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:
Tuesday, March 30, 2021 at 09:00 AM until 01:00 PM
Day 2:
Thursday, April 22, 2021 at 09:00 AM until 01:00 PM
Location and Delivery Method
Delivery Method
Video Conferencing
Cost Range

Host And Instructor

Jessica Richards, MS, MSW, LCSW
Jessica Richards, MS, MSW, LCSW, Infant-Family and Early Childhood Mental Health Specialist and Reflective Practice Facilitator II


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.

Instructor Bio:

Jessica Richards, MS, MSW, LCSW, Infant-Family and Early Childhood Mental Health Specialist and Reflective Practice Facilitator II completed a specialized Dual-Masters program in Child Development and Clinical Social Work while studying at the Erikson Institute and Loyola University in Chicago, Illinois. At Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago, she worked with severely emotionally distressed children on the Inpatient Psychiatric Unit. Jessica has provided dyadic therapy services to children birth to five in South Central Los Angeles, California, and supervised Early Intervention therapists. She has been a student and mentor of the NeuroRelational Framework Institute since 2009. Jessica was the lead therapist on the Fostering Family Partnerships court team pilot program at the Los Angeles Children's Court. She was part of the first cohort trained in Los Angeles in trauma-informed Child Parent Psychotherapy, and she specializes in the treatment of selective mutism. In her private practice, she consults and works with families using integrated, transdisciplinary approaches. Jessica's energy and passion are evident as a trainer, therapist and advocate for children and families.


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 Jessica Richards at