The Infant-Parent Institute

About the Infant-Parent Institute

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.