Watch, Wait and Wonder DownUnder

Group Work


Group Work in a Community Setting


Nikki French [2011] outlines a group work programme called ‘Together Time’ which although describing using the Watch, Wait and Wonder approach of Muir et. al. in 1992, appears to be more in line with that of Johnson, Dowling and Wesner [1980, 1982] in supporting the parent to follow the child’s lead. Five groups have been run for parents and infants between 10 and 24 months of age, where there were concerns about the parents’ ability to ‘play’ and difficulties in the parent-infant relationship. The groups were run with four dyads meeting for two hours over 10 weeks and facilitated by 3 staff. Observations were that the infants displayed less clinginess and more exploratory behaviour. There was no data collected.

The authors modified the discussion/reflection time with parents – “We comment on the baby’s behaviour at this time and on our observations about the Watch, Wait and Wonder time” [pg.77]. From the descriptions of the infant-led play it seems facilitation was  more active than in the WWW intervention. In these respects the central therapeutic principles of the Watch, Wait and Wonder intervention were significantly altered. The author is open in declaring that the therapists were not trained in the Watch, Wait and Wonder intervention.

It will be important to see what develops with further group work using a child-led approach and/or specifically using the Watch, Wait and Wonder intervention in its manualised form with trained clinicians.