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  • © 2021

Therapeutic Cultural Routines to Build Family Relationships

Talk, Touch & Listen While Combing Hair©

  • Discusses how to use hair combing routines to structure Video Interaction Guidance interventions

  • Supports reunification of parents with children after foster care or incarceration

  • Includes reflective practice questions to address historical trauma and racism as impacts children and families of color

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eBook USD 79.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-030-83726-6
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Hardcover Book USD 99.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)

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Table of contents (18 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-xxxv
  2. Reflective Supervision and Practice: Experiences Shared by Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Practitioners

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 73-73
    2. Introduction to Reflective Supervision: Through the Lens of Culture, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

      • Karol A. Wilson, Deborah J. Weatherston, Stefanie Hill
      Pages 75-83
    3. The Tilted Room of Colorism

      • Danielle K. Wright
      Pages 105-113
  3. Tools for Observation, Assessment, and Intervention

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 201-201

About this book

Social workers and Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health (IECMH) helpers need practical, relationship-based clinical tools to support families experiencing stress, separation, and loss. Research reveals key parenting behaviors occur during hair combing interaction (HCI) – lively verbal interaction, sensitive touch, and responsiveness to infant cues. This book explores how the simple routine of combing hair serves as an emotionally powerful, trauma-informed, culturally valid therapeutic tool for use by mental health helpers.

HCI offers a low-cost opportunity for IECMH helpers to engage families and sustain attachment relationships. In this book, case studies illustrate the use of HCI with diverse families of color. Each chapter includes questions for reflective supervision to understand sociocultural factors that may shape behaviors during HCI. Topics included in the text:

  • The Observing Professional and the Parent’s Ethnobiography   
  • Introduction to Reflective Supervision: Through the Lens of Culture, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion    
  • A Case Study in Cross-Racial Practice and Supervision: Reflections in Black and White 
  • Tools to Disrupt Legacies of Colorism: Perceptions, Emotions, and Stories of Childhood Racial Features

Therapeutic Cultural Routines to Build Family Relationships: Talk, Touch & Listen While Combing Hair© is a unique resource for counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists, home visiting nurses, early childhood educators, and family therapists who work with military families or multiracial families with bi-racial children.

This book provides practical insights useful for professionals and parents. The authors share compelling experiences using strength-based and rich cultural approaches guided by reflective practice. It deserves to be widely read and become a classic resource.

                             Robert N. Emde, Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry, University of Colorado School of Medicine


  • therapeutic cultural practices
  • psychology of combing multiracial children's hair
  • culture and parenting
  • parent group curriculum
  • African American parents and families
  • Colorism
  • parent-child attachment
  • mother-daughter relationships
  • counseling different-race clients
  • discrimination and racial disparities
  • healing from historical trauma of slavery
  • healing from racial wounding
  • multi-racial child identity
  • cross-racial adoption
  • counter-transference in different-race therapy
  • social work practice and child welfare
  • acceptance and rejection of children
  • assessment and intervention measures
  • parental self-efficacy
  • empowering parents

Editors and Affiliations

  • School of Social Work, Tulane University, New Orleans, USA

    Marva L. Lewis

  • Alliance for the Advancement of Infant Mental Health, Southgate, USA

    Deborah J. Weatherston

About the editors

Marva L. Lewis earned a PhD in Sociocultural Psychology and Associate Professor at Tulane University School of Social Work in New Orleans, Louisiana. She is a former child protection worker, infant mental health psychotherapist, and children’s counselor at a domestic violence shelter. While completing her graduate degree in Boulder, Colorado she worked with Janet Dean and Rae Sullivan as a psychotherapist on a nurse/therapist outreach team for the Community Infant Project and helped develop the Circulo Infant Outreach program for Latina mothers. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Louisiana State University Department of Psychiatry with Dr. Charles Zeanah and Dr. Joy Osofsky, where she was part of the original Infant Team.  She conducts research on cultural rituals and routines of hair-combing interaction and parent-infant attachment. Her research focuses on the development of strengths-based, culturally valid, community-based interventions to support African American families to address intergenerational messages of acceptance or rejection of children based on colorism. 

Dr. Lewis serves on the ad hoc Board of Director’s group developing the Statement on Disrupting Systemic Racism in Academic Publishing from the Infant Mental Health Journal. Since 2020 she served as chair of the work group, Engage Diversity and Difference in Practice for the steering committee of the Erikson Institute and Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), Curricular Guide for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health and Developmental Neuroscience. In 2011 she was commissioned by the National Zero to Three Safe Baby Court Teams to provide consultation, coaching, and training on issues of bias, historical trauma of slavery, and workforce contributions to racial disparities in the child welfare system. She worked with the national Center for Social Science Policy (CSSP) to develop the Race Equity Assessment Tool for Safe Babies Court Teams. In 2021 she chaired the development of an online introductory resource module and toolkit for leadership training on racism as a form of psychological maltreatment of children.
Deborah J. Weatherston, PhD, IMH-E® began her career as a developmental and clinical specialist in an infant mental health home visiting program through Michigan’s Community Mental Health system. Her commitment to this two-generational, preventive intervention approach to service, working with the parent and infant or young child together, in the intimacy of their own home, led to the co-development of the Graduate Certificate in Infant Mental Health in 1988 at the Merrill-Palmer Institute of Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. She was the Director of that program until 2002 when she became the Executive Director of the Michigan Association for Infant Mental Health (2002-2016), an organization promoting infant mental health training, education, and reflective practice experiences for professionals across disciplines and in multiple service settings. She co-developed and served as the first Executive Director of the Alliance for the Advancement of Infant Mental Health, Inc.®., a nationally and internationally recognized organization whose mission is to promote workforce development through the competency-based Endorsement for Culturally-Sensitive, Relationship-Focused Practice Promoting Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health (2016-2018). She is currently an infant mental health supervisor and consultant in private practice in Michigan.

Dr. Weatherston’s interest in promoting infant mental health is reflected in her service on the Board of Directors for the World Association for Infant Mental Health (WAIMH), where she was the Editor of WAIMH Perspectives in Infant Mental Health from 2009-2019, as a Consulting Editor for the Infant Mental Health Journal, and as a ZERO to THREE graduate fellow.  In addition, she has written extensively about infant mental health principles and practices and, most recently, about reflective supervision as a cornerstone for effective work with infants, very young children, and families.

Bibliographic Information

Buying options

eBook USD 79.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-030-83726-6
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Hardcover Book USD 99.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)