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A Day in Tonsberg - Norway

I felt satisfied at the end of our two days in Trondheim. It was worth the long journey and every penny of the plane ticket. Tomorrow we are due in Tonsberg at 10.00am so time to get back on board Norwegian Airways; first to Oslo and then on to Tonsberg by train.

Our plane took off at 7.00pm so we decided to spend the night not too far from the airport. Frank picked us up from the airport to his newly built home, which he and his wife had developed to accommodate up to two guests, hotel style but with a family touch. They were eager to please. We spent about forty minutes with them drinking coffee (not a good idea before bed), chatting about their beautiful home and family and getting advice about tomorrow's journey.

View over Norway

Day 12 - Wednesday 16th November 2016


An early start this morning and Frank takes us back to the airport, where we buy our ticket to Tonsberg; a two hour train ride from here.

Berit Lande is waiting for us at Tonsberg station, and kindly accommodate our suitcases in the boot of her car. Berit is head of a child psychiatric unit; BUPA poliklinikk spesial, at the hospital Sykehuset, Vestfold. The hospital is situated in Tønsberg, a town 120 kilometer south of Oslo.

Berit leads a team that is dedicated to working with infants/children up to the age of three years old and their parents, and also at risk pregnancies can be referred. This team consists of 3 clinical psychologists, 1 psychiatrist and one clinical educational therapist. In addition, she works closely with another pre-school psychiatric team and a team of neuropsychologists.

Attachment theory and transaction models (bio-psycho-social-educational model) are strong influences in the team's thinking and practice. A carefully selected range of programs, such as Circle of security, Strange situation and Brazelton's Newborn Behavioural Observationp along with Video Interaction Guidance are much used methods for assessment and treatment.

The team's closest partners, when working with infants, outside the hospital are district nurses, midwives and child welfare services. They also cooperate with the somatic infant unit in the hospital and mental health clinics for grown ups.

I have some individual time with Berit for about two hours (which I will share in my report) and we exchange information about our settings and share tools and measures for our work. The Infant Mental Health team join us for lunch and I bombard them with questions about their work for another two hours. They were very patient.

BUPA Poliklinikk Spesial

My main question to them was, what really works for them in Tonsberg. They felt that the home visits were very effective because the balance of power rests with the parent, however they were very time consuming. They also felt that the tools they use enables them to help the parents to focus on the child and become more curious, or more interested in him. Also, the tools brings structure to the session and they are adapting them in creative ways to teach parents how to cope with their children's sleeping difficulties, etc.

I had a good sense of how things work on the ground and I was aware of their honesty and carefulness not to only give a nice picture but to also talk about the challenges. There seems to be a very strong link with the training centres in central Oslo and also with training schools in London and the USA. The team's passion to learn and their careful selection and creative use of their tools came across very clearly.

Again I was struck by the humility of the team in Tonsberg; always striving to learn from best practice across the world and committed to ongoing training.

On to Oslo...

After another two hours of travel we find our new Airbnb accommodation, which is not quite as practical as previous homes. They did not mention the climb from the station nor the flights of stairs to be negotiated. Nevertheless it was a comfortable. Our host met us with the keys (she lived elsewhere) and ensured that we found our way, before affording us the privacy of her home.

Tomorrow we will be meeting Marit Bergum Hansen in Oslo...

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