Events | Trainings

2021 Infant and Early Childhood
Mental Health Conference

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Monday Keynote Presentation

The Legacy of Early Relationship Experience

Monday, November 8 | 9 – 10:30 a.m. CST | Online

This presentation will be focused on the basic nature of development—how development works. Using findings from the Minnesota Longitudinal Study of Risk and Adaptation, Dr. Sroufe will show not only that early experience has a formative influence but why and how it does. He will also explain how developmental change can occur despite the strength of early experience. A key role for caring relationships will be seen. All of this will be illustrated with case examples of diverse children followed through life in great detail.

Major longitudinal studies prior to the Minnesota study used middle class children. Minnesota’s study began with children born into poverty as it existed in Minneapolis in the mid-1970s. At that time, many of them were first-generation poor and 20% were children of color. They were at “moderate risk” for developmental challenges. Some would likely do well, while some would likely struggle. This made this group ideal for exploring the nature of development and for understanding what leads to relatively good outcome and what leads to difficulties. 

Presented by L. Alan Sroufe, Professor Emeritus – Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota

 L. Alan Sroufe, Professor Emeritus in the Institute of Child Development at the University of Minnesota, received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Wisconsin. Dr. Sroufe has been Associate Editor of Developmental Psychology and Development and Psychopathology. An internationally recognized expert on early attachment relationships, emotional development, and developmental psychopathology, he has published numerous articles and books on these topics, including “The Development of the Person”, a two-time award winner, and the recently released, “A Compelling Idea.” His other awards include the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award from the Society for Research in Child Development, the Bowlby-Ainsworth Award for Contributions to Attachment Research, the Mentor Award and the G. Stanley Hall Award for Distinguished Scientific Contribution to Developmental Psychology from Division 7 of the American Psychology Association, an Honorary Doctorate Degree from the University of Leiden, and the Distinguished Teaching Award from the College of Education, University of Minnesota.


Tuesday Keynote Presentation

Support through Separation: Helping Parents and their Young Children Through Separation, Loss, and Reunification

Tuesday, November 9 | 9 – 10:30 a.m. CST | Online

This session will explore various circumstances when children are separated from their parents (e.g., incarceration, child welfare involvement) and how parents and professionals can support families before, during and after these separations. Dr. Shlafer will explore how to support children’s behaviors and emotions when separations are short-term (e.g., court-ordered visits), as well as when they are more permanent (e.g., termination of parental rights).  Participants will consider these experiences through an attachment and development lens.

Presented by Rebecca Shlafer, PhD, MPHAssistant Professor – Department of Pediatrics, University of Minnesota

Rebecca Shlafer is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Shlafer is a developmental child psychologist with additional training in maternal and child public health. Dr. Shlafer’s research focuses on the health and development of children and families affected by incarceration.


1. Making Sense of Separation

Monday, November 8 | 11 to 2:45 p.m. (with a 1-hour break at 12:30)

Separation is one of the most difficult things for young children to understand. Even the most benign experiences (from the adult point of view) can be confusing, because young children create meaning from their limited, self-focused experience.  For adults, explaining separation to young children can be very tough as the reasons can be extremely painful. This workshop will give us an opportunity to think about the meaning of separation from the young child’s point of view. We will create scenarios, practice language and construct narratives that help us put complicated concepts into simple language.

Presented by Carol Siegel, PhD, LP, IMH-E®(IV), Private Practice & Instructor in Infant and Early Childhood Certificate Program – University of MN

Level: Intermediate | Includes Clinical Content


2. Living In The Middle: Supporting Young Children of Separated Families

Monday, November 8 | 11 to 2:45 p.m. (with a 1-hour break at 12:30)

Divorce or separation is difficult for everyone in a family and can mean families have to navigate separation, grief, complex emotions and often legal systems. Unfortunately, this can take a toll on a family system and can negatively impact children. This workshop will cover some of what families must navigate when a divorce or separation happens as well as the impact on the parent-child relationship and how negative patterns may arise. Attendees will learn how to stay grounded and support families who have been impacted by divorce or separation and how to reduce the negative impact on children

