Cornwall Council commissioned an independent evaluation of its Video Interaction Guidance Service. 


The aim of the evaluation was to determine whether the Video Interaction Guidance Service was achieving its objective of making a positive impact on children and families and to evaluate the factors that contribute to successful outcomes with a view to informing future service development. 

Video Interaction Guidance is a technique in which a practitioner uses video clips of authentic situations to enhance communication between children and the people close to them. It stems from a theory of inter-subjectivity which argues that children innately respond to and regulate their communication in reaction to the social cues of others (Trevarthen, 1979) and Bandura (1986) who developed the hypothesis that watching yourself perform a behaviour well increases held feelings of self-efficacy. 

Activities and Methods

The evaluation adopted a mixed method qualitative approach consisting of: 

  1. analysis of the output and impact data collated by the Video Interaction Guidance Service (1st September 2015 – 11th October, 2016) and 

2. semi-structured interviews with both referrers and clients. The first set of interviews were conducted with all thirteen clients who had completed the intervention within the period 1st February 2015 – 31st March 2015 and with the practitioners who had referred these clients to the Video Interaction Guidance Service. The second set of interviews were undertaken around six months after the intervention had ended.


The findings revealed that Video Interaction Guidance offered a strengths-based approach that was valued by parents and appeared to lead to greater parental attunement and awareness of how  their parenting skills effected the relationship they had with their child. 

The Video Interaction Guidance Guiders were perceived very positively and were deemed to be integral to the intervention. Guiders explained the approach in simple terms which parents clearly recalled six months after the work had been completed. Having the same Guider throughout the intervention was highly regarded as parents then felt able and comfortable to develop their skills in a trusting environment. 

Video Interaction Guidance was found to have lasting benefits and impact for a range of families, including those at risk of adoption breakdown, children with learning difficulties and child/parent mental health problems. 

In light of these findings, Video Interaction Guidance appeared to be a useful, time limited intervention for a range of presenting difficulties where improvements to family relationships and attachment are sought.

Lead Person

Principal InvestigatorNina Maxwell

Academic Staff

ResearcherAlyson Rees
FundersCornwall Council