is an original member of the Association of Infant Mental Health in Tennessee and a member of the New York State Association of Infant Mental Health.
Gilbert Foley, Ed.D. IMH-E® IV-C, is a NYS-AIMH Endorsed Infant Mental Health Specialist, recently retired from his position as an Associate Professor of School Clinical-Child Psychology at Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology. He is the co-director of the Infant Mental Health and Developmental Practice Federally funded training program at Adelphi University. He also serves as Consulting Clinical Director of the Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation and Treatment Program of The New York Center for Child Development (NYCCD). Dr. Foley has focused his entire career as a psychologist and educator primarily in the field of infancy and early childhood.
Erica Willheim, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor and Clinical Psychologist in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center, and Clinical Director of the Family PEACE Program at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. She serves as an instructor on the faculties of both the Parent-Infant Psychotherapy Training Program at the Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research, and the Infant-Parent Studies program at the Institute for Infants, Children, and Families at the Jewish Board for Family and Children’s Services. In addition to private practice in New York City, Dr. Willheim works with various agencies as a consultant regarding the effects of early childhood trauma, and as a nationally endorsed trainer in Child-Parent Psychotherapy (CPP).
Judith Solomon, Ph.D., is internationally recognized for her pioneering research and training in attachment and caregiving, including the discovery and delineation of the disorganized attachment category and the first longitudinal study of infants in separated and divorced families. She has developed key measures of caregiving and child attachment, including the Caregiving Interview, the Attachment Doll Play Projective Assessment, and the Maternal Helplessness Questionnaire. Dr. Solomon is the first editor of Attachment Disorganization, (Guilford Publications, 1999) and Disorganized Attachment and Caregiving (Guilford Publications, 2011). She is also a licensed clinical psychologist with expertise in the area of infant and early childhood mental health and parent-child psychotherapy. She received specialized training in Infant Parent Psychotherapy at the University of California, San Francisco and is the former Director of Clinical Training and Supervision of the Child FIRST program in Bridgeport, CT.
Required Full-Day WorkshopsDates are still TBD
Nonrefundable Application Fee: $15
Course Seminar Fee: $3,750 per year
Trainings/Workshops (discounted price for participants for 5 workshops): $450 per year
Program cost: $4,215 per year, plus a one-time Application Fee (Total cost for the two years: $8,415)
Marcy Safyer, Ph.D., Director
Institute for Parenting
P.O. Box 701
Garden City, NY 11530
If your application is accepted, we will send you the registration link via email.
This program has been approved for a total of 100 NYSED continuing education credits/units/hours.
Social Work CEUs: Adelphi University’s School of Social Work is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #0032.
CASAC training hours: Program information has been submitted for approval to the New York State Office of Addiction and Substance Abuse Services Education and Training for credits toward re credentialing.
Psychology CE credits: Adelphi University’s School of Social Work is approved by the American Psychological Association to offer continuing education credits for psychologists. Adelphi University maintains responsibility for the program and its content. Attendance to the entire conference is required. No partial credit is given. To apply for CE credits, contact the Institute for Parenting at 516.237.8513.
This program is offered for 10.0 CEUs at the intermediate level professional area.
Adelphi University Institute for Parenting is an NBCC-Approved Continuing Education Provider (ACEP™) and may offer NBCC-approved clock hours for events that meet NBCC requirements. The ACEP solely is responsible for all aspects of the program.
Nursing Contact Hours: Some activities have been submitted to the Arizona Nurses’ Association for approval to award contact hours. The Arizona Nurses Association is accredited as an approver of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation. Please check each individual training.
*The University reserves the right to cancel this or any program due to insufficient enrollment. Registrants will be notified and full refunds will be issued.