Video interaction guidance

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Video interaction guidance (VIG) is a video feedback intervention through which a “guider” helps a client to enhance communication within relationships. The client is guided to analyse and reflect on video clips of their own interactions.[1][2] Applications include a caregiver and infant (often used in attachment-based therapy), and other education and care home interactions.[3][4][5] VIG is used in more than 15 countries and by at least 4000 practitioners.[6]


Colwyn Trevarthen, a Professor at Edinburgh University, studied successful interactions between infants and their primary care givers, and found that the mother's responsiveness to her baby's initiatives supported and developed intersubjectivity (shared understanding), which he regarded as the basis of all effective communication, interaction and learning. In the 1980s Harry Biemans, in the Netherlands, applied this research using video clips, creating VIG.[7][8]

Research results[edit]

Research results include that VIG enhances positive parenting skills, decreases/alleviates parental stress, increases parenting enjoyment, improves parental attitudes to parenting, and is related to more positive development of the children, although the effect at child-level is reduced in high-risk families.[9][10][11][12] One study found an increase in sensitivity of mothers but no impact on infant attachment.[13] VIG has also been found to increase the child sensitivity of teachers.[14] The limitations of the experimental studies undertaken so far, such as their small number of subjects, are acknowledged, and more research is needed.[15]

Research linking VIG use to better subsequent long-term mental health of the child has not been published, but parenting is a causal risk factor for mental illness, and some mental health NGO's are pursuing programmes on expectation of a positive link.[16][17]

Theories of effectiveness[edit]

Theories of why VIG is effective includes that the use of video clips enables a shared space to be created, where positive sensitivity and attunement moments can be seen. This allows clients to improve their relationship attunement skills, by developing their ability to mentalise about their own and their infants mental states, and by encouraging mind-minded interactions.[18] (Trevarthen focuses particularly on how babies seek companionship, rather than using the term attachment, and has said "I think the ideal companion... is a familiar person who really treats the baby with playful human respect."[19])

Recommendations and use[edit]

VIG is recommended in the UK by NICE (the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence)[20] and is one of two interventions recommended by the NSPCC to improve parenting.[21] It is also recommended for health visitors.[22] The European Union DataPrev database also recommends VIG.[23]

VIG is used by NHS and other health services providers.[24][25]

In 2014 the UK NGO Mental Health Foundation and partners began to use VIG in an early years intervention to prevent mental illness in later life.[26][27]


AVIGuk, a UK 'association of supervisors', manages 18 month training programmes in the UK. Most research results have involved guiders who have undertaken such training.[28]


VIG has been criticised for only focusing on positive factors, but this criticism has not been substantiated in terms of making VIG ineffective.[29]

The length and cost of the VIG training that AVIGuk provides has been criticised, on the grounds that this limits scalability and prevents wider use of VIG. This is shown in the emergence of similar video feedback interventions with much shorter training, such as Video Enhanced Reflective Practice (VERP), a particular application of VIG,[30][31] and Video-feedback Intervention to Promote Positive Parenting and Sensitive Discipline (VIPP-SD),[32][33] [34][35] and other 'introductory' VIG courses.[36][37]

See also[edit]


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  13. ^ Velderman, K. et al. (2006) Effects of Attachment-Based Interventions on Maternal Sensitivity and Infant Attachment: Differential Susceptibility of Highly Reactive Infants. Journal of Family Psychology, 20, 266-274, referred to in
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  15. ^ Video Interaction Guidance, Kennedy et al, published JKP 2011
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