My Early Relational Trauma Informed Learning

The MERTIL program offers professional training in identifying and responding to early relational and attachment trauma within parent–child dyads and families. The program was created by infant trauma specialists, Professors Jennifer McIntosh AM and Louise Newman AM, along with a team of local and international experts.

The course examines the impact of trauma on the early parent-child relationship, with a focus on complexities stemming from parent mental illness, grief, family violence, substance abuse, and related experiences. Based on current attachment theory, neurodevelopmental science and trauma-informed practice, MERTIL teaches options for effective immediate response by early childhood and family practitioners, in particular early support for repair through every engagement, resonance with both parent and infant, strengths-based conversations and well-targeted practical responses.

The MERTIL project is based at The Bouverie Centre, La Trobe University and operates in partnership with Deakin University.


Self-paced online, available 24/7

Access Period

3 months


12 CPD hours


$429 (GST included)


Prof. Jenn McIntosh
Prof. Louise Newman

Course Modules

  • Module 1: Development in a Relational Context: Infant trauma: A relational, developmental and humanising framework
  • Module 2: The Significance of Attachment Relationships: Attachment development and the transmission of caregiving trauma
  • Modules 3, 4 and 5: Understanding and recognising trauma in parents, infants, toddlers and pre-schoolers
  • Module 6: Conversation: Creating supportive trauma-informed conversations for a shared recognition of risk
  • Modules 7 and 8: Principles of Trauma Interventions: Responding to trauma – brief and enhanced interventions

What will you Learn?

This course offers you opportunities to learn how to:

  • Detect earliest signs of relational trauma
  • Build trauma-informed conversations with parents of very young children
  • More confidently respond to complex sequelae for parents, infants and young children of both intergenerational trauma and current stress

Relevant Audience

Family and early childhood practitioners working with the parents of young children including nurses, midwives and allied health practitioners; psychologists, psychiatrists, and allied infant mental health practitioners; child protection workers.

If you’ve ever asked yourself any of these or similar questions, then this course is for you:

  • How can I help these parents form stronger relationships with their baby?
  • What would be helpful for these parents to hear about their baby’s development right now?
  • When should I think about more formal intervention? What would make these parents really ‘see’ this baby?
  • How can I explain the importance of being present for the baby?

Additional Information

  • Free (with MERTIL purchase) perpetual access to Mini MERTIL, our 2-hour online MERTIL refresher/introduction
  • Free (with MERTIL purchase) perpetual access to the Resource Library, containing a rich collection of podcasts with trauma experts, articles, factsheets, pre-recorded case consultations, webinars, weblinks and more
  • You can access the peer reviewed paper regarding this program and its evaluation results here: Clancy, E. M., McIntosh, J., Booth, A. T., Sheen, J., Johnson, M., Gibson, T., Bennett, R. N., & Newman, L. (2020). Training maternal and child health nurses in early relational trauma: An evaluation of the MERTIL workforce training. Nurse Education Today, 89, 104390.

Find out more at or email MERTIL on