Presented by Christina Corwin, MA, LMFT

Level: Intermediate


3. From Separation to Connection: Maternal Mental Health and Two-Generation Trauma Healing

Monday, November 8 | 11 to 2:45 p.m. (with a 1-hour break at 12:30)

This workshop will explore maternal mental health during pregnancy and the postpartum period, providing a rationale for a trauma-informed two-generation approach to intervention and healing. Participants will be invited to consider the ways in which our racial experiences and siloed approaches to care exacerbate mothers’ experiences of separation from self, baby and others. Opportunities to deepen connections, including a model for moderate to severe maternal symptomatology, will be explored and case examples provided for discussion.  

Presented by Jesse Flynn, LICSW, IMH-E®

Level: Intermediate | Includes Clinical Content


4. Paternal Bonding and the Power of Presence

TMonday, November 8 | 11 to 2:45 p.m. (with a 1-hour break at 12:30)

Often a crucial relationship in a child’s life, particularly in the earliest years of life, is their father or father figure. Fathers hold a dual primary role in shaping a child’s experiences and can provide continuity in the security and development of the attachment relationship. When the father’s presence is interrupted, there are considerations for children that must be  acknowledged and addressed. This workshop will review emerging research on father involvement and explore the ways multiple aspects of separation can influence attachment disorders.

Presented by Andre Dukes, MA

Level: Basic


5. Beyond Burnout: Preventing Secondary Trauma, Healing from Depletion, and Thriving In Our Work With Families in Transition

Tuesday, November 9 | 11:00 – 12:30 CST

The world can be a highly stressful place, especially during these past 18 months of pandemic and upheaval. That has impacted the families we serve, who are already coping with the stress of their own individual struggles and stories. As providers supporting them, we can’t help but also be impacted by the trauma, conflict, and pain we see.

In this session, we will define “burnout” as a continuum of exhaustion, depletion, and activation helpers experience. We will take a “360 degree” exploration of secondary stress and burnout, which includes: 

+ Identifying common ways in which our work might impact us emotionally and physically
+ Using that information to build a toolbox of clear, specific, hands-on strategies to address feelings of overwhelm, depletion, and powerlessness and increase resilience.

Presented by Marit Appeldoorn, MSW, LICSW, RPT-S

Level: Intermediate | Includes Clinical Content


6. Parenting Under the Influence

Tuesday, November 9 | 11:00 – 12:30 CST

Parenting is hard. It can be even harder when your life is influenced by a substance use disorder. 8.3 million minor children live with at least one parent who has a substance use disorder. A 2014 study published in Pediatrics concluded that children whose parents misuse alcohol or drugs are three times more likely to suffer from emotional, physical and sexual abuse than their peers. The study also points out that these children are more likely to experience educational and developmental delays as well as behavioral and mental health problems later in life. This workshop will explore the impact of parental substance use on the development of young children. Without support and intervention, the impact can be long lasting.

Presented by Ann Becher-Ingwalson PsyD, LPCC, LADC & Ian Mcloone, MPS, LPCC, LADC

Level: Basic | Includes Clinical Content


7. Big Dreams and Painful Realities: How Immigration Challenges Faced by the Latinx Community Impact Families and the Provision of Services

Tuesday, November 9 | 11 – 12:30 CST

This workshop will look at some of the struggles that are present challenges for the Latinx community involving immigration/migration, including belonging and community (or lack thereof), language barriers, assimilation/loss of identity and the impact it has on the children that we work with in the community.

Presented by Adalinda Sanchez (Estrada), MA LMFT

Level: Basic | Includes Clinical Content


8. Supporting Parent/Caregiver-Child Relationships Through Separation and Reunion in Early Education Environments

Tuesday, November 9 | 11 – 12:30 CST

Within early childhood settings, frequent separations and reunions are experienced for infants, young children, educators, parents and caregivers. This workshop will discuss the unique developmental needs of infants, toddlers and preschoolers around everyday and extended separations and reunions. Strategies and ideas will be shared with participants to support the attachment needs of infants, young children and their parents/caregivers in the context of early care and education settings.

