Best Practice Guidelines for Reflective Supervision/Consultation

Reflective Supervision hours are required for those seeking the Infant Family Specialist (IFS), Infant Mental Health Specialist (IMHS), or the Infant Mental Health Mentor-Clinical (IMHM-C) Endorsement. 

It is recommended that Endorsees pursuing Endorsement participate in the VA IMH Training & Reflective Supervision Learning Collaborative, which consists of 24 hours of training & 24 hours of related Reflective Supervision. This training, offered annually each October at 2 hours per month x 12 months, covers foundational Infant Mental Health concepts and is provided by two Endorsed professionals (IFS and/or IMHM-C) who are also Licensed Mental Health professionals. Full attendance in this course counts toward initial or renewal Endorsement requirements.

Purpose of the Best Practice Guidelines

  1. To emphasize the importance of reflective supervision/consultation for best practice.
  2. To describe the knowledge, skills, and practices that are critical to reflective supervision/consultation.
  3. To better ensure that those providing reflective supervision/consultation are appropriately trained and
  4. To define the type of reflective supervision/consultation that is required for Endorsement®.

Those who earn Endorsement for Culturally Sensitive, Relationship-Focused Practice Promoting Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health® (Endorsement®) have demonstrated completion of specialized education, work, in-service training, and reflective supervision/consultation (RS/C) experiences that lead to competency in the promotion and/or practice of infant and early childhood mental health (IECMH). The intention of Endorsement® is to:

  • Transform the ways in which professionals view, wonder about, consider, understand, and respond to the pregnant women, infants, young children, and families whom they serve.
  • Support professionals who offer knowledgeable and skilled support to pregnant women, infants, young children, and families.
  • Enhance professionals’ ability to identify risks to the physical, emotional, and relational health of infants and young children and to respond appropriately.
  • Help professionals develop the capacity to shift perspective, address personal biases, set boundaries, and slow down, observe, and listen.
  • Invite professionals to experience feeling heard, validated, and affirmed, within the context of a RS/C relationship, for the work that they are doing with or on behalf of pregnant women, infants, young children, and families.

These Best Practice Guidelines are the standards for providers of RS/C and are critical to ensuring that the above intentions are achieved.

For the purposes of this document, RS/C refers specifically to work done in the infant and early childhood family field on behalf of the infant and young child’s primary caregiving relationships. Throughout this document, reflective supervisor typically will refer to a provider who also may be the individual’s program supervisor and/or is employed by the same organization as the individual. Reflective consultant will refer to a provider who is hired contractually from outside the organization to work with an individual and/or a group.