Tia Long, Clinical Supervisor in Orion’s Mental Health program, was accepted into and recently started the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Infant, Early Childhood and Family Mental Health Capstone Certificate Program. Her enrollment in this program was made possible by a generous grant from the Attic Angel Association.
The Infant, Early Childhood and Family Mental Health Capstone Certificate Program includes nine months of Infant Mental Health Training beginning September 2020. This is followed by 18 months of Child Parent Psychotherapy Training. Both include monthly training days; the Child Parent Psychotherapy Training also includes intensive individual clinical supervision and consultation. According to the University of Wisconsin Infant Mental Health website, “In recent years there has been an increased recognition of significant mental health disturbances in infants and young children. These include mood and anxiety disorders and disorders of feeding, sleep, sensory, attention and behavior regulation… Of equal concern are the prevalence rates of depression in women during pregnancy and the postpartum period.”
The program focuses on several different areas. Participants learn about the latest developmental, neuroscience and attachment research, which is then applied to infant and child mental health and the relationships between the young child and their caregiver. The program provides tools for appropriate screening, assessment, diagnostic and referral services for infants, children, and families within the context of supporting the parent-child relationship. Additionally, participants learn therapeutic interventions and mental health consultation skills to help reduce the impact of early loss and trauma, with the goal of preventing more serious disorders. Reflective practice and mindfulness strategies are taught and used throughout the program.
After the first month of the program, Tia explained “Reflective supervision and mindfulness are woven into the program. Learning how to incorporate this into your work and personal life is an interesting blend, including ways to support healthy professionals and healthy work. I hope coming out of this program to bring intentional practices to the work I do, with clients and personally.” The program started with the study of the prenatal period of child development and will extend to age five. Tia stated, “I am excited about preventative work, not just crisis-based work. The younger kids in our families are often not focused on in treatment, yet even babies and toddlers have mental health. Having empirically supported ways to provide services and treatment to preverbal kids – the impact will be significant. We often don’t have the expertise to engage kids until they are school-age and can participate in therapy. This is a shift in thinking of how we can serve and who we can serve.”
The knowledge and skills Tia learns over the next two years will be incredibly important to the children and families served by Orion. Not only will she have gained important clinical knowledge for her own practice, she will be a valuable resource for other Orion staff through her consultation and support. More information about this program can be found on the UW-Madison website: https://ifmh.psychiatry.wisc.edu