Michael Trout, Director • The Infant-Parent Institute, Inc. • www.infant-parent.com
Today’s session is a response to the deeply-felt need in the clinical, early intervention and child welfare communities for ways of understanding what happens inside the minds and souls of children exposed to domestic violence and other forms of trauma and loss; what happens to the foster and adoptive family with whom they may be placed; and what intervention strategies offer hope for these children and their families. We are aware that the behaviors of these children may be unusual, and unusually resistant to customary treatment strategies. We have learned that counterintuitive parenting and treatment strategies are needed. We have learned—often the hard way—that talk therapies (with the child, while a desperate parent sits in the waiting room), standard play therapy, cognitive-behavior therapies, and behavior modification strategies may simply not work with these children, and the use of them may create terrific frustration for their foster, adoptive and birth parents. Sometimes our efforts to be helpful just waste time, lead to parent-blaming, and fail to support the parent-child attachment that is already in jeopardy. We will work today to put together a way to open our minds to what has happened, and to open our practices to be more attuned to the heart of the problem.
MICHAEL TROUT completed both his undergraduate studies in philosophy and his graduate studies in psychology in Michigan. He completed his specialized training in infant psychiatry at the Child Development Project, University of Michigan School of Medicine, under Prof. Selma Fraiberg. In the mental health field since 1968, and in private practice since 1979, Mr. Trout directs an institute engaged in research, clinical practice and clinical training related to problems of attachment. He was the founding president of the Michigan Association for Infant Mental Health and the International Association for Infant Mental Health, was on the charter Editorial Board of the Infant Mental Health Journal, served as Vice-President for the United States for the World Association for Infant Mental Health, and served on the Board of Directors (and as Editor of the Newsletter) for APPPAH–the international society for prenatal and perinatal psychology. He currently serves on the Professional Advisory Board for Attachment Parenting International.In addition to publishing a number of book chapters and journal articles–as well as the 2005 book, co-authored with a foster/adopt mother, The Jonathon Letters, and the 2008 Baby Verses: The Narrative Poetry of Infants and Toddlers–Mr. Trout has produced 16 documentary films that are in use in universities and clinics around the world, including five films on the unique perspective of babies on divorce, adoption, loss, domestic violence and parental incarceration. His meditation CD for foster and adoptive parents is entitled The Hope-Filled Parent. His newest book, co-authored with Mary Koloroutis, is on the nature of the therapeutic relationship, and is entitled See Me As A Person. He is working, at present, on his final book: This Hallowed Ground: Four Decades in Infant Mental Health. Mr. Trout won the Selma Fraiberg Award in 1984, for “…significant contributions to the needs of infants and their families”, and a Lifetime Achievement Award by ATTACh, “for his decades of work with children of loss and trauma”.The most important part of Mr. Trout’s work was always in the quiet private practice where he saw families and children of all ages every week. After 46 years, he retired in the summer of 2014.