Administrative Supervision:
The oversight of Commonwealth, State or Territory, and agency regulations, program policies, rules, and procedures. Supervision that is primarily administrative will be driven to achieve the following objectives: hire, train/educate, oversee paperwork, write reports, explain rules and policies, coordinate, monitor productivity, and evaluate.

Alliance for the Advancement of Infant Mental Health: An organisation that includes infant and early childhood mental health associations who have licenced the use of the Competency Guidelines® and Endorsement for Culturally Sensitive, Relationship-Focused Practice Promoting Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health®.

Antenatal Care: The care that a woman receives during pregnancy that is a key entry point for a pregnant woman and her partner to receive a broad range of health promotion and preventative health services which can include a focus on each parent’s relationship/attachment with the unborn child, the developing infant’s mental health, and the parental relationship.

 Applicant: A professional/service provider who has applied for AAIMH WA Endorsement® as

  • Infant Family Worker
  • Infant Family Practitioner
  • Infant Mental Health Practitioner, or 
  • Infant Mental Health Mentor

 Applicant’s Waiver: An agreement signed by an Endorsement® applicant waiving the right to review professional reference forms. The waiver is included when the applicant identifies each person who will provide a reference.

 Attachment: An emotional bond between a parent/primary caregiver and infant/young child that develops over time and as a result of positive care-seeking behaviours (e.g., crying, smiling, vocalising, grasping, reaching, calling, following) and responsive caregiving (e.g., smiling, talking, holding, comforting, caressing).

 Australian Association for Infant Mental Health West Australian Branch (AAIMH WA) Competency Guidelines and Endorsement Working Group (CGEWG): Formed by AAIMH WA in 2014 to adapt and adopt the MI-AIMH Competency Guidelines® for the Western Australian context.  Subsequently from 2016 AAIMH WA CGEWG works to support the implementation of IMH Endorsement® into the Western Australian IMH related workforce across promotion, prevention, intervention and treatment areas of service.

 Clinical Supervision/Consultation: Supervision or consultation that is case-focused but does not necessarily consider what the practitioner brings to the intervention nor does it necessarily encourage the exploration of emotion as it relates to work with an infant/very young child and family. Supervision or consultation that is primarily clinical will most likely include many or all of the administrative objectives as well as reviewing casework, discussing the diagnostic impressions and diagnosis, discussing intervention strategies related to the intervention, reviewing the intervention or treatment plan, review and evaluate clinical progress, giving guidance/advice, and teaching.

 Collaborate: To work willingly with other direct-service providers, parents, community agencies, academics, and other professionals to obtain, coordinate, and research services that effectively nurture infants, very young children, and families.

 Competency Guidelines®: A description of specific areas of expertise, responsibilities and behaviours that are required to earn the AAIMH WA Endorsement® as an Infant Family Worker, Infant Family Practitioner, Infant Mental Health Practitioner, and Infant Mental Health Mentor. Specifics of expertise are delineated under eight broad areas: 1. Theoretical Foundations; 2. Law, Regulation, and Policy; 3. Systems Expertise; 4. Direct-Service Skills; 5. Working with Others; 6. Communicating; 7. Reflection; and 8. Thinking.

 Consultant: In most instances, this term refers to a provider of reflective supervision/consultation (RSC). The RSC may be provided to groups of practitioners or individuals. Consultant often refers to a provider of RSC who is hired contractually from outside an agency or organisation; i.e., separate from a program supervisor.

 Cultural Competence: The ability to observe, understand, and respond, appreciating individual capacities and needs of infants, young children, and families, with respect for their culture, including religion, ethnicity, values, behaviours, and traditions.

 Cultural Sensitivity: The ability to respect and acknowledge differences in beliefs, attitudes, and traditions related to the care and raising of young children, remaining open to different points of view and approaching families with respect for their cultural values.

