Founded in 1986 by Michael Trout, The Infant-Parent Institute has been a private clinical practice, consultation and training facility dedicated to understanding the relationship between early social experiences and how our lives form.

The Institute believes that early social experience -- and the working models that arise out of babies' interpretations of that experience -- is at the heart of many developmental and clinical disorders in babies, young children and adults.


The Institute believes that prevention makes more sense than remediation. However, when remediation is necessary, it makes no sense to ignore the past.

We believe in:

  • the importance of family
  • the capacity of every human being to adapt to the world as he or she sees it
  • the ability we each have to store information about our own early experience
  • the tendency we seem to have to keep repeating patterns of behavior until we uncover the origins of the behavior.

Our commitment to these principles leads us to push for societal change. We are driven by a belief that the nuances of who we become, as adults, are rooted in the attachments made in the first three years of life. Our goal is to make a contribution to understanding how families make those relationships and what they need to sustain and support them along the way.


The Institute became nationally recognized for its training programs in clinical infant mental health. Over the past three decades, we have trained hundreds of clinicians in a specific method of assessment and intervention with troubled families and their babies. Mr. Trout has also conducted seminars at universities and clinics across North America. These Institute-based training programs--as well as our one-year Clinical Traineeship in Infant Mental Health--have now been retired.  However, Mr. Trout remains very active as an author and regular speaker on early development, problems of attachment, assessment and treatment of infants and their families, the meaning of narratives in the lives of babies, young children and parents, and the impact on young children of domestic violence, divorce, and trauma,

An important part of the Institute's outreach has been our development of 14 training videos that are used by facilities around the world. Tackling areas as diverse as domestic violence, a family's reaction to the birth of a disabled child and the meaning of divorce to a young child, the videos have one common theme: understanding the importance of early life. Our videos explain this theme in a way that is meaningful to clinicians, program directors and parents alike.


The Infant-Parent Institute's Consulting Division explores ways to improve service delivery to children in need of mental health services due to disruptions in their family lives. The Consulting Division has delivered monitoring, technical assistance and program evaluation services since 1992, but has been principally occupied with fulfilling a contract in collaboration with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (IDCFS) to advise the Department regarding monitoring and certification for the Medicaid Community Mental Health Services (“Medicaid”) Program in Illinois. Contract activities include providing certification assistance, monitoring and technical assistance to child welfare and mental health service providers.

For further details or assistance on the implementation of Medicaid and Illinois Part 132, click HERE.

The Consulting Division of The Infant-Parent Institute has consulting staff located throughout the State of Illinois. Our main office is located in Champaign, Illinois:

328 North Neil Street
Champaign, Illinois 61820
Phone – 217-352-4172

The 20 Consulting Division staff are active in providing consultation and education to aid mental health service providers in the implementation of Medicaid program requirements. To discuss using our talents in other consulting endeavors, contact the Director, Michael Trout.

Michael Trout, MA, Director of the Institute, is a psychotherapist who, after 46 years, retired from private practice on May 30, 2014.  His practice was broad, including people of all ages.  However, he is especially known for his clinical work with foster and adopted children and their families (including narrative family therapy--a parent-led strategy for helping children of loss and trauma put together a coherent narrative of their lives); for providing developmental guidance and support to foster and adoptive families; for his prenatal work with expectant mothers and fathers; for his work with parents experiencing perinatal depression; for his clinical work with couples; and for his developmental approach to the understanding and treatment of depression. He will continue to be active in the field, conducting efficacy research in infant mental health, teaching, and writing.

The Institute no longer offers clinical services.

Michael Trout, Director

Michael Trout graduated from Alma College (B.A., cum laude, honors in Philosophy) and Central Michigan University (M.A., Psychology), and did his specialized training in infant psychiatry at the Child Development Project, University of Michigan Department of Psychiatry, under Prof. Selma Fraiberg.

In the mental health field since 1968 and in private practice since 1979, Mr. Trout has, since 1986 directed The Infant-Parent Institute, which engaged in research, clinical practice and clinical training related to problems of attachment.

He was the founding president of the International Association for Infant Mental Health; was on the charter Editorial Board of the Infant Mental Health Journal; served as regional vice-president for the United States for the World Association for Infant Mental Health; served on the board of directors (and as editor of the newsletter) for APPPAH — the Association for Pre- & Perinatal Psychology and Health, and currently serves on the Advisory Board of Attachment Parenting International. In 1984 he won the Selma Fraiberg Award for “ . . . significant contributions to the needs of infants and their families.”

In 2010, he was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award, for his decades of work with foster and adopted children and their families, at the ATTACh conference in San Francisco.

In addition to publishing a number of book chapters and journal articles, Mr. Trout has produced 14 clinical training videos that have been used by universities and clinics around the world, including the six-hour video training series, The Awakening and Growth of the Human: Studies in Infant Mental Health. He has also written and produced four videos focusing on the unique perspective of babies on divorce, adoption, loss and domestic violence.

