Video Interaction GuidanceTM
is an intervention through which a practitioner aims to enhance communication within relationships . It works by engaging clients actively in a process of change towards realizing their own hopes for a better future in their relationships with others who are important to them. Guiders are themselves guided by the values and beliefs around respect and empowerment. These include a belief that people in troubled situations do want to change, a respect for what clients are managing to achieve in their current difficulties, and a conviction that the power and responsibility for change resides within clients and their situations. It is most typically used for interactions between children of any age and adults, either parents or professionals, although it can also be used within pairs (or even groups) of adults. When it is used by professionals to reflect on their own communication with service users it is usually referred to as Video Enhanced Reflective Practice (VERP). In both versions, its aim is to give individuals a chance to reflect on their interactions, drawing attention to elements that are successful, and supporting clients to make changes where desired.
Video interaction guidance is used in more than 15 countries and by at least 4000 practitioners in helping professions (social work, education and health) and in business management. There are many links between projects across Europe and North and Central America. It was brought to the UK by a small group of Educational Psychologists working in Tayside, Scotland in the 1990's. You can listen to one of these pioneers, Hilary Kennedy, on Soundcloud, reflecting on the origins and success of Video Interaction Guidance in developing positive relational patterns.
HOW VIG IS DELIVERED
Video interaction guidance is an intervention where the client is guided to reflect on video clips of their own successful interactions . The process begins by helping the family or professional to negotiate their own goals. Asking them what it is they want to change helps to ensure that they are engaged in the process. Adult-child interactions are then filmed and edited, to produce a short film that focuses on the positive.
In the video review sessions that follow, the family and professional reviews the micro-analysis of successful moments, particularly those when the adult has responded in an attuned way to the child’s action or initiative using a combination of non-verbal and verbal responses. They reflect collaboratively on what they are doing that is contributing towards the achievement of their goals, celebrate success and then make further goals for change. These reflections move very quickly from analysis of the behaviour to the exploration of feelings, thoughts, wishes and intentions.
Guiders are supervised in their own practice through the analysis of themselves in filmed interaction. Film is gathered of shared review with clients and these are used in supervision, focusing and building on micro-moments of attuned interaction, particularly those where they activate the client to make initiatives, then receive the client fully and respond with ideas that can be understood and used to promote positive change.
The approach takes the view that change can be achieved more effectively in the context of a ‘coaching’ relationship than a didactic ‘teaching’ relationship, because it is collaborative rather than prescriptive, empowering rather than de-skilling. It conveys respect for strengths and potential, rather than drawing attention to problems or weaknesses. Throughout filming and review sessions, clients are supported to become more sensitive to children’s communicative attempts and to develop greater awareness of how they can respond in an attuned way. In the process of standing back and looking at themselves on screen, parents are able to analyse what they were doing when things were going ’better than usual’. In this way they are empowered to make an informed decision about how they would like to improve situations that are more problematic.
The use of the video is also of central importance both as a focus for client and guider to construct new possibilities and as a trigger for revealing intuitive feelings which can be the key to lasting change. It seems that the video helps troubled families uncover the possibility of an alternative story about themselves. In this way they can grow in an organic way into their new way of being without having to consciously remember and put in place new skills. There is a deeper level of healing that can take place when relationships are restored, allowing further positive changes to occur naturally .
Learning to practise video interaction guidance is not a simple skills-based training that can be achieved by simply following a manual. The training process for professionals provides an in-depth focus on the developing relationship between a practitioner and a client. The supervision sessions using film of the shared reviews gives space for self-reflection, reflection with a supervisor, plans for improvement and identifying evidence of change on video. This cyclical process has all the elements of effective adult learning. Supervisors see their trainees becoming more animated and effective with their clients as they progress through the training.
Many practitioners will say that working with video interaction guidance has fundamentally changed their interactions with clients, colleagues and with their friends and loved ones. This may explain the very high level of enthusiasm and dedication to this way of working by those involved and the very positive feedback from parents’ experiences of the review of the video. Turning points for parents and professionals seem to be around moments of joy which can be observed on the video and celebrated by both the professionals and the families and then again with the supervisor.