Overview and Requirements

Reflective supervision/consultation (RSC) is a consistent, reliable relationship in which supervisees are able to explore the thoughts and feelings evoked from the work they are doing within the infant mental health field. Over time, the supervisor/supervisee relationship in RSC is a place where vulnerabilities are scaffolded and strengths are supported to generate professional growth.

RSC is distinct due to the shared exploration of the parallel process, or the way relationships impact relationships within infant and early childhood mental health work. Exploration of the relationships at every level, including those between programs and supervisors, supervisors and providers, providers and caregivers, as well as caregivers and infants, toddlers, or young children, create a meaningful way to connect the lived experience of one to many. In doing so exploration of the parallel process offers insight to how programs, supervisors and practitioners can utilize relationship based interventions to impact the relationships between infants, toddlers, young children and their family.

Additionally, RSC supports supervisees in examining the thoughts and feelings evoked within the work. In doing so, it offers infant and early childhood mental health professionals the opportunity to increase their self awareness by identifying and exploring personal experience or bias that may be impacting their work. Self awareness is a key component of the provision of culturally responsive infant mental health services. 

Finally, there is often greater emphasis on the supervisor’s ability to listen and wait, allowing the supervisee to discover solutions, concepts, and perceptions on their own without interruption. Reflective supervisors and consultants trust that this process will allow more organic opportunities for intervention to arise.

The primary objectives of reflective supervision/consultation are to:

  • Form a trusting relationship between supervisor and supervisee
  • Establish consistent and predictable meetings
  • Ask questions that encourage details about the infant, parent/caregiver, and emerging relationship
  • Support the integration of emotion and reason
  • Attend to how reactions to the content of the work affect the process
  • Explore the parallel process
  • Build and nurture supervisee’s capacity to understand the meaning, feeling or intention behind their behavior and the behavior of others with whom they are working

Reflective supervisors/consultants are: 

Endorsement Requirements 

RSC is a key component of high quality infant mental health services across disciplines and sectors, and therefore is a key piece of Infant Mental Health Endorsement® 

RSC is recommended for all applicants, but required for the following categories of Endorsement: Infant Family Specialist, Infant Family Reflective Supervisor, Infant Mental Health Specialist, and Infant Mental Health Mentor-Clinical. 

See additional information regarding Infant Mental Health Endorsement categories and requirements here.