Overview and Requirements

Reflective supervision/consultation (RSC) an ongoing form of professional development within the infant and early childhood field. It begins with a consistent, reliable relationship in which supervisees are able to explore the thoughts, feelings and challenges present in the work they are doing with or on behalf of infants, toddlers, young children and those that care for them. Over time, the RSC relationship is a place where vulnerabilities are scaffolded and strengths are supported to generate professional growth, leading to better services for children and caregivers.

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. The RSC relationship itself, one in which a professional feels seen, heard, valued, and supported provides a model for developing and strengthening relationships that promote growth and development for babies, young children and those that care for them. RSC provides a space to explore 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, RSC 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. 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 and early childhood mental health services. 

With a focus on collaboration, reflective supervisors and consultants often listen and wait, allowing the supervisee to discover solutions, concepts, and perceptions on their own. Reflective supervisors and consultants trust that this process will allow more organic opportunities for intervention to arise. 

In short, RSC is linked to high quality services to infants, young children and those that care for them. NCIMHA believes that all professionals need and deserve the support the RSC can provide. 

Are You Providing Reflective Supervision/Consultation?

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 child, 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:

  • Reliable & Predictable
  • Present & Attuned
  • Able to Maintain Confidentiality
  • Honest & Respectful
  • Open & Curious
  • Able to Hold Ambivalence
  • Focused on Feelings

Endorsement Requirements 

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

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

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