Collaborative Consultation with Parents and Infants in the Perinatal Period
by Zack Boukydis, Focusing Coordinator, Focusing Institute, NY; Visiting Professor, Fullbright Fellow, Department of Pediatrics, Semmelweis Medical School, Budapest, Hungary. Brookes Publishing Co., Baltimore MD 2012
This book was written for people who support mothers, fathers, babies and families in the perinatal period. The book may be useful for focusing teachers, focusing-oriented therapists and others who want to consider this perspective on integrating focusing into their work.
Focusing is introduced to strengthen and deepen the 'collaborative relationship' between parents and professionals. When professionals listen to themselves by attending to their own felt sense (focusing), they are more able to listen to parents and to the deep, intimate 'relating' between parent and baby. When parents are listened to; and are able to listen to themselves, they strengthen or recover attention to their own felt sense - indicating steps forward in caring for and loving their baby.
Focusing is introduced, taught, and integrated into parent-baby work in chapters 6 through 8 of the book. The first five chapters outline consultant activities which involve 'watching babies with parents' (such as observing and assessing babies; work with parents of premature and substance-exposed babies; work with families where there are cry problems; and consulting during ultrasound sessions in pregnancy).
This is an excerpt from the book publisher, Brookes Publishing Company:
"When professionals listen to and support new parents in the perinatal period, families enjoy long-lasting benefits from stronger attachment to increased parent responsiveness and confidence. This guidebook shows practitioners how to conduct effective, collaborative consultation sessions that help parents and infants in the critical first few months of life.
Developed by an experienced clinician and researcher, this accessible guide helps practitioners form productive, equal partnerships with new parents, based on warm and attentive listening and responding. A wide range of professionals including doctors, nurses, midwives, doulas, psychologists, social workers, educators, home visitors and others will discover how to:
- understand and document key aspects of infant behavior and child-parent interaction
- observe the baby together with parents
- engaging in thoughtful observation and respectful communication
- develop strong active listening skills so they can better understand and support parents
- guide parents in "reading" their baby's cry patterns and developing strategies for soothing
- transform potential misperceptions of the infant that may interfere with parent-child bonding
- collaborate with parents during a structured neurobehavioral assessment
- conduct ultrasound consultations with mothers-to-be to increase their sense of connection with the baby
- explore how the consultant's own feelings, intuitions, and bodily reactions can help uncover what parents and infants need
- tailor the consultation framework for preterm and/or substance-exposed infants and their parents"