 Early Intervention: Early intervention typically refers to a system of coordinated services that promotes an infant’s/very young child's growth and development and supports families during the critical early years. Early intervention services delivered within the context of the family are intended to:

  • Improve both developmental, social, and educational gains
  • Reduce the future costs of special education, rehabilitation, and health care needs
  • Reduce feelings of isolation, stress, and frustration that families may experience
  • Help alleviate and reduce behaviours by using positive behaviour strategies and interventions
  • Help children with disabilities grow up to become productive, independent individuals

 EASy (Endorsement® Application System): A secure, web-based application designed to compile Endorsement® applications; facilitate communication between and among the applicant, Endorsement® Coordinator, Endorsement® Advisor, and application reviewers; coordinate application reviews; and archive Endorsement® database.

Endorsement® Advisor: A trained volunteer who has earned Endorsement® and who agrees to guide an  endorsement applicant through the endorsement process.

Endorsement®: The AAIMH WA Endorsement for Culturally Sensitive, Relationship-focused Practice Promoting Infant Mental Health® (IMH-E®) is intended to recognise experiences that lead to competency in the infant-family field. It does not replace licensing, certification, or credentialing, but instead is meant as an “overlay” to these. The AAIMH WA Endorsement® is multidisciplinary including professionals from psychology, education, social work, psychiatry, child and/or human development, nursing, social science, and others. Endorsement® indicates an individual’s efforts to specialise in the promotion/practice of infant mental health within his/her own chosen discipline.

 Those who have earned Endorsement® have demonstrated that the individual has received a minimum of specialised education, work, in-service training, and reflective supervision/consultation experiences that have led to competency in the promotion and/or practise of infant mental health. Endorsement® does not guarantee the ability to practise as a mental health professional, although many have earned Endorsement® as licensed mental health professionals.

There are multiple paths to Endorsement®. Individuals demonstrate competency by completing a wide range of coursework and specialised in-service training while performing a wide range of paid roles with or on behalf of infants, very young children, and families. There is no one defined way, course, or set of training sessions that exclusively lead to Endorsement®.

 Endorsement® application: The application submitted by Endorsement® applicant via EASy contains the following:

  • EASy Registration fee
  • Official transcripts from all colleges/universities attended
  • Lists of specialised education, work, in-service training, and (for IFP, IMHP, and IMHM-C) reflective supervision/consultation experiences while working with infants, very young children, and their families
  • Three references
  • Signed Code of Ethics
  • Signed Endorsement® Agreement
  • Proof of membership in AAIMH or other infant mental health association
  • Endorsement® Processing Fee

Family-centred Practice: An emphasis on the infant/very young child (conception to 36 months) within the context of the family with respect for the family’s strengths and needs as primary when conducting assessments and/or interventions.

Graduate or Post Graduate Certificate Program in Infant Mental Health: A university-based program of course work related to infant development, attachment theory, family studies, and relationship-based practice with infants, very young children, and their families.

Infant Mental Health: An interdisciplinary field dedicated to understanding and promoting the social and emotional wellbeing of all infants, very young children, and families within the context of secure and nurturing relationships. Infant mental health also refers to the social and emotional wellbeing of an infant or toddler within the context of a relationship, culture, and community.

Infant Mental Health Practices:  Relationship-focused interventions with both the infant/very young child and his/her biological, foster, or adoptive parent on behalf of the parent-infant relationship. Infant mental health practice will include case management, advocacy, emotional support, developmental guidance, early relationship assessment,
social support and parent-infant/very young child relationship-based therapies and practices.

These therapies and practices may include but are not limited to parent-infant psychotherapy, interaction guidance, and child-parent psychotherapy and are intended to explore issues related to attachment, separation, trauma, grief and unresolved losses as they affect the development, behaviour, and care of the infant/very young child. Work is aimed at the relationship between the infant/very young child and his/her primary caregiver to explicitly address any unresolved separations, traumas, grief, and/or losses that may be affecting the emerging attachment relationship between a caregiver(s) and the infant/very young child.  The unresolved losses or “ghosts in the nursery” might be from the caregiver’s own early childhood or may be more recent as in a difficult labour and delivery or a diagnosis of a chronic illness, delay, or disability for this infant/very young child.

