TTAC Webinar Series: An Introduction to Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health Concepts and Practices Module 1

TTAC was pleased to host the first module of the webinar series titled An Introduction to Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health Concepts and Practices presented by Susan Chinitz, Psy.D. & Gilbert Foley, Ed.D., IMH-E.

Module 1 focused on:

-Principles of development and how they shape practice
-Infant/early childhood mental health concepts and practice

This series of three webinars reviews the fundamental principles of development which inform clinical reasoning and developmental thinking. An overview of Infant/Early Childhood Mental health as concept and practice is an overarching theme. Infant/early childhood mental health is characterized by the World Association of Infant Mental Health as being synonymous with healthy social-emotional development. Consequently, this presentation is solidly set in typical climbing the developmental ladder and atypical social-emotional development and has footing in relational theory, attachment research and early brain development.

Concepts such as: the centrality of relationships, supporting and promoting parents, emotion regulation, toxic stress and trauma, “Ghosts in the Nursery,” working dyadically, treating-to-the-relationship, parallel process, culturally informed and reflective supervision was presented in terms of practice strategies-“what it means you do” and how these practices are unique to infant and early childhood mental health.  

The workshop addressed what sometimes goes awry in children’s primary relationships, including the contribution of children’s developmental delays and disorders, the issues that parents can bring to the relationship, as well as the risks that are sometimes imposed by children’s social context.


Webinar Resources: 

Webinar Recording

Presentation Slides

Participant Questions Answered Resource Document


About the Presenters:

Susan Chinitz, Psy.D., is a psychologist with specialties in the areas of infant mental health and developmental disabilities in early childhood. She is the Clinical Co-Director of the Training and Technical Assistance Center (TTAC) at the New York Center for Child Development, and is also spearheading the Strong Starts Court Initiative, a project of the Center for Court Innovation that integrates developmental science into Family Court practice for infants and toddlers with child protection cases. She is the former Director of the Early Childhood Center, the Center for Babies, Toddlers and Families, and the Parent Infant Family Court project, all therapeutic programs for children birth to five years of age at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where she was a Professor of Clinical Pediatrics and the Patricia T. and Charles S. Raizen Distinguished Scholar in Pediatrics.  

Dr. Chinitz is on the Board of the New York Zero to Three Network, the Community Advisory Board of the NYC Nurse Family Partnership, the faculty of the Parent Infant Psychotherapy Program at the Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research, and was previously on the Local Coordinating Council for the NYC Early Intervention Program. She has developed models of infant mental health service provision and developmental support for children in primary pediatrics, preschool and childcare programs, and within the child welfare system, and has provided consultation and technical assistance to practitioners from other disciplines and to other child serving organizations and government agencies. She has received the ACS Commissioner’s Child Advocacy Award, Women of Achievement Award from the Bronx Women’s Bar Association, and the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, Yeshiva University.

Gil Foley, Ed.D., IMH-E (IV-C) serves as Acting Clinical Director and Clinical Co-Director of the Training and Technical Assistance Center (TTAC)  at the New York Center for Child Development in New York City. He is also serves as Director of the graduate program in Infant Mental Health and Developmental Practice at the Adelphi University Institute for Parenting in garden City, NY. He is a retired tenured faculty member of Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology where he taught for 20 years in the Department of School-Clinical Child Psychology and coordinated the infancy-early childhood track.

While serving as the Chief Psychologist in the Pediatric Department of the Medical College of Pennsylvania, he trained in psychodynamic psychotherapy and also completed a fellowship at the Yale Child Study Center with the late, Sally Provence. Dr. Foley‘s clinical and teaching career has been devoted in large part to working with infants and young children with special needs and their families.

He is the author of several books and numerous articles. His most current book with Dr. Jane Hochman, “Mental Health in Early Intervention” is published by Brookes. He lectures and consults widely nationally and internationally.