The Infant-Parent Institute

New film by Michael Trout

While we have known for decades about the impact of separation and loss on infants and toddlers, there has been remarkably little research or discussion about what happens to a very young child whose parent goes to prison.  To further this discussion, Mr. Trout has produced a new film in the "Transitions" series entitled, "They Took My Parent Away:  Little Ones Affected by Incarceration Speak".  This 17-minute DVD attempts to portray the perspective of those unable to use adult words to express themselves about being present for an arrest, and about the cascade of losses that typically follow parental incarceration--even when the incarcerated person is barely known to the child.

In the introduction to the film, Mr. Trout reports:  "No matter how angry we are at those who commit crime, we must still face the fact that what happens next does not happen in a vacuum; the little ones at home are watching, listening, responding. We'll hear from those little ones again.  My hope is that we might decide to hear them now."   

The public debut occurred in Auckland, New Zealand at the first conference of the International Coalition for Children of Incarcerated Parents in 2017. The final version of the film is now available through The Knowledge Center at Chaddock, as a free download. 

Notice that a set of Study Questions is also available, at no charge (downloadable, on this site).  We have found that showing the film in parts (perhaps stopping after each of the five children "speak"), with time for processing at each pause, is very helpful.  The Study Questions may be of some help in designing the processing and discussion periods.  Showing of the film in one sitting is not recommended; our experience (admittedly limited, at this point) has been that the film can be a bit overwhelming, and can provoke defensiveness, including denial that little children could possibly have such mental representations and responses to loss of a parent through incarceration.   

To order a free digital download of "They Took My Parent Away:  Little Ones Affected by Incarceration Speak", contact www.theknowledgecenteratchaddock.com.  

Draft copies of a paper with supporting citations is available by emailing mtrout@infant-parent.com.  This paper will be published by Cambridge Scholars in the United Kingdom in 2018 as a chapter in Gordon, L. (Ed).  Invisible children:  Contemporary research and analysis on the children of prisoners.    

The Soul's Cord: A Method for Encountering the Unborn

Prenatal Bonding (Bindungs-Analyse by Raffai) opens a window to the womb and helps to create an intense bond between mother and  unborn baby. The method is at the same time an empowerment for the mother and the fetus and a great help for a full-term pregnancy and for giving birth much more easily. After birth the baby is easy to nurse and is in a solid attachment to his parents. 

Based on extensive research in Psychoanalysis and Pre- and Perinatal Psychology and Medicine, the Hungarian Psychoanalyst Jenoe Raffai, PhD developed a ground-breaking strategy to support pregnant women from gestation to birth. More than 7,000 cases in Europe and the USA have been facilitated, researched and carefully evaluated since 1995 with outstanding results for physical as well as emotional maturity of the babies. 

Before he died, Dr. Raffai gave approval for continued teaching of the method to practitioners around the world, including in the United States, to his German colleague, psychoanalyst Gerhard Schroth, MD and his partner, Anne Goertz-Schroth. 

The next international training series will begin in Gleisweiler, Germany (near Frankfort) in January, 2018, and will include four 4-day blocks through November, 2019. Registrants are invited from all fields associated with prenatal and perinatal psychology, including infant mental health, clinical and developmental psychology, clinical social work, psychoanalysis, obstetrics, midwifery, nursing, pediatrics and family medicine.

For information about the method or the new training series, or to register, contact Dr. Schroth via email:  ba@schroth-apv.com.

The Therapeutic Relationship: See me as a person

It occurred to Mr. Trout that decades of clinical work with mothers and babies--using a model of assessment and intervention utterly dependent on the establishment of a therapeutic connection--might offer some insight into the ways doctors and nurses connect with (or fail to connect with) their own patients. What followed this insight was a collaboration with Mary Koloroutis, MSN, vice-president of Creative Health Care Management in Minneapolis and author of the 2003 text, Relationship-Based Care, to write See Me As A Person:  Creating Therapeutic Relationships with Patients and Their Families.

Within the world of health care, the act of therapeutic connection is not owned by any one profession. The responsibility to offer authentic and compassionate care to another human being is something we all share. In our chaotic and time-constrained medical and nursing environments in which technical and complex demands prevail, clinicians struggle as they strive every day to connect with the patients and families in their care.

