Latest issue: Perspectives in Infant Mental Health

Highlighting Emerging Scholars


Jennifer Champagne, Early Childhood Consultant, Michigan


Relationships Count:  A Professional Learning Series for Early Interventionists


A qualitative study that examines the core components and perceived benefits of reflective consultation for early interventionists.


Reflective consultation is a form of professional development that addresses a relationship-based approach to service delivery. However, there have been few published empirical studies about the construct of group reflective consultation. The purpose of the qualitative study of the Relationships Count series was to examine core components and perceived benefits for early interventionists. The series consisted of monthly group sessions that were facilitated by an infant mental health specialist. The participants included 10 early interventionists from a large Midwestern county. Data collection methods included interviewing early interventionists and observing, recording, and participating in 10 monthly reflective consultation sessions during 2013-2014. Coding, concept mapping, and comparative analysis of data were used to examine what happened during the series as well as to identify and describe perceived benefits for early interventionists.

The findings indicate core components of facilitation and participation contributed to a relationship-based approach to supporting the professional development of early interventionists. Specifically, the findings indicate that case discussion, observation, practice, and experiences of a relationship-based approach through reflective consultation were associated with increasing practitioner competencies when working with children and families, specifically: using gentle inquiry, reflecting on thoughts and feelings, active listening, supporting without problem-solving, and promoting parental competence. Early interventionists identified that participation strengthened feelings of competence and self-confidence in their ability to support children and families.

More information about the Relationships Count series including handouts, resources, and the completed dissertation is available at:


Published 29th Dec, 2016


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