The First Three Months . . .

LaurieSLaurie Schoenberg, MFT, is the first Riverside County participant in the 2016-2017 UC Davis Extension Napa Infant-Parent Mental Health Fellowship Program (IPMHFP), a highly regarded 15-month intensive, interdisciplinary training and mentoring program for professionals working with children ages 0 to 5. Learn more about her First 5 Riverside-sponsorship HERE.

Learn more about her experience in her own words below.

It is my pleasure to share my fabulous journey during the first three months of the University of California Davis Extension 2016-2017 Infant-Parent Mental Health Fellowship Program (IPMHF) in Napa, CA!

IPMHF engages some of the most recognized luminaries in the field assisting the enrolled Fellows in understanding birth through five relationships with their families or other caregivers. The faculty for 2016-2017 represent the disciplines of medicine (pediatrics and psychiatry), psychology, nursing, neuroscience, education, special education, MFT, social work, PT, SLP, human development and psychoanalysis. The first trainings included esteemed experts I previously only read about in journal articles and text books and now have the pleasure of experiencing interactive, dynamic didactic and reflective sessions with!

Words cannot begin to describe how grateful I am to the First 5 Riverside Commissioners for this cherished opportunity in my lifetime in understanding the enormously complex process between young children and their caregivers!   My clinical work has already begun to change in discovering meanings alongside the baby/child and their parent/caregiver.

My biggest take-away over the last three months…There is no need to provide an immediate answer to a parent/caregiver,  but to learn the tremendous value in wondering and being curious together.  Dr. Brazelton’s most powerful words: “trust the baby’s language”.

So much to learn through readings, research, assignments and monthly trainings….I am embracing this journey ….difficult at moments but knowing the opportunity is far greater than feeling tired!

Looking forward to my next blog hopefully around the end of June!

My Best!

Fellow Laurie Schoenberg

The following is a sampling of topics, highlighted information and the associated faculty during the first three months of my Fellowship:

Core Concepts and Theoretical Frameworks for Infant-Parent and Early Childhood Mental Health Field (Faculty included Dr. Kristie Brandt CNM, DNP, and Dr. Pat Levitt Ph.D.)

  • The prestigious Dr. Bruce Perry MD, Ph.D (Senior Fellow of the Child Trauma Academy in Houston Texas) trains Napa fellows. “Relationships are the agents of change and the most powerful therapy is human love.” Bruce D. Perry

    Understanding of the concept of “infant/early childhood mental health”; including attachment, parenting style, trauma, maltreatment, culture, etc. and the long term impact throughout a life span.

  • Exploring brain architecture and implications for infant & early childhood mental health
  • Resiliency concepts and how it is developed /the biology to resilience
  • A new vocabulary word for me…”epigenetics”.   Problems which can occur in the intrauterine environment and/or prenatal stress alter genes and can create a genetic predisposition for possible mental health concerns. However, through the utilization of therapeutic interventions, concerns/problems can be reversed
  • Introduction and overview to Dr. Brazelton’s Touch Points approach (I was so amazed to hear from his colleagues that he is 97 years young and consistently works two days each week!)
  • Introduction and overview to Dr. Bruce Perry’s Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics (NMT) –“neurosequential”…another new vocabulary word for me (meaning a developmental-biological approach towards working with young children). Dr. Perry will be attending two days of our May training for his NMT model….I am very excited for this training and look forward to sharing more next blog!

NCAST Parent & Child Interaction Feeding Scale -0-12 months  (Faculty Dr. Kristie Brandt)

  • Developed by Dr. Kathryn Barnard and a research team at the University of Washington’s School of Nursing
  • The most important goal of this tool is ability to analyze the dyad… the very heart of infant-parent mental health
  • Key components of the observations include: engagement cues, disengagement cues, and signs of distress
  • We experienced hours of watching video feeding sessions in learning how to score all 76 items on the feeding scale and how to calculate the score
  • By the end of the training the fellows were tested on 5 separate feedings in order to meet successful reliability. I was notified by the NCAST Office at the University of Washington that I passed NCAST Feeding Scale Reliability.   February was a very difficult training; but ended with a great outcome! As a side note… the cues associated with this tool can be translated to humans of all ages. I now look at all people very differently….but please don’t let this be uncomfortable the next time you are around me!

 Assessing & Intervening at Key Moments in the Family Life Newborn through Age 5 (Faculty Dr. Kristie Brandt, Dr. Kevin Nugent Ph.D., Dr. Connie Keefer, M,D., Dr. Linda Gikerson Ph.D., Dr. Larry Gray M.D. and Anne Stadtler DNP., RN, CPN)

  • Understanding newborn behavior and early relationships through a tool called the Newborn Behavioral Observations (NBO). This lovely tool is an individualized, infant-focused, family centered observation designed to foster positive relationship between baby and his family (birth to three months). Fellows are required to complete 5 outside observations with further telephone discussion with both Dr. Nugent and Dr. Keefer of the 5 observations leading to NBO certification.
  • Introduction to clinical concepts of Fussy Baby Clinics and risks associated with problematic crying and key elements of assessment, education, treatment and follow up. Usually the resolution of colic ends by 4 months and as of this date there is not an absolute to a cure. However, because crying is so devastating to parents; it usually brings up questions such as: “Is my baby ok?   Am I a good enough fit?   Have I done a good enough job as a parent?”   Clinicians are counted on during this time as being a calm center for change.   Supporting parents around attunement and having faith they can continue! When we do something that doesn’t work; Dr. Brazelton believes “we now have an opportunity to learn something and grow closer.”
  • Touch Points key elements in toilet readiness and training in reducing the stress for both families and children. Anticipatory guidance as a tool in facilitating the parent-provider relationship. “Angel moments”….this is when love is obvious between baby/child and parent/caregiver.

First 5 Riverside looks forward to the information and development Laurie will bring back to Riverside County. Check back soon as she chronicles her journey on the First 5 years blog with keywords “Napa Fellow”

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