Maxwell, Nina and Rees, Alyson 2019. Video Interaction guidance: a return to traditional values and relationship-based practice? British Journal of Social Work 49 (6) , pp. 1415-1433. 10.1093/bjsw/bcz067

In response to the shift away from direct work in social work, there has been resurgence in relationship-based participatory approaches. Such approaches are dependent upon practitioner expertise in developing and sustaining relationships with families. This article presents findings from an evaluation of the Video Interaction Guidance (VIG) Service embedded within Children’s Services in a unitary authority in England. The Service provides therapeutic strengths-based direct work with families delivered by educational psychologists, social workers and family support workers trained in VIG. Interview findings with parents and referrers highlighted the significance of conducting the intervention within the home as a separate service distinct from the child protection role. The therapeutic relationship between the practitioner and the parent served as an exemplar of a positive relationship and a safe space where parents’ internalised perception of themselves could be challenged. The VIG service offers an evidence-based intervention aimed at increasing primary carers’ attunement and sensitivity towards their child. VIG also enables professionals the time to engage in direct work with families and to review how they interact and engage with them. Such an approach allows the ‘invisible trade’ of social work to become visible and subject to improvement and refinement.