The Infant-Parent Institute has developed 16 training videos (some now retired), designed for use by academicians, clinicians, adoption professionals, parents and those who work in the child welfare and judicial system.
Written and produced by Michael Trout, Director of the Institute, these videos address issues in assessment of--and clinical intervention with--babies and their parents, and the effects of trauma, divorce, foster care, domestic violence, parental incarceration and adoption on infants and young children.
Since retiring from clinical practice last year, Mr. Trout has been at work on the next book: a collection of clinical stories about the application of infant mental health theory in clinical practice with infants, children and adults. Mr. Trout has just completed work on four chapters in three books in this past year:
"Infant/Child-Parent Psychotherapy: A Model of 'Being With' Young Children and their Families in Trouble." In Buckwalter, K. and Reed, D. (Eds.) (2017). Attachment theory in action: Building connections between children and parents. Lanham, MD: Rowan and Littlefield.
"A Relationship-Based Way of Being" and "Attunement as the Doorway to Human Connection". In Koloroutis, M. and Abelson, D. (Eds) (2017). Advancing relationship-based cultures. Minneapolis: Creative Health Care Management Publishers.
"They Took my Parent Away: Little Ones Affected by Incarceration Speak". In Gordon, L. (Ed.) (2018). Invisible children: Contemporary research and analysis on the children of prisoners. Newcastle, UK: Cambridge Scholars.
As of February 1, 2018, the entire library of still-active films, books and meditation CDs has been donated to The Knowledge Center at Chaddock. I have admired the work of Chaddock--which provides residential, outpatient, in-home and educational services for children and their families, all through the lens of developmental trauma and attachment-- for many years, and am thrilled to add to their Knowledge Center with this donation.
This is a listing of the films in my Transitions Series, all available in DVD or digital video format, through The Knowledge Center at Chaddock.
Gentle Transitions: A Newborn Baby’s Point of View About Adoption
Suggestions on what we grown-ups should think about — and do – to make the adoption experience work best for a baby. Presented as if written by an infant, this ten-minute video may be useful for birthparents, adoptive parents and adoption training. Covered are issues ranging from the importance of the adoptive family having a chance to be pregnant for their adopted baby to the importance of some sort of ritual to mark the transition from one family to the other. Explanations are offered from some of the adopted baby’s subsequent behavior and a plea is made (by the baby, of course) for us to remember that he is watching us. (10 minutes)
Multiple Transitions: A Young Child's Point of View on Foster Care and Adoption
Employs the unique format used in the first film: there are no adults — or even adult voices — to be seen or heard. The script attempts to distill what children would teach us, if they had the chance, about what being moved around feels like, how and why their behavior begins to change, and what happens to their availability for new attachment. The film ends with a few suggestions on how we might be able to do it better. (16 minutes)
Multiple Transitions: A Young Child's Point of View on Foster Care and Adoption - Spanish-Language Version
In response to a great many inquiries and suggestions from child welfare and infant-parent programs serving Hispanic populations across the US, we set about the task of turning our film, “Multiple Transitions: A Young Child’s Point of View About Foster Care and Adoption” into a Spanish-language, culturally-attuned film that could be used with Hispanic audiences.
We knew it would not be enough to simply translate the words into Spanish. The film had to take cultural differences into account, the little voices had to be those of children of Hispanic origin, and the music had to be just right. Now, 15 months later, we are ready to release “Transiciones Multiples: El Punto de Vista de un Nino Sobre el Cuidado de Familias de Acogida Temporal y la Adopcion”.
