Traumatic bereavement in infant and young children has a special salience ( Robert Pynoos,2003). When young children lose a parent, it is typical for the death to be related to violence, accident, military deployment or catastrophic medical event. As young children, they are often with their parents, hearing the cries of distress, witnessing the horror, experiencing extreme helplessness and loss of the very person who would normally assist them to contend with their own reactions (Robert Pynoos, 2003). The literature on traumatic bereavement suggests five main areas which may need clinical considerations throughout the intervention process. These include contending with (a) the physical reality of the death from a developmental perspective (b) the traumatic circumstances (c) grief reactions; including reactions to loss reminders; (d) the developmental adaptions to the loss; and (e) the potential impact of derailment on the developmental progression.
This reflective practice session, designed for direct service practitioners, will offer support and reinforcement to become intentional and purposeful in the application of infant mental health concepts learned in training, such as grief and loss in early childhood. Through observation of videotapes, group discussion, and/ or role-plays, participants will deepen their knowledge and skills in infant mental health. Participants are encouraged to present case examples for group discussion on applying concepts of infant mental health to specific cases.
At the conclusion of the workshop, participants will be able to: