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A group of Berry Street Take Two clinical staff recently presented at the World Infant Mental Health World Congress in Dublin, Ireland.

The congress theme was ‘Early Relationships Matter: Advancing Practice, Policy and Research in Infant Mental Health’. Take Two had a total of 8 papers accepted by the congress committee.

Presentation topics

The congress was clustered into themes, and most of our presentations fell into the child protection stream. Some of the topics Take Two presented on include:

  • our recently developed 'Principles for trauma-informed practice with infants and young children'
  • Take Two’s involvement in implementation of Child-Parent Psychotherapy (CPP) in Australia
  • CPP outcomes within Take Two with infants and safe caregivers after family violence
  • the importance of ‘meaning making’ and narratives for reunification to birth parents after infant removal.

We also presented case studies about the use of therapeutic narrative through EMDR and CPP with a toddler experiencing PTSD, and of successful systems work with a pre-schooler in a chaotic and large family who have all experienced significant trauma.

Our Infant Mental Health Consultants presented about our innovative use of secondary consults to support clinicians undertaking our complex casework. Take Two clinicians use secondary consults to access expertise from our child and adolescent psychiatrist, occupational therapist, speech pathologist, neuropsychologist, Aboriginal Consultant, Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics consultants and Infant Mental Health Consultants.

The congress featured high-quality speakers and papers. It was an exceptional opportunity to learn from them as well as meet, present to, and network with other world leaders in infant mental health practice. I’m excited about some future collaborations and improvement in our practices with infants in Australia as a result.

Dr Allison Cox Director, Take Two

The Take Two staff who presented were Dr Allison Cox, Catherine McQueen, Dr Lyn Radford, Simone Rutherfurd, Brenda Fenton and current Infant Mental Health Consultants: Dr Emma van Daal, Rebecca Bennett and Lauren Vanderzeil. There were 3 other staff who were involved in the accepted papers but couldn’t attend in person. They were Dr Sonia Sharman, Adrienne Buhagiar and Dr Kerry Slabak.

The 4-day World Congress was hosted by the Irish Association for Mental Health. Plenary speakers included Dr J Kevin Nugent from Boston Children’s Hospital, Professor David Oppenheim from the University of Haifa in Israel, Professor Brenda Jones Harden from Columbia University in the US and Professor Nim Tottenham also from Columbia University.

About Take Two

Take Two began as an intensive therapeutic service for children in out-of-home care 20 years ago, helping address the developmental trauma and mental health impacts on children after abuse, neglect and family violence.

We have expanded to deliver trauma-informed mental health services for infants, children, young people and families across many other settings.

We are supported by La Trobe University, the University of Melbourne's Centre for Training and Research in Developmental Health (Mindful), and the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Association.