Infant Mental Health Series


Brain Development & Attachment and the NRF

Connie Lillas, PhD, MFT, RN


This foundational (advanced), day-long course sets the stage for all other training modules within EITI, by presenting a groundbreaking dynamic systems approach to brain development and brain functioning. The Neurorelational Framework (Lillas & Turnbull, 2009) provides the basis for a comprehensive and cohesive interdisciplinary framework that all disciplines can readily use. This training day will discuss the clinical integration of neurodevelopmental principles, in the context of relationships, applied across the lifespan. The “neuro” aspects of this framework are captured in the practical presentation of four brain systems – regulation, sensory, relevance, and executive. These four overlapping brain systems elucidate and simplify complex neurodevelopmental processes for infants, children, and parents. The “relational” aspects of this framework are captured in the use of the Socio-Emotional Milestones (Greenspan, 1985; Greenspan & Wieder, 1998; Axis V of the DC: 0-3R, 2005) and three interpersonal modes. Combined, the intersection of these “neuro” and “relational” principles, guide the clinician in comprehending the underlying meaning of behavior, cutting across all diagnostic categories and clinical models. While the morning session includes the conceptual principles, with accompanying video clips, the afternoon portion applies these principles to a video-based case that participants both observe and practice applying the framework. Worksheets that contain critical information regarding the four brain systems will be provided and used during this practice.

This training provides 1 hour each for Knowledge Domains A, B, C, D, E, F, G, for a total of 7 hours toward the California Infant-Family & Early Childhood Mental Health Core Competencies.


Socio-emotional Milestones and Development

Mona Delahooke, PhD


Axis V of the DC: 0-3R (2005) provides the foundation for assessing the quality of engagement and intervening to improve the attachment within any parent-child dyad through learning how to observe interpersonal, developmental, socio-emotional milestones (Greenspan, 1985; Greenspan & Wieder, 1998). These interpersonal and socio-emotional milestones aide professionals in assessing the child through free play and sensory play, within any relational context – whether with a parent, foster parent, relative, teacher, or him/herself. Within each of these socio-emotional milestones are embedded sensory, motor, emotion, and speech and language developmental milestones. Both typical and atypical development is observed through video clips. While all brain systems (regulation, sensory, relevance, and executive) support the success of these developmental and socio-emotional milestones, brain systems with a particular emphasis to the success of each milestone is discussed.

This training provides 2 hours each for Knowledge Domains A & B, and 1 hour each for Knowledge Domains C, F & G, for a total of 7 hours toward the California Infant-Family & Early Childhood Mental Health Core Competencies.

SESSION THREE                                                                                                   


Catherine Crowley, OTD, OTR/L


Each of the four brain systems have their own neurodevelopmental capacities that apply to infants, children, and parents (adults). The quality of early attachment is thus dependent upon the ability to make use of sensory preferences that facilitate falling in love within the parent-child dyad. This course trains clinicians across all disciplines to identify the ability to accurately make use of sensory modalities (process) and to identify sensory preferences and triggers (modulate) within the family system. Sensory system breakdowns not only contribute to emotional dysregulation that can be a part of any mental health diagnostic category, they also are the core of speech delays, learning disabilities, and educational delays. Thus, the sensory system cuts across many diagnostic categories from both the infant mental health and early intervention/disabilities fields. Video clips and the use of the NRF’s worksheets will be used in practice.

This training provides 3 hours for Knowledge Domain C; 1 hour each for Knowledge Domain B, D, F, and G; for a total of 7 hours toward the California Infant-Family & Early Childhood Mental Health Core Competencies.

SESSION FOUR                                                                                                   

Diagnosis and Assessment Through an Integrative Lens

Mayra Mendez, PhD, MFT, CGP, IFECMHS


This intermediate level presentation will focus on how to assess and understand mental health issues as they present in children 0-5 years of age from neuro-developmental, relational, functional, medical, ecosystemic and strength-based perspectives.  Participants will review vignette materials and sample case development with the objective of increasing their knowledge of assessment and diagnostic formulation.  This training will promote mental health assessment skills of gathering, interpreting and formulating relevant diagnostic impressions as obtained from parent / child/environmental influences.

This training provides 2 hours each for Knowledge Domains A, E and F; 1 hour each for Knowledge Domain B; for a total of 7 hours toward the California Infant-Family & Early Childhood Mental Health Core Competencies.

Since assessment and diagnosis covers a wide range of topics, this course can be tailored to meet various needs. To accommodate the professional demand for ICARE and DC 0-3R knowledge, EITI regularly provides a two-day training separate from the IMHS on this combined topic (2 & 3), featuring our core faculty member, Dr. Mayra Mendez. 

**In addition to EITI offering CE credits sponsored by American Psychological Association, each module in this series provides 7 hours of core competency credit for Core Providers and Mental Health Specialists as specified by the California Training Guidelines and Personnel Competencies for Infant-Family and Early Childhood Mental Health.