Practitioners, watch the MERTIL for Practitioners Webinar Recording here

MERTIL: Professional training to identify and 
respond to early relational & attachment trauma

Founded on attachment theory, MERTIL is a self-paced, online training program – available worldwide – created by infant trauma specialists, Professor Jennifer McIntosh, and Professor Louise Newman, and a team of local and international trauma experts.

Emanating from the Bowlby/Ainsworth paradigm, MERTIL (My Early Relational Trauma Informed Learning) offers self-paced, online training on attachment theory & styles and recognition of early trauma in the parent-child relationship. This includes trauma stemming from parent mental illness, grief, family violence, substance abuse, and related experiences. Moreover, MERTIL teaches options for effective immediate response by frontline services.

MERTIL has 8 online modules (12 hours) that

  • Build capacity for earliest detection of relational trauma
  • Extend skills and enhance confidence in response to early relational trauma
  • Enhance prevention of complex sequelae for parents, infants and young children.

Course outline

MERTIL operates as an online portal; learning is self-paced, allowing for reflection and pauses as required. The course includes 8 learning chapters, totalling approximately 12 hours of learning. The chapters are presented in three themes as outlined below:

Theme 1: Development in a relational context

1.       Infant trauma: a relational, developmental and humanising framework
  • The relational, developmental context as the organising frame for understanding and responding to all forms of trauma in early childhood; Understanding the developmental implications of trauma during the critical infant period of development.
2.     Attachment development and the transmission of caregiving trauma
  • A tour of attachment development and what it means for early development; creating a context for observing attachment in your consultations; recognition of early signs of disorganising caregiving and disorganised attachment.

Theme 2: Signs and symptoms of early relational trauma

3.      Recognising caregiver trauma
  • Observational skills; critical history taking; impact of trauma on the health and wellbeing of adults and parenting; core mental health implications of trauma on parents and parenting capacity; behavioural indices; tools for recognising trauma responses in the adult.
4.       Recognising neonate and infant trauma
  • Impacts of trauma for immobile and mobile infants; neurologically, biologically, psychologically and socially. Behavioural indices, screening tools and skills for recognising trauma exposures and responses.
5.       Recognising pre-school trauma
  • The impacts of trauma for pre-schoolers; neurologically, biologically, psychologically and socially. Screening indices, tools and skills for recognising trauma exposures and responses.

Theme 3: Conversations and interventions

6.       Creating supportive conversations for a shared recognition of risk
  • Trauma informed observation and screening principles; strengths based approaches to risk screening conversations; tips for difficult conversations, engaging the parent in “knowing together”; the infant as contributor to risk recognition.
7.      First response education and brief relational interventions
  • Brief encounters that make a difference. In-person, in-the-moment support to parents and children who have experienced trauma; supporting parenting states of mind; strategies to assist parenting of children who have experienced trauma; working on “The Line”: trauma informed telephone advice and support; enhancing your referral network
8.       Enhanced interventions
  • Recognition of and response to trauma in the context of multiple risk factors; skills for provision of higher level support for in-home, group and community settings; enhancing trauma informed linkages with other support systems

The online modules provide a strong grounding in early relational trauma, including addressing the needs of special population groups (e.g. drug and alcohol, family violence, refugee/asylum seekers, culturally diverse populations, those experiencing various forms of mental illness and neuro-developmental conditions).

In Addition:

Each chapter contains a post-learning quiz and evaluation.

The online library also contains a variety of resources, including:

  • Fact sheets, articles and videos
  • Links, networks, associations and conferences
  • Podcasts with national and international experts
  • Recorded Q&A webinars and case consultations

CPD certificates of completion are available.

Learning time: 12 hours

Language: English

Suitable for:
Social Workers
Family Support Workers
Child Protection Workers
Infant Mental Health Workers
General Practitioners

MERTIL: Online training in recognition of and response to early relational trauma

Register for the 8 hr full MERTIL course today and also receive*:

› Free access to Mini MERTIL and
› Free access to our extensive resource library

All for only


+ GST ($429 incl. GST)

Multiple licences for a group can be purchased at the same time. If you have a number of staff members who wish to complete the course you can click ‘Group Purchase’ below and add multiple users (up to 20. For >20 please contact us for additional discounts). Once the purchase is complete you will be able to add the individual users to the group, giving them individual account access to the MERTIL online learning course.

*Further discounted prices apply for workforce groups. Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander peoples (individuals, practitioners & organisations) receive a 25% discount. (Conditions apply)

MERTIL access is 3 months; Mini MERTIL and Library access is 12 months

Why you should do MERTIL

Suitable for…

Family and Child Health Nurses
Home visitors
Social Workers
Family Support Workers
Child Protection Workers
Infant Mental Health Workers
General Practitioners
Allied Professions

If you’ve ever asked yourself…

How can I help these parents form stronger relationships with their baby?
What would be most helpful for these parents to hear about their baby’s development right now?
What really easy strategies would help these parents connect with their baby?
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?

Mini MERTIL: An Introduction to
Early Relational Trauma

Mini MERTIL offers those working in frontline services the perfect introduction to identifying early relational trauma in infants, as well as being a refresher course for those who have completed the full MERTIL Course.

Further Information

For further information on the course and group discounts, get in touch with the MERTIL team via our online contact form