Graduate Certificate in Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health

The Graduate Certificate in Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health (ICMH), presented through the Center for Autism and Early Childhood Mental Health and the College of Education and Human Services, offers professionals from a wide range of disciplines, including psychology, counseling, social work, education, pediatrics, nursing, and other allied fields, the opportunity to study the interdisciplinary field of infant and early childhood mental health.

Infant and early childhood mental health is concerned with the optimal physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development of the young child (birth through 8 years old) within the context of his/her family. The field addresses the capacity of infants and children to self-regulate, experience the full range of human emotions, engage in loving, reciprocal relationships, represent the world in thought and language, engage in shared emotional thinking and relatedness, become intimate and care for others interdependently, and engage in productive activities.  It also investigates and honors the relationships that are considered crucial to the child’s neurological, physical, emotional, and social development and the foundation for all later developmental progress.

The certificate program encourages the formation of candidates to become respectful partners in promoting infant and early childhood mental health and the infant/child-parent relationship. Candidates learn how to engage in meaningful interactions, understand individual differences in infants, children and families and learn to develop applications for use for children and families within the scope of their specific professional licensure and practice.  The curriculum emphasizes three critical domains:

  • The integration of principles and practices of infant and early childhood mental health into the nature of all educational, service, policy and advocacy programs
  • The implications and applications of “relationship-based” intervention
  • The critical importance on “reflective practices” in all educational and service programs

Candidates are provided the opportunity to learn about the science of infancy and early childhood development, investigate discipline-relevant assessment and intervention strategies, understand about the critical importance of integrating mental health principles, relationship-based strategies and reflective practices into service delivery systems with infants, children and families, and acquire the skills required to influence policies that impact the mental health of children.   Candidates understand and apply knowledge from the neurosciences, and research about the core role that emotions and socio-emotional development play in brain development and the capacities for self-regulation, social relationships, intellectual development, language and shared human development. Candidates also learn the skills required to become “change agents” to influence policies that impact the mental health of children and families. 

Course progression is as follows:

  • ICMH 501: Historical and Theoretical Perspectives in Infant and Child Mental Health
  • ICMH 502: Wonder, Hypothesis, and Meaning in Assessment and Research in Infant and Child Mental Health
  • ICMH 603: Risk and Resiliency in Special Populations in Infant and Child Mental Health
  • ICMH 604: Practicum: Implications and Applications in Infant, Child and Family Interventions
  • FCST 542: Dynamics of Family Interaction (to be taken at any time during certificate program)

Admission Information:

Applicants must submit an application online through The Graduate School at www.montclair.edu/graduate. Other materials required include the application fee, essay and transcripts.

For more information, please contact:

Director: Gerry Costa, Ph.D.
Associate Director: Kaitlin Mulcahy, LPC
973-655-6685
caecmh@montclair.edu