Saturday, 13 September 2008

Marce Society - Final day

My final day in Sydney dawned so I packed my bags and headed across the road for the final sessions.

First was Philip Boyce from University of Sydney who spoke on Clinical issues in the Management of Mothers with Schizophrenia.

Nine Glangeaud-Freudenthal spoke about Channi Kumar's Legacy for Perinatal Psychiatry and Mother-baby joint care. He was one of the founder members Of the International Marce Society in 1980.

After lunch I was fascinated in a presentation about 'Watch, Wait and Wonder'.

A video shown by Michael Zilibowitz was especially impressive. This is a deceptively simple but highly effective intervention that uses an infant or child led
approach to heal troubled relationships between a parent and child. It involves the parent getting down on the floor with her child in the clinicians room and asked to follow the child’s lead, not to teach, intervene or initiate the child’s activity in any way but be watchful and responsive to whatever the child wants to do. By learning to watch and realize that she does not have to intervene, the parent begins to observe and appreciate her child s individuality. As a result she comes to read the child s signals more objectively and becomes sensitive and responsive to the child s needs. The child is also allowed to express her inner life and develop a sense of self through play, exploration and interaction with the parent. This process often helps intrusive and directive parents to adopt the observer role and withdrawn or distant parents to take on the active observer’s stance and often truly see their child for the first time. Following the child led actively which last from about twenty to thirty minutes the parent is asked to discuss her observations and experiences with the clinician. Motivated parents are encouraged to continue this process in the home. The concept is a potentially powerful tool for general parental education.

The final session was a Hypothetical presentation given by a panel of the main speakers who considered what they would do with a problematic pregnant lady!

Then it was time to get a shuttle back to the airport and my flight home. Amazingly Atif Rahman who had spoken at the conference and I ended up sitting next to one another all the way to Dubai! So we had a wonderful opportunity to debrief and chat about perinatal mental health!

Just before I left the venue, Belinda, from Panda, said they were thinking of doing a national event in Australia next October and wondered if I would return! I would love to so if any other groups would like me in Australia next year let me know!

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