Some babies in the MIP- or mother-infant- study did not seem to be very affected when the mother was distressed. Other babies became whining or anxious. The division between these two subgroups in my study was about fifty-fifty. Especially for the “affected” children, MIP seemed to institute a beneficial development in their relationship, compared with the CHC group. The same conclusion applied to the MIP mothers’ sensitivity for the child’s communications. I concluded that we ought to suggest MIP especially for babies who seem distressed or sad.
Let us have a look at the mothers: some of them seemed to intuit that they influenced the problem with the child: “I don’t understand how, but I’d like to know how I affect my baby”. These mothers constituted two thirds of the group and I called them the “Participators”. The remaining third rather felt that they had been left out in a difficult situation. They wanted concrete advice and support from the therapist how to handle the present situation. I called them the “Abandoned” mothers.
The “Participator” mothers developed a greater sensitivity for the child’s signals if they underwent MIP compared with CHC. It seemed that the analyst’s focus on the baby helped the mother to understand the baby’s feelings and what s/he wanted to communicate. Corresponding differences were not to be found amongst the “Abandoned” mothers.
Conclusions: We need to do more research on how MIP is functioning on other kinds of samples. Similarly, we also need to know what happens when fathers are participating in treatment. But if you meet a baby who seems to be distressed or a mother who wants to understand how she is influencing the present situation, then MIP seems to be a suitable method. Other babies seem to feel rather well and perhaps do not need this kind of treatment. And then there are mothers who want substantial advice on how to handle the situation. For them CHC treatment seems to be sufficient – or the therapist needs to adjust technique to meet such mothers’ needs.
If you want to know more about how I and other colleagues work with these issues on the CHC today, and how we do research on this population, you can read more here!