Applying Ecological Systems Theory in Infant Mental Health
May 14, 2018
The field of infant mental health has made monumental advances since its roots as a traditionally mother-baby field. We now understand that to facilitate the strengthening of families, relationships and young children’s development we need to look to the co-parenting unit, broader family system, extended caregiving environment, and neighbor, community, and service systems. Urie Brofenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory looks at a child’s development within the context of the system of relationships that form his or her environment. The interaction between the child’s own biological factors and his family, caregiving, and community environment, and the societal landscape fuels and steers his development. Changes or conflict in any one of these systems can ripple throughout other layers and affect the child’s development. In order to understand and support a child’s development we must understand not only the child’s immediate relationships and environment, but also the interaction of the entire nested system of environments surrounding the child.
Presenter: Lisa Negrini, LCSW, University of South Florida St. Petersburg