In the process, we had the priceless help of Janet Rodriguez, MSW, Director of Hispanic Cultural Awareness in Columbia, South Carolina. Not only did Janet supervise the three translations (to make sure we had accounted for various dialects), recruit the little children to speak the parts, and advise us on cultural issues, but she even organized two pilot showings to varied Hispanic audiences. She also helped us find Enrique Cardenas, of Bayamon, Puerto Rico, who composed the original music for this version of our film. (17 minutes)
Family Transitions: Young Children Speak Their Minds About Divorce
An effort to collect in one place, and then put into words the many things little ones "say" — in their drawings, in their behavior, and sometimes even in their words — when their families are coming apart. Designed for use by mediators, judges, support programs for divorcing couples — and parents, themselves — as they examine the feelings of young children of divorce. (16 minutes)
Breaking Peaces: Babies Have Their Say About Domestic Violence
Represents what prenates, infants and toddlers would say — if they but had a voice, and if we would actually listen — about experiencing domestic violence. Formed around a poem, with some of the words spoken by young children, this video presumes that domestic violence is an intensely up-close-and-personal phenomenon for babies, and teaches that babies have little choice but to respond, in some way. They may pull back, they may attempt to control, they may become compliant, they may become rageful, they may become perpetrators, themselves. But they will respond. Suggestions are made, at the end, about action steps for grownups. (7 minutes)
Is Anyone In There? Adopting a Wounded Child
Companion video to "Multiple Transitions: A Young Child's Point of View on Foster Care and Adoption." This video is designed for the support of foster and adoptive parents, as well as for the training of professionals in child welfare. It acknowledges that caring for, and falling in love with a child who has been traumatized by abuse, loss or profound neglect bears little resemblance to the romantic stories about adoption often told to unsuspecting parents. (11 minutes)
Special Note: Regarding "Is Anyone In There? Adopting a Wounded Child" - This video was designed to tell a very specific and personal story: that of a parent who is startled to discover that she has just adopted a child who gives very little back, and whose behavior will challenge everything the parent thought she knew about parenting, and about love. It is NOT an easy film to watch. It is NOT a good recruiting film for adoptive parents. It is NOT about the joys of adoption. It does NOT tell every adoptive parent's story. It IS a breakthrough film for parents who have been struggling to find words to describe what is wrong. It IS an opportunity to forestall adoption disruption by demonstrating that the family's struggle makes sense, that they are not crazy, that there is help.
They Took my Parent Away: Little Ones Affected by Incarceration Speak
Since the second World War, we have understood that infants and toddlers manifest profound affective, developmental and behavioral responses to the loss of a parent. In more recent years, we have seen that such loss may provoke neurological changes that are lasting, and show up in classroom behavior, relationships, decision-making and personality many years later—even when the loss occurred at a profoundly early age. Curiously, we have attended very little to the implications of this research relative to loss due to parental incarceration. A number of articles and a smaller number of books have tried to document what incarceration means to school-age children, but there have been virtually no reports on the meaning of such loss (and subsequent chaos) to infants and toddlers, much less to prenates.
This film is based on the well-researched notion that the inner life of the very young child is exceedingly active, in the service of the child’s natural adaptive propensity to survive. The internal narrative of the young child who experiences loss is often incoherent, leading to ideas about the self and the self-in-the-world that may not seem rational to adults, but which represent the best shot of the baby, or toddler, or prenate to make sense of what is happening. These internal representations may or may not last, depending on what happens next, and may or may not lead to problem behaviors. But the feelings don’t go away, even when the incarcerated parent is barely known to the child.
Please don’t mistake the contents of this film as political statements. They are not. That’s not my area. No position on incarceration, or on criminal justice policy, is taken or implied. My purpose is merely to provoke conversation and consideration about what happens to those left behind, with respect to both life circumstances and internal emotional life. And it is to throw light into the dark corner where those left behind often find themselves. No matter how angry we are at those who commit crime, we must still face the fact that our efforts to punish, isolate, or rehabilitate them do not happen in a vacuum; the little ones at home (whatever “home” then means) are watching, listening, responding. We’ll hear from these little ones again. My hope is that we might decide to hear them now. (17 minutes)
Nurturing the Families of Chronically Ill or Disabled Children - Retired
Made specifically for health care providers and special education/early intervention programs attempting a family-centered renewal. This videotape focuses attention on the array of survival skills employed by families with a sick, dying, or disabled child in their midst, and suggests that most family behavior is reasonable, when considered from the family's point of view. (86 minutes) VHS and DVD.
Baby Verses: The Narrative Poetry of Infants and Toddlers - available as a hardcover book, with CD from www.theknowledgecenterat chaddock.com.
Michael Trout, has created a compilation of 18 poems as if written by prenates, babies and young children, describing their experiences with life: from living with an alcoholic mother, to circumcision; from losing a twin in utero to the joys of individuation. Eight of the poems are recorded on an included CD, using voices of very young children.
The Hope-Filled Parent: Meditations for Foster and Adoptive Parents of Children Who Have Been Harmed - available as a CD from www.theknowledgecenteratchaddock.com.