Professionals from a variety of disciplines, not only licensed mental health professionals, may practise infant mental health.  However, the practitioner will have received the specialised IMH training necessary to provide this level of intervention AND receive reflective supervision/consultation (RSC) from a qualified professional about the intervention.

Work on unresolved losses does not have to be explicit with every family with whom the applicant works. However, the applicant must have had the specialised IMH training and RSC that prepares them to provide that level of intervention when it is appropriate for a referred family.

Infant mental health practice can be conducted in the home, in a clinic, or in other settings.

Infant Mental Health Principles: The theoretical foundations and values that guide work with or on behalf of infants, very young children, and families.  Theoretical foundations include knowledge of pregnancy and early parenthood; infant/very young child development and behaviour; infant/very young child and family-centred practice; relationship-focused therapeutic practice; family relationships and dynamics; attachment, separation, trauma, grief, and loss; disorders of infancy and early childhood; and cultural competence.  Values include importance of relationships; respect for ethnicity, culture, individuality, and diversity; integrity; confidentiality; knowledge and skill building; and reflective practice.

Parallel Process: Focussed attention on all the relationships in a given context, including the ones between practitioner and supervisor, practitioner and parent(s), and parent(s) and infant/very young child. It is critical to understand how each of these relationships affects the others.

Parent or caregiver: Those performing the parental function including the biological parent, adoptive and foster parents, grandparents, same sex parents and kinship carers.

References: Three references (sometimes also called 'reference ratings') are required as part of the application submitted by each Endorsement® applicant. Requirements for who shall provide ratings are specific to the category at which the applicant is applying. Details can be found in the Endorsement categories section. 

Referees will answer questions about the applicant’s level of knowledge and skill in the competency areas defined at the level at which the applicant has applied.

Reflective: Self-aware, able to examine one’s professional and personal thoughts and feelings in response to work within the infant and family field.

Reflective Consultation: An opportunity for professionals/service providers to meet regularly with an experienced infant mental health professional to examine thoughts and feelings in relationship to work with infants, very young children, and families.

Reflective Practice: Practice of examining one’s thoughts and feelings related to professional and personal responses within the infant and family field.

Reflective Supervision/Consultation (RS/C): Supervision or consultation that distinctly utilises the shared exploration of the parallel process. In addition, reflective supervision/consultation relates to professional and personal development by attending to the emotional content of the work and how reactions to the content affect the work. Finally, there is often greater emphasis on the supervisor/consultant's ability to listen and wait, allowing the supervisee to discover solutions, concepts, and perceptions on his/her own without interruption from the supervisor/consultant.

Relationship-Focused Practice: Practice that supports early developing relationships between parents and young children as the foundation for optimal growth and change; directs all services to nurture early developing relationships within families; values the working relationship between parents and professionals as the instrument for therapeutic change; values all relationship experiences, past and present, as significant to one’s capacity to nurture and support others.

Specialised In-Service Training: A training experience that offers opportunities for discussion and reflection about the development, behaviour, or treatment of infants and very young children within the context of the family. Examples include half-day or full-day training experiences or training overtime, i.e. 6 hours monthly for 6 months or 3 hours monthly for 12 months.

 A specialised training that is eligible for Endorsement® should meet the following criteria:

1.  Is culturally sensitive, relationship-focused, and promotes infant mental health

2.  Relates to one or more of the competencies in the AAIMH WA Competency Guidelines®

3.  Is specific to the category of Endorsement® for which applicant is applying.

Specialised Practicum/Field Placement: One year of a supervised graduate practicum with direct IMH practice experience or equivalent postgraduate course requirement (as described for Infant Mental Health Practitioner) may be counted toward the 2 years paid work experience requirement if the supervisor of the field placement is an Endorsed® professional (Infant Mental Health Mentor-Clinical or Infant Mental Health Practitioner).  Applicant will submit description of practicum for application reviewers’ consideration.