Last week we started on the next bit of the journey towards Theraplay. We had our videoed assessment, or as it’s officially called – Marschak Interaction Method, MIM for short.
I’d been worrying about it - mostly concerned about whether Mini would be as he normally is at home. I’d vainly worried about the video camera. We were given the choice about taking Dollop, and decided to do so. So of course I worried about whether taking her was the right thing – if Mini reacted badly to the assessment then I would be exposing Dollop potentially to violence and aggression from Mini. Yes, she gets that at home, but should I put her in that situation on purpose??
In reality, it was actually OK. The MIM is about observing our reactions to Mini and our interactions with him…not observing him in full flow. The video gets studied by the Theraplay therapist, and he’ll be the one to feedback to us – using clips of us on film to demonstrate his feedback *cringe*. In order to work out what bits of Theraplay will work best for us, he’ll be looking at how we structure, care, nurture and respond to Mini, and what needs improvement.
Mini knows about the Theraplay introductory course I did (the course that taught mummy how to play more and better!) and the group course run by CAMHS (the course where I met other mummies and learnt how to be a better mummy!). So we sold the MIM to him by telling him it was a test to see how much I’d learnt on those courses, and we needed him to help test us. He was pleased to help!
The MIM took an hour and a half or so in total. Firstly Mini and I had a session which involved 7 envelopes containing instructions. We had to open 1 at a time, in a specific order, and I had to tell Mini what the instructions said. We had to feed each other, I had to build a duplo object, and Mini had to copy me, I had to tell him about the day he moved in, we blew bubbles and various other things. The NC and Mini had a similar session with slightly different activities, and then all 4 of us had a session – with group activities. I did eventually forget about the camera, despite the social worker sitting behind it!
On reflection I can see how they will say that I didn’t take the lead, I allowed Mini to do so. He pretty much led the whole session, asking to move onto the next envelope when he’d had enough of the activity before. And in the group session he tried to take over even more, but I did at this point try to take back control, parent him properly and lead things more. He was clearly becoming more relaxed as the session went on, and becoming more 'himself'.
I guess though, that I wanted him to feel comfortable and in control of a situation where he really wasn’t, so as to minimise the anxiety for him, and I hope that they can see that. It’s not like that at home where we try to have quite firm consistent boundaries so Mini knows what to expect and when.
Because I’d gone it with little knowledge of what would happen, I didn’t have expectations. I was just nervous about the filming bit. And it really wasn’t that bad. Now we wait for the feedback...