The PhD in Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health and Development (IECD) is a degree serving multiple disciplines as they apply their work using the lens of infant mental health (IMH) and development. The program was initiated by Stanley Greenspan, MD and Serena Weider, PhD, to promote research around relationships, individual differences, and development (DIR®) in working with infants, children, and their families. The program considers multiple relationship-based theories and practices and has expanded to partner with various professional organizations that support both IMH and developmental competencies.
With a core emphasis in IMH, the underpinnings of the program currently include an integrative relationship-based model focused on development and individual-differences. Through Fielding’s progressive doctoral program, professionals broaden their knowledge, and study multiple factors affecting an infant’s and family’s well-being, to include culture, policy, and advocacy as well as neurodevelopmental, medical, biological, sensorimotor, language, and family systems variables. Course work fosters evidence-based perspectives of healthy relationships in infancy, early childhood, and families across disciplines as well as treatment models.
The program is focused on applied research in IMH and development, including how intervention programs, policies, and issues, such as culture and social relationships, influence development and families. The program is designed for professionals already working in related fields including psychology, occupational therapy, social work, counseling, mental health, education, early intervention, speech language pathology, nursing, physicians, physical therapy, and others. Research initiatives address a wide range of developmental challenges and disorders, to include autism spectrum, sensory integration, ADHD, and mood disorders.
Graduates from this research-focused PhD program will be prepared for several careers in research, clinical, and educational settings.