What could meditation mean to a foster mother who has learned to arise at 5:15 each day, in order to have 10 minutes of quiet before she begins the careful morning ritual needed for awakening her deeply troubled child without a meltdown? What could meditation mean to an adoptive father sitting alone at midnight, pondering what was happening to the peace of his home, the safety of his other children, and the intimacy he used to share with his wife? Could meditation make a difference to those foster or adoptive families who are on the brink of placement disruption, who are about to conclude they can simply not make it through another day? Use these meditations in any way that suits you. There is no right or wrong way. If you find one that particularly speaks to you, you may find yourself listening to it every day, at about the same time.
The Awakening and Growth of the Human: Studies in Infant Mental Health, a six-part series - Retired
These historical documents, from the early days of infant mental health, were made between 1982-1992, and reflect the research of that era (and before). They have now been retired. The tiles of the six films in the series included:
The Nature of Human Attachments in Infancy
A historical overview of infant mental health, with current thoughts on the process by which human infants and their primary caretakers develop a bond; what difference it makes to the infant’s mental, motor, physical and emotional development, and how we may notice when such a bond is absent or conflicted. Suitable for use with "lay" groups (parents, educators, etc.) as well as for use as an introduction to more in-depth training of clinicians, the tape includes narrative and vignettes from both healthy and conflicted caregiver-infant dyads. (AG-1) (56 minutes)
The Psychological Dimensions of Pregnancy and Delivery
A description of the intense but quite normal psychological work engaged in by a pregnant woman, how it changes her relationship with her mate, what difference this work makes for her future relationship with the baby, how it all comes together at labor and delivery to the benefit or detriment of the mother-infant bond, and how the father finds a place in this process and prepares for the newborn’s arrival. This tape includes clips of mothers and fathers discussing their pregnancies. As an educational tool, the tape is appropriate for childbirth preparation instructors and physician in-services, as well as for the training of infant mental health clinicians. (AG-2) (56 minutes)
Conducting an Infant Mental Health Family Assessment
Discusses methods used to elicit material from families regarding the nature of their relationship with the baby and etiology of the breakdown in their bond with the baby. Vignettes of interviews with families are used to demonstrate how information is sometimes offered by way of parent-infant interaction, or by way of stories or behaviors that APPEAR unrelated to the questions at hand. Suggestions are offered about how to organize material for a report. The tape is intended principally for use in professional training. (AG-3) (58 minutes)
The Newborn, the Family and the Dance
A discussion, with tape clips from both normal and troubled families, of the ways in which real or imagined characteristics of the newborn affect the way in which he is integrated into the family, and the nature of his relationships with primary caretakers. The TWO-WAY character of infant-parent interactions and of the evolving relationship, and the problems of FIT, are highlighted. Newborn responses to some parts of the Brazleton (neonatal behavioral assessment scale) will be demonstrated. The tape is useful with childbirth preparation classes, parent and pre-parent groups, and physician in-services, as well as in professional training curricula for infant mental health clinicians. (AG-4) (58 minutes)
The Birth of a Sick or Handicapped Baby: Impact on the Family
Examines the struggles engaged in by parents and siblings to integrate a newborn with a disability or chronic illness into the family. Real families speak of their experiences and the results of a two-year study are offered. Long-term consequences for the parents, for the siblings, and for the emotional and mental development of the living but disabled child are discussed. This tape is appropriate for viewing by educators, physicians, parent groups, and clinical trainees (in psychiatry, obstetrics, nursing, psychology, social work and infant mental health). (AG-5) (57 minutes)
Infant Mental Health: A Psychotherapeutic Model of Intervention
- How do we do infant-parent psychotherapy?
- How do we know what to say, when to say it, and when to be quiet?
- What do we do about the powerful resistance of families who may both want to talk — and to avoid talking at all costs — about "the problem with baby"?
- What do we do about our own resistance?
- What does transference look like, when baby is the object?
- What are our responsibilities with respect to cultural, religious and other differences?
A rich array of clinical examples are brought together: from Dr. Cramer’s infant psychiatry service in Switzerland, from a psychologist in Africa, and another from the roughest sections of Newark. We watch a clinician with newborns and parents in an affluent Chicago suburb, and hear "clinicians-in-the-trenches" in rural Maine talk about what the work is like in their part of the world. (AG-6) (96 minutes)