Presented by Arielle Handevidt, MA, IMH-E® & Pam Walz, MS LMFT, RPT, IMH-E®

Level: Basic


9. Integrating Reflective Consultation and Infant Mental Health Principles into Early Intervention, ECSE and ECFE Programs: Why, How & Outcomes

Tuesday, November 9 | 1:15 – 2:45 CST

Reflective consultation (RC) is considered best practice for multidisciplinary infant and early childhood professionals because of the need for self-awareness in our relationship-based work.  Several school districts across the state have integrated RC into their programs serving very young children and their families.  This panel will share the impact of RC in their programs, how it was implemented across their systems and some of the resulting outcomes.

Presented by Susan Williams, LICSW, IMH-E®; Barbara Eckberg, IMH-E®;  Londa Wagner, LMFT, IMH-E®; Angie Klinefelter, LMFT, IMH-E®; Donna Johnson, LICSW, IMH-E®

Level: Intermediate


10. Support and Healing During & After Separation: One Family’s Journey

Tuesday, November 9 | 1:15 – 2:45 CST

This workshop will build on Tuesday’s keynote address about separation, loss and reunification and will include a facilitated discussion with a mother and grandmother directly impacted by incarceration. Ms. Autumn Mason will share her personal experience being pregnant in prison. She will share her experiences being separated from her baby and older children, and what it was like when she came home. Ms. Jolene Mason, Autumn’s mother, will share her experiences as a grandparent raising her grandchildren during and after Autumn’s incarceration. Together, we’ll explore how incarceration disrupts family systems and some ways to support children and families impacted by incarceration.

Presented by Jolene Mason, Autumn Mason & Rebecca Shlafer

Level: Intermediate


11. Building Capacity to Facilitate Reflective Spaces: Use of Self, Regulation, and Parallel Process

Tuesday, November 9 | 1:15 – 2:45 CST

This workshop is intended for providers of reflective consultation and/or supervision and will offer an exploration of advanced concepts and skills related to the professional use of self and parallel process in reflective spaces. The focus will be on the ways a reflective consultant/supervisor can carefully create spaces that allow for growth of the recipients’ own self-knowledge and supporting respect for non-dominant bodies of knowledge.

Facilitating reflection of an individual practitioner or of a group of practitioners requires careful attention to the emotional responses that arise in the reflective space. Using one’s own internal response to the content while attending to self-regulation allows the consultant/supervisor to observe and explore with compassionate interest and curiosity. Self-regulation allows for a deepening of self-knowledge by allowing awareness of one’s own assumptions, biases, and emotional hooks; it is essential to reducing judgment and to maintaining a reflective stance. We will explore various means to advance skills in professional use of self, aiming to enhance self-regulation and to more effectively engage others in relationships of conscious co-regulation. This shared regulation then opens the way to think together about parallel process; a kind of reflection that involves deeper consideration of the variety of meanings, recognition of multiple ways of “knowing”, and identification of various possible paths forward.

Presented by Jill Hennes, LICSW, MSW, LICSW, IMH-E® Infant Mental Health Mentor Clinical

Level: Advanced | Includes Clinical Content


12. Better Together: Using Child Parent Psychotherapy to Support Reunification for Children in Foster Care

Tuesday, November 9 | 1:15 – 2:45 CST

This workshop will explore the collaborative partnership between mental health professionals and child protection social workers in the reunification process following foster care placement. A multi-disciplinary team approach can bring strengths from multiple systems to support the safety, mental health, attachment, healing and well-being of children, biological parents and foster parents during the initial foster placement, assessment, visitation and reunification. The workshop will incorporate current research and case examples that consider attachment, trauma, safety, parental mental health, child mental health, sibling issues, substance use, legal issues, cultural context and reflective practice.

Presented by Judy Woods, PhD, LP, LPCC and Carrie Meiners, MS

Level: Intermediate | Includes Clinical Content