Infant to Infant - learning from Sweden
Day 4 in Sweden...
I'm so glad that I scheduled some space for writing, thinking and exploring. I usually try to pack in as much as possible so this is quite an achievement for me. After writing up my notes it's time to take in some more of the sights.
Musical lights at Uppsala
We (Kofi & me) decide to travel to the very north of Stockholm to Uppsala because we heard that they have some amazing lights there. It was quite a long journey and I think we were probably a bit early for the Christmas lights.
Never mind... it was enough just to be there and experience another part of Sweden. We were pleasantly surprised by the musical lights above, which hung from the trees along the lakeside. We were surrounded by beautiful classical music and it took us a while to find the source.
These were the start of the Christmas lights and I imagined what the town would look like at Christmas time when the display would be complete.
Lights across the bridge at Uppsala
Day 5 in Sweden
Today I meet Anna Malmquist, a psychotherapist, Group Analyst, Supervisor and Teacher in Psychotherapy and Camilla Wachtmeister, a Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist. Anna has been working within the Infant-Child-Parent unit at the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry department in Stockholm with infants since 1988 and also in private practice.
With Anna Malmquist outside theInfant-Child-Parent unit
at the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry department in Stockholm
Anna braved the heavy snowfall to meet us at the station, and straightway started to give an inspiring introduction to her work. We walked back to the office and I was stunned by the quality of the space and equipment that is dedicated to parents and infants. After touring the lower floors, dedicated to children and adolescents and meeting the staff, we toured the top floor, which is dedicated parents and infants; with rooms for supervision, video interaction, group work, a dining area where parents, infants and staff work through eating difficulties and promote healthy habits, and much more.
I was keen to capture the atmosphere and to get some practical ideas for our therapy house at Croydon Best Start Parent Infant Partnership.
Video Intervention Room Parent-Infant Group Work area
Swedish pastries in the dining room Cosy space for staff supervision
Over coffee and Swedish "kanelbulle" (a tasty pastry with exotic spices), Anna shared some inspiring stories about her group work with parents and infants and particularly her studies about Infant to Infant interactions. She spoke of how the child "starts to develop together as they play together" and how "symptoms start to go away when they come with their mothers continually to the group". Though she admits that the groups are not enough and there must also be work with the individual parent infant dyad, the group provides something immediately for the infant as he waits for his mother to change.
I love Anna's description of the group; she says, "the group matrix is also a vitalization bath".
Apart from the work within the parents and infants "there's a lot of work going on between, among and within the therapists and there must be time to talk and process..."
There is so much more to share about Anna's hopes and dreams for Sweden but I will save it for my final report. I notice that these excellent professionals in Sweden are always striving to achieve more, despite their reputation as world leaders where child health is concerned.
We ended our day together by taking a walk gingerly through the snow to Södermalm, where we enjoyed some more Swedish specialities at Mariatorget in the heart of South Stockholm. I am left feeling really inspired and also hoping that I will be able to continue to share good practice with Anna and her colleagues in future. What a privilege!!
See you next time...