This study addresses the complexity of caregiver-infant/child interactions from the theoretical frame of Gestalt psychotherapy and the field of application of Pediatric Psychology. Based on a previous empirical study on the process of reciprocity in caregiver-infant/child interactions (Spagnuolo Lobb, 2016), the authors have worked on the construction of an observational tool to look at the co-creation of meaningful experiences, switching the focus from the child to the “dance” of reciprocity between caregiver and infant/child. Considering the contextualization in the field of Pediatric Psychology, this pilot study aimed to test the tool’s application with caregiver-preterm infant dyads, but exclusively referring to moderately preterm birth condition and with lack of disability or in any case serious evolutionary compromises.
The study measured: 1. the content/construct validity of the tool, 2. its internal reliability, 3. its “sensitivity” to grasp the changing of the relational “dance” in the transition from one developmental step of the infant to another, regarding the times considered (between 6-9-12 months of corrected age), 4. co-occurrences between the behavioral flows of the infant-caregiver dyad in the three developmental stages considered. 32 expert psychotherapists were involved in measuring the instrument’s validity, and 13 caregiver-infant dyads were observed in their interactions at 6-9-12 months of corrected age of the infant. This pilot study promises to define – both for preventative and psychotherapeutic interventions – specific parental competencies for the infant’s neurodevelopment in the first year of life.
This paper is part of the “Pediatric Psychology and Related Issues” Section (Sezione “Psicologia Pediatrica e Dintorni”) by S.I.P.Ped. (Italian Society of Pediatric Psychology, Società Italiana di Psicologia Pediatrica).