‘Nappy-Haired’ Ghosts in the Nursery: Disrupting Colorism, The Intergenerational Legacy of Slavery Thorough the Cultural Routine of Combing Hair

Credit Option
Program Type

Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health practitioners, Day Care Center educators committed to diversity, equity and inclusion have few culturally responsive tools for services to young children and families of color.

Few interventions address one legacy historical trauma, the practice of colorism — accepting and rejecting children based on their skin tone and hair type. Family routines, celebrations and rituals serve as powerful organizers of family life and stability for young children during times of stress. They protect mental health and strengthen family identity. This interactive workshop provides an overview of relationship-based tools centered on hair combing interaction between a caregiver and child for early childhood providers, and researchers. Participants will be introduced to community-based interventions, assessment and intervention tools including the manualized parent group, Talk, Touch& Listen While Combing Hair. The workshop concludes with an overview of guidelines for reflective practice through a racialized lens.

Learning Objectives

  1. Understand the historical oppression and violence as shared trauma in the lives of Black, Brown, and Indigenous families of color.
  2. Recognize the impact of intergenerational messages of colorism as a form of bias that psychologically impacts infants and toddlers.
  3. Identify cultural practices of rituals and routines as opportunities for healing in oppressed families and communities.
  4. Understand the neuroprotective role of the everyday routine of hair combing interaction to form healthy parent-infant attachment.

Workshop Information


September 19, 2022


4:30 pm-7:30 p.m. EST


Online, live via Zoom


3 CEUs available for New York State Psychologists, Social Workers LMFT and LMHC


$75 – General Admission
$50 – Derner Alum, Adelphi faculty/clinical supervisor, Non-Adelphi psychoanalytic Candidate/student
$25 – Derner student/Postgraduate candidate

Registration will close 48 hours prior to the start of the event.


Marva L. Lewis, PhD, IMH-E®Marva L. Lewis, PhD, IMH-E®

Marva L. Lewis, PhD, IMH-E® Infant Mental Health Mentor, earned a doctorate in Sociocultural Psychology. She is an Associate Professor at Tulane University School of Social Work. For the past twenty years, she conducted grant funded research on the rituals and routines of hair-combing interaction and parent-infant attachment. She works as a national consultant and trainer with the Zero to Three Safe Baby Court Teams on issues of implicit bias, historical trauma of slavery, and workforce contributions to racial disparities in the child welfare system. She serves on the ad hoc Board of Director’s group developing the Statement on Disrupting Systemic Racism in Academic Publishing for the Infant Mental Health Journal. Since 2020 she has served as chair of the work group, Engage Diversity and Difference in Practice for the steering committee of the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), Curricular Guide for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health and Developmental Neuroscience. Her book (2021) Therapeutic cultural routines to build family relationships. Talk, touch, and listen while combing hair she presents strengths-based, culturally valid, community-based interventions for families; and relationship-based, psychosocial measures and tools for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health service providers.

Credentialing Information

Adelphi University is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Adelphi University maintains responsibility for this program and its content. Adelphi University, Derner School of Psychology, is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Psychology as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed psychologists #PSY-0024 and by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #SW-0607 and by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed mental health counselors #MHC-0185 and by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed marriage and family therapists #MFT-0083.

Disclaimer Statement

This continuing education seminar, seminar instructor/s, and the Postgraduate Programs as the seminar’s sponsor, receive no commercial support for the content of instruction (e.g., research grants funding research findings etc.), or benefit for endorsement of products (e.g., books, training, drugs, etc.) that are known to present a conflict of interest.

Cancellation Policy

Full refunds are issued for cancellations made up to 7 working days before the event. Cancellations of less than 7 days for any reason, or no-shows are not refunded. Credit towards a future event/workshop are issued for cancellations less than 7 days and up to 24 hours before the event. No credit is issued for cancellations less than 24 hours before the events or no-shows.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Adelphi University require that all events be accessible. To request a reasonable accommodation, please contact the event host identified on the event webpage; please allow for a reasonable time frame. The event host, when necessary, will collaborate with the Student Access Office.

Program Contacts

Phone Number
More Info
Hy Weinberg Center, 220
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