Infant mental health
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Infant mental health is the study of mental health as it applies to infants and their families. The field investigates optimal social and emotional development of infants and their families in the first three years of life. Cognitive development, and the development of motor skills may also be considered part of the infant mental health picture.
Worldwide, the World Association for Infant Mental Health (WAIMH) and its affiliates are active in addressing infant mental health concerns, and work toward ongoing scientific and clinical study of the infant’s development and its impact on later development. The WAIMH organizes a world congress in even years.
In the United States, the organization Zero to Three Foundation also plays an important role in research and advocacy for infants and toddlers. A number of states have infant mental health organizations affiliated with WAIMH.
These organizations publish newsletters and journals such as "Zero to Three" and organize conferences and training events for individuals working with young children and their families.
The "Infant Mental Health Journal" is published by Wiley and owned by the Michigan Association for Infant Mental Health.
Infant mental health also refers to an interdisciplinary practice that began with Selma Fraiberg. Infant mental health practitioners provide relationship-focused interventions to the parents, foster parents, or other primary caregivers with infants and toddlers. Support is offered to help the parents better understand the unresolved losses from their past in order to be more emotionally available to their infant or toddler. The goal is often more satisfying relationships between the parent(s) and infant/toddler and a more secure attachment.
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