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Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health

Core Concepts and Clinical Practice

Edited by Kristie Brandt, C.N.M., M.S.N., D.N.P., Bruce D. Perry, M.D., Ph.D., Stephen Seligman, DMH, and Ed Tronick, Ph.D.
Foreword by T. Berry Brazelton, M.D.

  • ISBN 978-1-58562-455-3
  • Item #62455

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Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health: Core Concepts and Clinical Practice is a groundbreaking book that provides an overview of the field from both theoretical and clinical viewpoints. The editors and chapter authors—some of the field's foremost researchers and teachers—describe from their diverse perspectives key concepts fundamental to infant-parent and early childhood mental health work. The complexity of this emerging field demands an interdisciplinary approach, and the book provides a clear, comprehensive, and coherent text with an abundance of clinical applications to increase understanding and help the reader to integrate the concepts into clinical practice.

Offering both cutting-edge coverage and a format that facilitates learning, the book boasts the following features and content:

  • A focus on helping working professionals expand their specialization skills and knowledge and on offering core competency training for those entering the field, which reflects the Infant-Parent Mental Health Postgraduate Certificate Program (IPMHPCP) and Fellowship in Napa, CA that was the genesis of the book.
  • Chapters written by a diverse group of authors with vastly different training, expertise, and clinical experience, underscoring the book's interdisciplinary approach. In addition, terms such as clinician, therapist, provider, professional, and teacher are intentionally used interchangeably to describe and unify the field.
  • Explication and analysis of a variety of therapeutic models, including Perry's Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics; Brazelton's neurodevelopmental and relational Touchpoints; attachment theory; the Neurorelational Framework; Mindsight; and Downing's Video Intervention Therapy.
  • An entire chapter devoted to diagnostic schemas for children ages 0–5, which highlights the Diagnostic Classification of Mental Health Disorders of Infancy and Early Childhood: Revised (DC:0-3R). With the release of DSM-5, this chapter provides a prototypical crosswalk between DC:0-3R and ICD codes.
  • A discussion of the difference between evidence-based treatments and evidence-based practices in the field, along with valuable information on randomized controlled trials, a research standard that, while often not feasible or ethically permissible in infant mental health work, remains a standard applied to the field.
  • Key points and references at the end of each chapter, and generous use of figures, tables, and other resources to enhance learning.

The volume editors and authors are passionate about the pressing need for further research and the acquisition and application of new knowledge to support the health and well-being of individuals, families, and communities. Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health: Core Concepts and Clinical Practice should find a receptive audience for this critically important message.


  • Contributors
  • Foreword
  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • Chapter 1. Core Concepts in Infant-Family and Early Childhood Mental Health
  • Chapter 2. The Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics: Application of a Developmentally Sensitive and Neurobiology-Informed Approach to Clinical Problem Solving in Maltreated Children
  • Appendix 2–1: Initial Report for Suzy
  • Appendix 2–2: Initial Recommendations for Suzy
  • Appendix 2–3: Reevaluation Report for Suzy
  • Chapter 3. Typical and Atypical Development: Peek-a-Boo and Blind Selection
  • Chapter 4. Brazelton's Neurodevelopmental and Relational Touchpoints and Infant Mental Health
  • Chapter 5. The Neurorelational Framework in Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health
  • Chapter 6. Attachment Theory: Implications for Young Children and Their Parents
  • Chapter 7. Psychoanalytic and Psychodynamic Theory: Play Therapy for Young Children
  • Chapter 8. Interpersonal Neurobiology, Mindsight, and Integration: The Mind, Relationships, and the Brain
  • Chapter 9. Basics of Counseling in Infant-Parent and Early Childhood Mental Health
  • Chapter 10. Behavioral Epigenetics and the Developmental Origins of Child Mental Health Disorders
  • Chapter 11. DC:0-3R: A Diagnostic Schema for Infants and Young Children and Their Families
  • Chapter 12. Fussy Babies: Early Challenges in Regulation, Impact on the Dyad and Family, and Longer-Term Implications
  • Chapter 13. Developmental and Dyadic Implications of Challenges With Sensory Processing, Physical Functioning, and Sensory-Based Self-Regulation
  • Chapter 14. Autism Spectrum Disorders: The Importance of Parent-Child Relationships
  • Chapter 15. Touch in Parent-Infant Mental Health: Arousal, Regulation, and Relationships
  • Chapter 16. Developmental Psychopathology: Core Principles and Implications for Child Mental Health
  • Chapter 17. Video Intervention Therapy for Parents With a Psychiatric Disturbance
  • Chapter 18. Evidence-Based Treatments and Evidence-Based Practices in the Infant-Parent Mental Health Field
  • Chapter 19. Transforming Clinical Practice Through Reflection Work
  • Chapter 20. Attachment, Intersubjectivity, and Mentalization Within the Experience of the Child, the Parent, and the Provider
  • Index


