Infant Mental Health: Embodied Practice In The Space Of Emergent Development



February 1, 2022, 1 – 4:15 p.m. ET
Instructor: Ken Kessel, LCSW
Live interactive webinar
Level: Intermediate
CEs: 3 CEs are available for $10 fee
Review CE accreditation and approvals for this course.

“An infant grows into the world as the world grows into the infant.” What could be more intersectional?  This workshop will explore the resonant space of the infant, the world and the adult and how they emerge together.  It will provide an overview of infant mental health, speaking on three sets of competencies:

  • Familiarity with emergent development
  • Familiarity with how emergent development relates to family, culture and environment 
  • How the clinician navigates these spaces effectively 

Participants will discuss the concepts of resonance (the flow of the interaction between the child and the caretaker and environment) and the more knowledgeable other (which is understood as the desirable characteristics of the caretakers) that aids in a child’s emergence. 

Participants will explore the dimensions of emergent development and the elements that shape, support and inhibit this. What are the factors of normative development, and how do they appear in any given culture? What are the essential supportive characteristics of the more knowledgeable other? As providers, how do we live, breathe, see and respond in this shared space?

Finally, participants will look at the rich world of play and what it teaches us. Using that as a platform, participants will explore what personal qualities make clinicians a strong partner for the child in their emergent development, as well as an effective support for families and schools.  This workshop will provide an opportunity for clinicians to discover the world of preverbal development and what children require to grow.

Target Audience: 

Social workers and other social service providers

Course Delivery Method, Format and Instructor Interaction :

Live interactive webinar with discussion. Instructor will use small group exercises, chat and Q and A. Login information will be emailed immediately after registration to the email address entered during registration. Attendees are visible to one another in Zoom Meeting and are encouraged to be active participants with their camera and/or microphone in order take part in discussion. 

System Requirements:

Attendees will need access to a computer with working camera and microphone. All courses are offered using Zoom conferencing software. 

Registration Fees and Deadlines:

Early registration by December 13, 2021: $65
Regular registration by January 31, 2022: $75

CEs: 3 CEs are available for $10 fee 

Learning Objectives:

  1. Identify dimensions of preverbal development and factors that support or inhibit it
  2. Describe the qualities of the more knowledgeable other
  3. Explain how to cultivate qualities of the more knowledgeable other in oneself and clients
  4. Demonstrate how to voice observations and interventions in language of experience that provides meaningful support to families, teachers, children or fellow practitioners


1- 2:55 p.m. ET

  • Introduction/Workshop Outline/Location Of Self
  • Centering And Reflecting
  • Connecting to Theory
  • Emergent Development

2:55 - 3:05 p.m. ET

  • Break

3:05 - 4:15 p.m. ET

  • Play Time
  • Embodying The Characteristics of The More Knowledgeable Other 
  • Wrap up and questions

About the Instructor:

Ken Kessel specializes in infant mental health and works as a mental health consultant in federal Head Start preschools in the Bronx. He graduated from NYU School of Social Work in 1983. He has worked as a clinician in therapeutic preschools, inpatient and outpatient mental health, medical settings, international youth programs and foster care and has worked with clients with substance abuse, developmental disabilities, and in geriatric settings. Kessel has taught graduate courses at NYU and presented at multiple conferences including NASW and NY Zero to Three as well as in  Westchester, NY, and Kisumu and Masoga Village, Kenya. His scope of practice includes direct service, consultation, mentoring, training and supervision. He and his wife Margaret Ngunang are involved in village development projects in Cameroon and have a consultation and training practice there.

Completion Requirements for Live Interactive Webinars

Live, interactive webinars are synchronous, virtual courses held in Zoom Meeting. To receive a CE certificate, you must attend the entirety of the webinar. Partial credit will not be awarded to those who attend only a portion of the training. Participant attendance is tracked through Zoom. To earn CE credit, participants must also complete an evaluation. A link to the online evaluation will be emailed to participants within 24 hours of the conclusion of the course. It is attendee’s responsibility to contact their state licensing board/certification boards to determine eligibility to meet continuing education requirements. Receiving CEs is contingent on attendance and completion of the evaluation.

How Will a CE Certificate Be Awarded?

Upon completing the webinar evaluation, participants will be emailed their online certificate​ within 30 days of webinar completion​. ​Participants should save and/or print ​the certificate upon receipt for ​their records.

Continuing Education Credits and Approvals

Continuing Education (CE) credits offered vary by course. This course only offers the CE credits listed below.  It is the attendees' responsibility to contact their licensing board to determine eligibility to meet continuing education requirements.

Social Work
  • Smith College School for Social Work, #1755, is approved to offer social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Organizations, not individual courses, are approved as ACE providers. State and provincial regulatory boards have the final authority to determine whether an individual course may be accepted for continuing education credit. Smith College School for Social Work maintains responsibility for this course. ACE provider approval period: 11/19/2021-11/19/2024. Social workers completing this course receive 3 continuing education credits.

  • Smith College School for Social Work is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education and is therefore authorized to provide CEs as a postsecondary institution accredited by CSWE in many states. Courses offered through the School’s Program of Professional Education are awarded continuing education credits in accordance with Continuing Education Regulation 258, CMR, 31.00 in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. 
  • Smith College School for Social Work is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #SW-0169.


  • Co-sponsored training events for psychology CE credit with Smith College School for Social Work. Amego Prepare​ is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Amego Prepare maintains responsibility for this program and its content. Due to changes in continuing education requirements for NY licensed psychologists, APA CE Sponsor credits may not be accepted for re-licensure at this time. Please check the NY Psychology Board regulations for CE requirements currently in effect.
Counselors (LMHC/LPC)


  • Smith College School for Social Work has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 7110. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. Smith College School for Social Work is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.

SSW Professional Education Policies

Further information on policies and CE accreditation can be found here.

Contact SSW Professional Education


Lilly Hall
23 West Street,
Northampton, MA 01060 | 413-585-7970

Director of Professional Education

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P: 413-585-4198