Infant/Child Mental Health, Early Intervention
and Relationship-Based Therapies


CONNIE LILLAS 626 577 9332




The explosion of interest in child development across both research and clinical arenas has dramatically expanded our knowledge and provided exciting advances in assessment and intervention. At the same time, this progress has also brought ever-increasing fragmentation in service delivery systems, theoretical formulations, and even diagnostic nomenclatures. Currently, a number of concerns affecting both research and practice can be directly traced to this fragmentation, including: competing definitions of the meaning of a child’s problem behaviors; assumptions of a singular cause with discipline specific solutions rather than multiple causes with cross-disciplinary solutions; and treatment of the child in isolation from the context of family relationships and other extenuating circumstances. If these concerns are to be adequately addressed, there is a pressing need for an approach that respects and integrates the specialized knowledge from various disciplines, while encompassing various systems of care, to ensure more efficient service delivery.

Infant/Child Mental Health, Early Intervention, & Relationship-Based Therapies: A Neurorelational Framework for Interdisciplinary Practice directly addresses this lack of cohesion among disciplines. Connie Lillas and Janiece Turnbull offer a unifying, interdisciplinary framework based on current neuroscience research into how infants and children develop in the context of relationships and their surroundings. This conceptual framework is organized according to four brain systems, each representing a set of individual and relational functions that acknowledges the unique contributions from each discipline, while also presenting guiding principles that are applicable across disciplines and methods of theory and practice. The authors also offer specific, practical applications of their approach throughout the book to assist in assessment and intervention: each brain system includes clearly defined treatment strategies as well as a case study drawn from and based on the authors’ clinical practice.

The next advance in working with at-risk infants, children, and families calls for true collaboration. Ideally, each infant, child, and caregiver should have the opportunity to benefit from integrated professional knowledge and a stable yet adaptive set of shared goals for treatment, within a setting that appreciates each child or family member as a unique individual within a unique social and environmental context. Infant/Child Mental Health, Early Intervention, & Relationship-Based Therapies offers an innovative and relevant framework for achieving that goal.

“This is a timely book and offers us all a chance to do better work for children and families.”

—T. Berry Brazelton, M. D.
Professor of Pediatrics, Emeritus Harvard Medical School
Founder, Brazelton Touchpoints Center

“I found the Lillas and Turnbull chapters to be a refreshing new approach to collaborative service delivery. The concept of a Neurorelational Framework with different brain systems makes sense, I believe, to all practitioners…The explanation of the four brain systems was very relevant to my current practice as a school psychologist, LEP, and educational therapist and it puts a whole new light on understanding and putting together other specialist’s roles in assessment and intervention for the child. It brings the part-to-whole model into perspective.”

—Sharri Hogan, MA, LEP
Licensed Educational Psychologist
Educational Therapist

“This book is visionary! The authors have brought a depth of understanding to child mental health that is informed by their creativity, brilliance, and unwillingness to be confined to the views of any one discipline. Their work elaborates a new analytic model capable of integrating data critical to diagnosis and treatment as never before. The book offers exciting opportunities for meaningful collaboration in this complex field.”

—Sara Latz, JD, M.D., Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, Clinical Faculty, David Geffen School of Medicine, Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, Child/Adolescent Division, The Semel Institute of Neuroscience and Human Behavior, UCLA

“What a delight! Drs. Connie Lillas and Janiece Turnbull have spanned the chasms in early childhood professional activities between neurodevelopment, relational contexts and clinical practice to describe a new and visionary model of comprehensive interventions for challenged infants, young children and their parents.”

—David W. Willis, M.D., FAAP, Behavioral-Developmental Pediatrics, Medical Director Northwest Early Childhood Institute, Portland, Oregon