Introduction to the NeuroRelational Framework (NRF): Three Steps to Resilience

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Training Details

Event Dates and Timeframe
This course will be offered by this instructor on both of these dates; however, you need only select one of these days for course completion.
Day 1:
Wednesday, April 21, 2021 at 01:00 PM until 05:00 PM
Day 2:
Wednesday, May 19, 2021 at 01:00 PM until 05:00 PM
Location and Delivery Method
Delivery Method
Video Conferencing
Cost Range

Host And Instructor

Christy McMurren, LCSW, IMH Specialist IMH-E®
Christy McMurren, LCSW, IMH Specialist IMH-E®


This training contributes to the following certifications:
Alaska Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Endorsement (AK-AIMH)
  • Theoretical Foundations - Infant/very young child development & behavior
  • Theoretical Foundations - Infant/young child- & family-centered practice
  • Theoretical Foundations - Family relationships & dynamics
  • Direct Service Skills - Observation & listening

Training Overview Description

This 4-hour course introduces you to the NeuroRelational Framework's (NRF) three clinical steps that provide an added value to any early intervention or infant mental health treatment that a practitioner already uses.

The metaphor of a tree is used to represent the function and development of the brain and the NRF's three clinical steps. The roots of the tree represent the nervous system and a 24-hour sleep-wake cycle. Next, the relational aspects are organized around seven developmental qualities of engagement that are represented by the rings of a tree trunk. The branches of the tree symbolize brain architecture and hold the capacity for collaborative and customized care. The goal is grounded roots, a thick and sturdy trunk and a dense canopy of integrated branches.

The training includes hands-on application and practice with NRF tools with ample video clips and discussion via video conferencing. These practical tools are critical in working with birth to five-year-olds and their families while also spanning the life cycle.

Learning Objectives:

  1. To identify the physiological markers for the three stress responses in photos, video clips and case examples that underlie challenging behavior, trauma and individual differences.
  2. To apply the social engagement tool (qualities of engagement) to video vignettes and describe qualities reflecting robust relational engagement, areas of relational challenge and potential interventions to support engagement.
  3. To utilize the safety-challenge-threat paradigm to explain "can't vs. won't" and prioritize treatment interventions accordingly.

About Your Instructor:

Christy McMurren, LCSW, IMH Specialist IMH-E® has over 35 years of experience in social work with primary concentration in the Child/Family arena. She provided social work services in the Maternity Center at Providence Alaska Medical Center, mainly in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit. For the past 14 years, her work has concentrated on providing early intervention for infants/toddlers at Programs for Infants and Children (PIC). It was there that her interest in Infant Mental Health was piqued. She obtained a graduate certificate in Infant-Parent Mental Health from the University of Massachusetts, Boston in 2012, and also earned an IMH Specialist endorsement from Alaska Association for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health (AK-AIMH) in that year. Her emphasis in clinical practice has been with infants/toddlers and their families in the child welfare system. She has worked with a transdisciplinary team (including OT, PT, SLP and early childhood Special Educators) to bring trauma-informed care to early intervention. Christy has provided Reflective Supervision/Consultation for a wide variety of professionals in the early childhood field. She has been a student of the NeuroRelational Framework Institute and mentored by Connie Lillas, NRF co-developer, since 2014. Christy's continued interest is in fostering a holistic, relationship-based approach to assessment and treatment of developmental delays in infants and toddlers.


Competencies® & Endorsement for Culturally Sensitive, Relationship-Focused Practice Promoting Infant Mental Health®. This training will cover several competencies required for Endorsement®. AK-AIMH administers the Endorsement® to recognize the attainment of professional competencies in working with children 0-3. For more information about the Endorsement®, please visit our website.

Competencies that match this particular offering include:

Direct Service Skills

  • Observation and listening

Theoretical Foundations

  • Infant/very young child development and behavior
  • Infant/very young child family-centered practice
  • Family relationships and dynamics

This 4-hour course is highly recommended as a prerequisite to the future NRF courses.

Event-specific Details

The Alaska Association of Infant & Early Childhood Mental Health (AK-AIMH) has listed this training for the benefit of Alaska's professionals as part of our initiative, Project Compass: Leading the Way to Infant & Early Childhood Mental Health Workforce Development. Project Compass is funded by AK-AIMH members and donors, the Alaska Children's Trust, and the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority.

Registration Information

Please contact the instructor directly to register for this course by emailing Christy McMurren at: