15th June 2017
In support of Infant Mental Health Week #IMHAW17, a guest blog by Dr Stavros Stavrou, Clinical Psychologist and Trainee VIG Supervisor at Haringey Parent Infant Psychology Service, Whittington Health NHS Trust, on the use of Video Interaction Guidance (VIG) to promote infant’s social and emotional development and strengthen parent-infant relationships. He supervised practitioners and oversaw the running of the Through Each Other’s Eyes project.
Through Each Other’s Eyes was a collaboration between the Mental Health Foundation, Whittington Health NHS Trust, Association of Video Interaction Guidance UK (AVIGuk) and Haringey Early Help service. It ran from April 2016 to March 2017 in the London borough of Haringey.
Funded by the Health Education England (HEE) innovation fund, the project had three aims:
- to train front-line practitioners in VIG,
- to deliver VIG to families to promote infants’ social and emotional development and strengthen parent-infant relationships and
- to evaluate the acceptability and feasibility of the intervention – both in terms of exploring how the health visitors and family support workers found delivering VIG and how the families found receiving it.
Video Interaction Guidance (VIG)
Video Interaction Guidance (VIG), as well as other video-feedback interventions, is named in the Health Child Programme: Rapid Review of the Evidence (2015) and the NICE guidelines for Social Emotional Wellbeing: Early Years (2012) as an intervention to promote parental sensitivity and attachment security. These policy documents highlight the unique position health visitors are in to offer this support to parents and infants.
VIG encourages clients to reflect on video recordings of their interactions with the individual with whom they would like their relationship to be better – in this case, parents and their infants. This video can be coached and is often ‘better than usual’. The VIG practitioner selects attuned clips which relate to the client’s goals and shares these with the parent, studying the video carefully together. This is called a Shared Review and helps promote the relationship between the parent and their child by discussing areas that were identified as concerns e.g. a parent wanting to understand their baby’s cues.
Through Each Other’s Eyes Project
Seven practitioners began their VIG training (one clinician from each Health Visiting and Early Help team), and twenty-eight families received VIG over the duration of the project.
Findings from the independent evaluation carried out by the Mental Health Foundation show parents receiving VIG showed improvements in their self-efficacy, sensitivity and bonding with their baby, and reduced stress levels.
The twenty parents who took part in the evaluation were overwhelmingly positive about their experience of VIG and all perceived the programme to have been of benefit to themselves and their families. Managers felt VIG met a current gap in service provision, and a sustainability plan is being developed to ensure that all trainees can complete their VIG training. Despite challenges reported, parents, VIG guiders and managers believed in the benefits of VIG and the continued need for investment from early years teams to offer families this type of support.
Videos of HVs
See the videos of health visitors as they talk about being involved with this very exciting and inspiring project and their experience of using VIG in practice:
- Gwyneth Rutland, HV, Whittington Health NHS Trust
- Kate Leftley, HV & Haringey Infant Feeding Coordinator, Whittington Health NHS Trust
- Nicola Clavin, HV, Whittington Health NHS Trust:
Many thanks to these health visitors for their very kind permission to share their videos, and also for the work they are progressing and difference they are making for children and their families through this project.