Reflective Supervision Symposium

The Symposium's purpose is to deepen the exploration of the practice of reflective supervision/consultation.  

The Reflective Supervision Symposium is a collaborative event that is co-hosted by the Alliance and a different Alliance IMH association annually.  The First Annual Symposium was co-hosted with the Michigan Association for Infant Mental Health at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI in August 2016.  Over 100 infant and early childhood-family professionals gathered together to strengthen their understanding of reflective supervision/consultation (RS/C). 

The Second Annual Reflective Supervision Symposium took place at the University of Minnesota's Center for Early Education and Development in August 2017 and was co-hosted with the Minnesota Association for Children's Mental Health - Infant and Early Childhood.  One hundred and thirty professionals participated in this event!

The Third Annual Reflective Supervision Symposium took place at the School of Mines in Golden, Colorado in August 2018 and will be co-hosted with the Colorado Association for Infant Mental Health. Over 170 professionals participated in this event!

The Fourth Annual Reflective Supervision Symposium will take place in Pennsylvania in Summer 2019 and will be co-hosted with the Pennsylvania Association for Infant Mental health.

What is Reflective Supervision/Consultation?

The Alliance is committed to the understanding and use of RS/C, which is distinct due to the shared exploration of the parallel process. That is, attention to all of the relationships is important, including the ones between practitioner and supervisor, be-tween practitioner and parent, and between parent and infant/toddler. It is critical to understand how each of these relationships affects the others. Of additional importance, reflective supervision/consultation relates to professional and personal development within one’s discipline by attending to the emotional content of the work and how reactions to the content affect the work. Finally, there is often greater emphasis on the supervisor/consultant’s ability to listen and wait, allowing the supervisee to discover solutions, concepts and perceptions on his/her own without interruption from the supervisor/consultant.

The primary objectives of RS/C include the following:

  • Form a trusting relationship between supervisor and practitioner

  • Establish consistent and predictable meetings and times

  • Ask questions that encourage details about the infant, parent and emerging relationship

  • Remain emotionally present

  • Teach/guide


  • Nurture/support

  • Apply the integration of emotion and reason

  • Foster the reflective process to be internalized by the supervisee

  • Explore the parallel process and to allow time for personal reflection

  • Attend to how reactions to the content affect the process