    Marie E. Anzalone, Sc.D., O.T.R./L., F.A.O.T.A.
    T. Berry Brazelton, M.D.
    Kristie Brandt, C.N.M., M.S.N., D.N.P.
    Cailey Bromer, B.S.
    James Diel, M.Ed., M.F.T.
    George Downing, Ph.D.
    Joshua Feder, M.D.
    Tiffany Field, Ph.D.
    Carol George, Ph.D.
    Linda Gilkerson, Ph.D.
    Larry Gray, M.D.
    Alexandra Murray Harrison, M.D.
    Stephen P. Hinshaw, Ph.D.
    John Hornstein, Ed.D.
    Wolfgang Jordan, M.B.A., M.I.M.
    Cassandra L. Joubert, Sc.D.
    Barry M. Lester, Ph.D.
    Connie Lillas, Ph.D., M.F.T., R.N.
    Mark Ludwig M.S.W., L.C.S.W.
    Carmen J. Marsit, Ph.D.
    Barbara McCarroll, Ph.D.
    Michael M. Morgan, Ph.D., L.M.F.T.
    Benjamin W. Nelson, B.A.
    Cherise Northcutt, Ph.D.
    Suzanne C. Parker, B.A.
    Bruce D. Perry, M.D., Ph.D.
    Corinna Reck, Ph.D.
    Margaret Ritchey, M.A., R.P.T., D.P.T.
    Ruby Moye' Salazar, L.C.S.W., B.C.D.
    Stephen Seligman, D.M.H.
    Daniel J. Siegel, M.D.
    Mary Beth Steinfeld, M.D.
    Barbara Stroud, Ph.D.
    Ed Tronick, Ph.D.
    Regina von Einsiedel, M.D.
    Susanne Wortmann-Fleischer, M.D.

About the Authors

Kristie Brandt, C.N.M., D.N.P., is Assistant Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the UC Davis School of Medicine, Sacramento, California; Director of the University of Massachusetts Infant-Parent Mental Health Postgraduate Certificate Program and Fellowship in Napa, California; Brazelton Touchpoints Center Visiting Faculty, Boston, Massachusetts; and a ChildTrauma Academy Fellow, Houston, Texas.

Bruce D. Perry, M.D., Ph.D., is Senior Fellow at the ChildTrauma Academy in Houston, Texas; Adjunct Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois; and, inaugural Senior Fellow, Berry Street Childhood Institute, Melbourne, Victoria, AU.

Stephen Seligman, D.M.H., is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry in the Infant-Parent Program at the University of California, San Francisco; Joint Editor-in-Chief of Psychoanalytic Dialogues: International Journal of Relational Perspectives; and Training and Supervising Analyst at the San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis and the Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California in San Francisco, California.

Ed Tronick, Ph.D., is the University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Massachusetts Boston; Research Associate in the Department of Newborn Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts; and Lecturer, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.

Foreword by

T. Berry Brazelton, M.D., Clinical Professor of Pediatrics Emeritus at Harvard Medical School; and Founder and Faculty of the Brazelton Touchpoints Center in the Division of Developmental Medicine at Boston Children's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts.

This ambitious volume brings together some of the most outspoken theorists, researchers and practitioners building the field of infant mental health from overlapping frameworks, models and disciplines. It reveals the challenges and excitement of this time, as this field sorts through the psychoanalytic and attachment theories of its origins, integrates emerging neuroscience and epigenetic theories whose applications to practice are still being worked out, to stake out its territory, tests its boundaries, and develops its own identity. More than that, this collection suggests a truly transdisciplinary path for a whole new kind of field, born from a range of others, that is creating new meanings and possibilities at their intersections for babies, families, clinicians, systems of care, researchers and policy-makers.—Joshua Sparrow, M.D., Harvard Medical School, Boston Children's Hospital

Recent advances in neuroscience now describe how early relational experiences directly impact the developing brain, and thereby all later social emotional functioning. These data are forging tight links between optimal early brain maturation, the emergence of the infant's adaptive coping capacities, and infant mental health. In this book an impressive group of experts highlight the critical role of the development of mental health in infancy and early childhood. I highly recommend this volume to clinicians and researchers alike.—Allan N. Schore, Ph.D., UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, author of The Science of the Art of Psychotherapy

