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Observing as Witnessing: Clinical Observation of the Parent-Child Relationship as Praxis

Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health

87 spots available


Clinical observation of the parent-child relationship is an essential tool for both clinical practice and social justice praxis. Observations are utilized throughout treatment to provide valuable clinical information about the socioemotional functioning, attachment style, and strengths of the parent-child relationship. The observing clinician must pay attention to not only what is said and done during an interaction, but also to all that is left unsaid and unheard by the parent and the child. When working with families who are multiply oppressed, clinicians must also be curious about the ways that institutionalized racism and intergenerational trauma might be impacting the spoken and unspoken aspects of the parent-child interaction. Witnessing is a concept utilized in liberation psychology and social psychoanalytic thought to describe the act of bearing witness to the ways that systems of oppression impact a person’s inner world and external conditions. This training will prepare participants to sharpen their skills in clinical observations including their capacity to identify markers of attachment and temperament as they arise within the parent-child interaction. This training will also prepare participants to integrate witnessing into their clinical practice to enhance their skills in clinical observation and anti-racist clinical practice.