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This Intervention directly involves the infant in therapy. For half the session the parent is asked to get down on the floor with his/her infant, to observe the activities that their infant introduces, and to interact only when the infant indicates they want the parent to interact. During the second half of the session the parent is asked to talk about what they have observed about their infant’s activity and then their infant and their own experiences during the session.
The primary idea is to place the parent in the position of becoming more knowing about their infant, eliciting their own unique way of relating and developing self reliance and confidence in their capacity to resolve difficulties in the relationship with their infant. The infant, too, can use play and activity to master difficulties in relation to the parent. Although some parents talk about their early relationships with their own parents, this is not necessary for the therapy to be effective.
Adapted from the research summary March, 1999; Watch, Wait, and Wonder – Testing the Effectiveness of a New Approach to Mother-Infant Intervention.
This empirically tested approach is now applied to a range of infants and young children with relational, behavioural, regulatory and developmental difficulties.
It is recommended for clinicians who are working with infants, pre-schoolers and their families and who preferably [but not necessarily] have psychotherapy experience.
Dr Denise Guy is a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist with specialty expertise in Infant Mental Health. She was involved with the Pilot Study of WWW Intervention [1986-7] and has continued clinical use of the intervention since then. She is currently supervising its use in New Zealand and Australia and coordinates training in Australasia.
Seonaigh Stevens is a Child Psychotherapist. She has worked in Infant and Child Mental Health for many years. She is currently employed as a Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist at Te Whare Marie, the Specialist Maori Mental Health Regional CAMHS for Capital and Coast District Health Board, Wellington. Her clinical work includes using the WWW-Intervention with infants and older children and their families.
GOALS OF THE TRAINING
• To provide participants with a basic theoretical and technical foundation in the Watch, Wait, and Wonder® Intervention.
• Discuss how to create the therapeutic space for the WWW Intervention
• To view film of WWW Intervention case work and with the training group be introduced to the process of observing, reflecting on the dyad’s experience and their own experience.
• Discuss how to explore the particular difficulties in the process of following the infant/child’s and dyad’s lead.
• To address supervision needs for those participants who wish to incorporate the WWW Intervention into their practice fulfilling the recommended standards for independent practice [Lojkasek, Cohen and Muir; 1999].