See Me As A Person: Creating Therapeutic Relationships With Patients And Their Families, written with Mary Koloroutis, suggests a model for healthcare providers to connect with their patients--and, in the process, improve their efficacy, the patient's sense of being seen, and patient satisfaction with the quality of care.

It is hope that this new volume--clearly crossing disciplinary lines to name and encourage behavior that some nurses and physicians engage in intuitively--will make a significant contribution to the dramatically-changing world of healthcare delivery.    

The purpose of the therapeutic relationship is to facilitate the capacity of patients and their loved ones to cope with illness and to take ownership for their healing and health. The practices described in the book--and brought to life in the CD--are grounded in medical, nursing, and psychological research, and are also plainly built on the healing power of authentic connection.

For more information on the book and/or CD and to learn more about our work, click here or call 800.728.7766.

Please visit www.TheTherapeuticRelationship.com

 

New Writings by Michael Trout

Infant/Child-Parent Psychotherapy:  A Model of "Being With" Young Children and Their Parents in Trouble. In Buckwalter, K. and Reed, D. (2017), Attachment theory in Action:  Building connections between children and parents. Lanham, MD:  Rowman & Littlefield.

A Relationship-Based Way of Being.  In Koloroutis, M. and Abelson, D. (2017).  Advancing relationship-based cultures.  Minneapolis:  Creative Health Care Management.

Attunement as the Doorway to Human Connection.  In Koloroutis, M. and Abelson, D. (2017).  Advancing relationship-based cultures. Minneapolis:  Creative Health Care Management.

They Took My Parent Away:  Little Ones Affected by IIncarceration Speak. In Gordon, L. (Ed.) (2018). Invisible children:  Contemporary research and analysis on the children of prisoners. Newcastle, UK:  Cambridge Scholars.

"Salon" on Attachment in Urbana

Michael Trout, Director of The Infant-Parent Institute in Champaign, opens his home to a “Salon on Attachment”.

A "Salon", according to the meagre literature on the subject (see Manthey, M. “A Talk For all Times”, Nursing Forum 45(4), October-December, 2010), is a focused conversation among intelligent people with shared interests, usually with food, usually in someone's home. I learned about the idea from Ms. Manthey (the founder of primary care nursing in this country, whom I sought out over coffee in Minneapolis), who started a Salon on nursing in her home some years ago. It has remained robust, always inviting new ideas and new people, and has inspired the development of other salons on nursing around the country.

For two years, such a Salon, focused on attachment, occurred in my home.  We shared  simple food (and dessert), and great conversation. The real point of the evening was to consider ideas, worries, experiences, research and other thoughts elicited by the core question: "What is on your mind this evening about attachment?".

Our Salon was not a case consultation. I was not the leader of the conversation. We did not give each other advice. Everyone took responsibility to stay focused, keep whining to a minimum, keep talk about broken systems to a minimum, and keep the conversation real, elevated, and on-point. There was minimal structure (based on “circle” concepts) to help us get going, and to help us close the evening.

Heterogeneity was encouraged; we did not wish to just be a choir, singing in one voice. We welcomed a few graduate students (since it seemed likely that youthful thought—even without the benefit of experience—could add greatly to the conversation), and shrinks of all kinds, academics, and people in related professions (public health, occupational therapy, etc.). There was, of course, no cost. We had some remarkable conversations, with attendees driving from the furthest western and southern parts of the state for the evening event.  Many of us found it scintillating to share soup and sophisticated-but-relaxed conversation about tough and intricate clinical/developmental ideas, around the fireplace or on the back porch. 

We began a new Salon, also in my home, on January 18 (2018).  This one is more focused, as we have taken on the reading of drafts for the new book,This Hallowed Ground:  Four Decades in Infant Mental Health. We meet at 6:15PM, share soup and bread, and work around the fire until 7:45PM. These stimulating discussions about the intricacies of infant mental health, arising out of real cases, have been stimulating to me as a clinician, and an enormous help to me as an author. The first series ran through the spring, on the third Thursday of each month. The second series began in the fall (2018), and has been no less pleasurable.

For more information, contact Mr. Trout at mtrout@infant-parent.com for information.