Use of video feedback to develop communication and relationships

Author: Alex Hall (PhD Student, School of Nursing, Midwifery & Social Work, University of Manchester)

I have recently been part of a team working with a video-based intervention to enhance communication and relationship-building skills. The intervention is called Video Interaction Guidance (VIG) and aims to provide people with the opportunity to reflect upon their interactions, helping them to develop a deeper understanding of communication and providing a focus on what communication works well. This allows the development of stronger social relationships.

Our project involved working with an autism service to help develop communication and relationships between staff and service users. However because VIG is about communication between people it can be applied in a very diverse range of settings (see Kennedy, Landor & Todd, 2011, for examples).

The VIG process involves four main stages:

  1. The VIG practitioner and the client develop some initial goals for change that the client wants to achieve.
  2. The VIG practitioner takes a brief video of the client in a typical setting. For example, if teacher wished to improve their communication and relationship with a challenging pupil, the video would include the teacher and that pupil interacting in a typical classroom setting.
  3. The VIG practitioner then micro-analyses this video to select a few brief moments showing positive interaction between the client and the other person which are relevant to the client’s goals for change. This is achieved by applying a comprehensive analytical framework of behaviours that are known to facilitate positive interaction to the video. For example, joint gaze, mutual open body posture, and signs of the people mirroring each other’s movements would all be basic examples of positive interaction. This analysis focuses on both people rather than just one in isolation, looking at patterns of communicative initiatives and responses.
  4. The practitioner and the client view these clips together and discuss why these moments might be successful. The client is supported to reflect upon their own thoughts and emotions and to further develop their goals for change.

This process is repeated until the client is satisfied that their goals have been met. It is not usually necessary to repeat this approach more than a few times.

This approach is founded in part upon attachment theory. Behaviours that facilitate successful interaction are at the most basic level behaviours which are displayed by infants in interaction with their caregivers. It is constructivist rather than didactic, based on the premise that change is more effective when achieved in the context of a coaching relationship rather than a teaching relationship.

This type of positive, constructivist video feedback approach has a growing evidence base (Fukkink, 2008) and has been recommended in the support of social and emotional wellbeing of vulnerable children (NICE, 2012). Preliminary results from our project with the autism service suggested a positive impact on staff confidence and the beginnings of changes in perspective in how staff were seeing the person with autism (James et al., 2012). The proposed mechanism for change was the way that video footage was highlighted through editing on the part of the practitioner and the positive coaching conversation that was used to review the video edits.

We are currently working on further publications evaluating the impact of the approach and investigating some deeper theoretical issues underpinning its success.

Some useful references:

Fukkink, R. G., 2008. Video feedback in widescreen: A meta-analysis of family programmes. Clinical Psychology Review, 28, pp.904-916

James, D. M., Hall, A., Phillipson, J., McCrossan, G. and Falck, C., 2012. Creating a person-centred culture within the North East Autism Society: preliminary findings. British Journal of Learning Disabilities. DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-3156.2012.00757.x

Kennedy, H., Landor, M. and Todd, L. eds., 2011. Video Interaction Guidance: A Relationship-Based Intervention to Promote Attunement, Empathy and Wellbeing.London: Jessica Kingsley

National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence [NICE], 2012. Social and emotional wellbeing: early years. NICE public health guidance 40.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s