For those of us who work daily with parents who never smile at their baby and have no idea how to play, this book explains the reasons for their parenting deficits, the effects of those deficits on the baby, and the interventions that we need to implement to help them become good enough parents. The giants in the field of infant mental health have created this comprehensive volume that so vividly brings the research to life in a way that practitioners can understand and appreciate. I know I will make better decisions for the families in my courtroom as a result of reading this book.—Cindy S. Lederman, J.D., Circuit Court Judge, Eleventh Judicial Circuit Juvenile Justice Center

This book addresses the complex realities of family life and the real work of clinicians in their multifaceted efforts to support families with infants and young children. The essential ingredients for optimal mental health in the first 5 years are insightfully explained with practical approaches to treatment when development is derailed. The authors integrate psychodynamic theory and treatment with developmental theory and research, making well-informed treatment of infant-parent relationships accessible to all clinicians.—Barbara Kalmanson, Ph.D., ICDL Graduate School,

Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health: Core Concepts and Clinical Practice presents a broad perspective using concepts and approaches based on psychoanalytic and psychodynamic theory, observations, neuroscience and, perhaps, most importantly clinical sensitivity. A goal of the book is to help the reader understand the different meanings of the important statement made many years ago by T. Berry Brazelton that 'the quality of the infant-parent or child-parent relationship is the best predictor of outcome for any child.' This sensitive book provides an interdisciplinary understanding that is fundamental to training and practice with infants, young children and their families. The authors do an excellent job in elaborating on different theoretical and conceptual models as well as therapeutic approaches to support clinicians in exploring the gateways and pathways for therapeutic work with infants, young children, and families. Examples of events and dilemmas dealt with every day by families and clinicians are interwoven throughout the presentation of theory and practice in a creative and interesting way. This book will be important to help professionals gaining knowledge in the field of infant and early childhood mental health understand major historical developments and different perspectives that are needed to gain clinical understanding and implement effective practice addressing issues of prevention, intervention and treatment.—Joy D. Osofsky, Ph.D., Barbara Lemann Professor, Departments of Pediatrics and Psychiatry, LSU Health Sciences Center

There has been an urgent need for a practically oriented book that integrates the modern understanding of mind with a hands-on guide to early childhood interventions. This is the book to bring about this integration. It is simply the best book that provides a pragmatic approach to support frontline clinicians at the same time as conveying the complexity of ideas that must guide such interventions. It is a beautifully written, comprehensive, user-friendly guide that will run into many reprints and editions.—Peter Fonagy, Ph.D., FBA, Freud Memorial Professor of Psychoanalysis and Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology, University College London; Chief Executive, The Anna Freud Centre

This remarkable book should be mandatory reading for professionals working with young children and their families everywhere. Combining as it does material from a wide range of professional disciplines, this book by Kristie Brandt and her colleagues breaks new ground by seamlessly integrating clinical and theoretical perspectives in a way that is theoretically rich and at the same time rooted in everyday clinical experiences. While this book is both provocative and original it is also eminently accessible and thus succeeds in offering an indispensable roadmap to all who seek to understand the narrative of early relationships. A major accomplishment!—J. Kevin Nugent, Ph.D., Director of the Brazelton Institute, Department of Developmental Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School

Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health: Core Concepts in Clinical Practice represents a unique opportunity for the practicing clinician in the field of infant mental health. Rarely does the work of so many leading researchers and clinicians come together in the one comprehensive volume. The contents of this book are both profoundly deep, and broad: deep in that each chapter represents the culmination of years of clinical work and research from pioneering clinicians in the field of infant mental health, and broad in that the expansive scope of the book covers most of the critical clinical and social phenomena facing infants and parents which we as professionals within society are trying to grapple. Each of the authors shares their comprehensive understanding of the developmental, social, relationship and emotional needs of infants and their families, and gives us real advice on how to creatively intervene in our day-to-day work.

The book is supremely practical in that it provides support to develop hands-on skills desperately needed by clinicians who are directly engaged with families. The book is superbly well written, clear and is a joy to read. The quality and comprehensiveness of the writing invites us to return time and again to glean more of the clinical wisdom of the authors.—Assoc Prof Campbell Paul, Consultant Infant Psychiatrist, Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne and the Royal Women's Hospital; Honorary Principal Fellow, Department of Psychiatry, Univ of Melbourne

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