He is the co-author (with foster/adoptive mother Lori Thomas) of The Jonathon Letters; the author of Baby Verses: The Narrative Poetry of Infants and Toddlers; the producer of two meditation CD's, including See Me As a Person: Meditations for Sustaining Relationship-Based Care, and The Hope-Filled Parent: Meditations for Parents of Children Who Have Been Harmed; and co-author (with Mary Koloroutis) of the 2012 textbook for healthcare providers, See Me As a Person.

For 46 years--41 of them in the infant mental health specialty--the most important part of Mr. Trout’s work was in the hours he spent with individuals and families.  He retired from clinical practice on May 30, 2014, allowing him to turn more of his attention to teaching, writing, and looking into what happened to some of the babies and families he served, many years ago.

The private phone number at Michael's clinical office is 217-377-4060. His email address is mtrout@infant-parent.com. The address of Michael's office is 2808 East Concord Road, Urbana, IL 61802.  You are welcome to contact him at mtrout@infant-parent.com.

Martin Srajek, Ph.D., LCSW

While Dr. Srajek is now entirely independent of The Infant-Parent Institute (as of the end of 2015), he remains a dear friend and colleague, with whom Mr. Trout shares not only a long history, but a deep appreciation  for the developmental and clinical perspectives of infant mental health.

A native of Hamburg, Germany, Martin Srajek has lived in the US since 1985. He holds a degree in theology from the Universitaet Hamburg as well as a Masters degree and Ph.D. in Interreligious Dialogue and Philosophy from Temple University, Philadelphia.

After a period of lecturing in these disciplines at institutions across the country, Martin returned to the University of Illinois where he earned a Masters degree in Human and Community Development and a Masters Degree in Social Work. Dr. Srajek became a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in 2000 and has worked as a psychotherapist in private practice since that time. In his practice, Dr. Srajek works with individuals, couples and families, adults and children. While he has expertise in a number of areas, Dr. Srajek specializes in issues related to adoption, as well as the developmental, emotional and psychological issues of boys and men.

His approach and method draw on the rich background in psychology, religion and philosophy he brings to his work. His idea and passion for men's issues, however, are particularly the result of the encounter with fatherhood in his life. Dr. Srajek has three sons. (see www.fathersfromthebeginning.blogspot.com)

Brief Professional Vitae

Academic Training Philosophy and Religion - Ph.D. - 1992
Human and Community Development - M.S. - 1999
Social Work - MS - 1999

Professional Experience

Visiting Lecturer, Philosophy and Religion - Princeton University - 1989-91
Assistant Professor, Philosophy and Religion - Swarthmore College - 1992-93
Assistant Professor, Philosophy and Religion - Illinois Wesleyan University - 1992-96
Supervisor, Foster Care - Catholic Social Service - 1999
Clinical Supervisor, Foster Care - Catholic Social Service - 1999-2001
Psychotherapist in private practice with The Infant-Parent Institute - 2000 to 2015, as well as independently 2013 - present 

Phone: 217-637-2138
Email: msrajekphd@gmail.com

website:  www.centerformenandmasculinity.com.

The address of Martin's clinical office is: 206 North Randolph Street, Suite 534, Champaign, IL 61820

Jim Linder, M.S. Ed

While he is now entirely independent of the Infant-Parent Institute (as of the end of 2015), Jim remains a dear friend and colleague, with whom Mr. Trout shares a long history, and a deep appreciation for the complexity of parenting and the needs of babies and young children. 

Jim joined The Infant-Parent Institute in 2007, making a major contribution to the Institute's long history of helping parents who are separating or divorcing plan for the future of their children through mediation. Between 2007 and 2015, when his practice became independent of the Institute, he conducted hundreds of mediations in the Champaign-Urbana and surrounding areas.  He continues his practice as a court-approved  Family and Divorce Mediator.

Mediation is a confidential, empowering conflict resolution process that maximizes parental self-determination at a time when emotions are raw and communication is difficult. In mediation, parents--who know their children best and love them most--cooperate in putting their children’s needs first. With a mediator’s assistance they carefully and thoughtfully plan the best possible outcome for their children’s future. For more information, please visit Mr. Linders mediation website: www.lindermediation.com

A native of Central Illinois, Mr. Linder graduated from the University of Illinois (Bachelor of Science in Education, Bronze Tablet, Highest Honors), and also holds an M.S.Ed degree from UIUC.

Mr. Linder's educational career includes being a classroom teacher and the Principal of the Cunningham Children’s Home Residential School. More recently, he worked as a consultant, trainer and coach for adults who serve children in any capacity. He has trained Public and Private School Teachers and Administrators, Child Care Providers, YMCA Summer Staff, Library Staff, School Based Mentors and many parents in schools, churches and early childhood programs.

Mr. Linder holds a national certification in the Positive Discipline Association and provide trainings in Positive Discipline for Parents and Parent Trainers, Positive Discipline in the Classroom, Developing Capable Young People, Parent Talk & Teacher Talk, and supervises student teachers for Millikin University.

Jim's training style is an experiential, engaging, active and participatory format that heightens both learning and energy levels for those he trains.

For more information or to schedule a mediation, phone 217-337-3317, or email jim@lindermediation.com.