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Mother and Baby

Reflective Supervision

Reflective Supervision and Consultation (RS/C) is distinct due to the shared exploration of the parallel process. That is, attention to all of the relationships is important, including the ones between practitioner and supervisor, between practitioner and parent, and between parent and infant/toddler. It is critical to understand how each of these relationships affects the others. Of additional importance, RS/C relates to professional and personal development within one’s discipline by attending to the emotional content of the work and how reactions to the content affect the work. Finally, there is often greater emphasis on the supervisor/consultant’s ability to listen and wait, allowing the supervisee to discover solutions, concepts, and perceptions on their own without interruption from the supervisor/consultant.

Reflective supervision/consultation may mean different things depending on the program in which it occurs. RS/C may be carried out individually or within a group. A Reflective Supervisor or Consultant may be hired/contracted from outside the agency or program, and may be offered to an individual or group/team in order to examine and respond to case material. If the supervisor or consultant is contracted from outside the agency or program, he or she will engage in reflective and clinical discussion, but will not engage in administrative objectives unless it is clearly indicated in the contract. If the RS/C operates within the agency or program, then he/she will most likely need to address reflective, clinical, and administrative objectives.

Many supervisors of infant and family programs are required to provide administrative and/or clinical supervision, while reflective supervision may be optional. In other words, reflective supervision/consultation  often includes administrative elements and is always clinical, while administrative and clinical supervision are not always reflective.


The primary objectives of Reflective Supervision/Consultation include the following:

  • Form a trusting relationship between supervisor and practitioner

  • Establish consistent and predictable meetings and times

  • Ask questions that encourage details about the infant, parent/caregiver, and emerging relationships

  • Listen

  • Remain emotionally present

  • Teach/guide

  • Nurture/support

  • Apply the integration of emotion and reason

  • Foster the reflective process to be internalized by the supervisee

  • Explore the parallel process and to allow time for personal reflection

  • Attend to how reactions to the content affect the process


RSC is required for the following categories of Endorsement: Infant/Early Childhood Family Specialist; Infant/Early Childhood Family Reflective Supervisor; Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health Specialist; Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health Mentor-Clinical. 


See the requirements for each category of Endorsement for more information.

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Updated Approved Providers of RSC (June 2022)
Category as Provider             Category as Receiver
VAIMH RS Provider
Provides RS To
Other Language
Diana Bermudez
Debbie Coleman
Jessica Brickey
IMHS & Any category for ECMH-E®
Judith Martens
All Categories
Naomi Grinney
Sandra Triveri
IMHS & Any category for ECMH-E®
Tamara Coyle

IFA - Infant Family Associate                                                                                             ECFA - Early Childhood Family Associate

IFS - Infant Family Specialist                                                                                             ECFS - Early Childhood Family Specialist

IFRS - Infant Family Reflective Supervisor                                                                        ECFRS - Early Childhood Family Reflective Supervisor

IMHS - Infant Mental Health Specialist                                                                            ECMHS - Early Childhood Mental Health Specialist

IMHM - Infant Mental Health Mentor (Clinical | Policy | Research/Faculty                   ECMHM - Early Childhood Mental Health Mentor

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