Marte Meo Introductory Workshop


A relational based intervention supporting children's development with Joy Elford

Marte Meo is a method which focuses on the importance of connection and communication in the building of relationships and emotional connections. It is the “the how to” of attachment. It is an important approach in the fields of infant and child development and attachment.

Marte Meo was devised by Maria Aarts in Holland through the 1970s and 80’s. The term Marte Meo is derived from the Latin "mars martis", a term used in mythology to express "On one's own strength". This is the central Marte Meo focus on the idea of supporting children to find their own strength, as well as to focus on an enhance the ability of parents, teachers and professionals to connect with these children to enhance their social and emotional development.

Marte Meo was first developed first through Maria’s work with children with Autism to increase their social and emotional development and improve the connection with their caregivers. Since this time, Marte Meo has also been adapted to cover working:

  • Children with ADHD
  • Child care settings
  • Child protection & out-of-home care services
  • Children with developmental disabilities;
  • Children in child psychiatry settings;
  • Premature babies
  • Children in educational settings;
  • Children in residential care;

The Marte Meo programme was developed through observation and analysis of human interaction. Video is the most important tool used for interaction analysis and becomes a behavioural microscope. Everyday interactional sequences are recorded, and can then be analysed in detail. A number of such sequences from related areas provide information about more generable patterns. This then guides treatment planning around improving relationships, social and emotional development, and language development. During the training we will review video footage of parent-infant; parent-child and teacher-child interactions, to:

  • Make strong connections with children by entering into their world;
  • Activate child development rather than compensating problems;
  • Read the developmental message behind behaviour;
  • Recognising how to use supportive communication in the right moment;
  • Scaffolding social interactions to improve social connection and development;

Marte Meo has been found to improve attachment bonds; improves felt security; improves emotional intelligence, increases self-awareness and regulation of body movements; improves language in social contexts and therefore improves social skill development, improves attention and emotional and behavioural regulation, builds self-confidence, improves imaginative play, promotes predictability and co-operation.



This event has been cancelled due to COVID. It was scheduled for September, 2020.
9:30am - 4pm


Apollo International Hotel 
290 Pacific Hwy

Presenter: Joy Elford

Recommended Participants:

Marte Meo is valuable training for the following professionals:

  • Social workers
  • Occupational therapists
  • Psychologists
  • Nurses
  • Speech Pathologists
  • Daycare and childcare workers
  • Professionals working in Disability Services
  • Teachers
  • School support officers
  • Special Education teachers

Video Footage Recommendations

Course participants are welcome to bring along on USB video footage (of approximately 3-5 minutes duration) of children and families they for review using the Marte Meo method, including any of the following scenarios:

  • Two children playing together in a free play situation
  • Two children playing in structured way (i.e. a memory game which requires turn taking)
  • An adult with a child who is playing in a free play situation
  • An adult with a child who is playing a structured game
  • An adult with a child in a feeding/eating/dressing situation

Obviously appropriate permission needs to be sought.

About the Presenter: Joy Elford

Joy is a qualified Social Worker and has worked extensively in SA Health in infant and children’s mental health, particularly with children who have special needs and trauma experiences.  Joy is a Marte Meo Licensed Supervisor using these skills clinically and as a trainer for professionals across education, health and child protection.  Joy is an office bearer in the SA Branch of Australian Association for Infant Mental Health and regularly lectures in the Certificate for Infant Mental Health run by SA Health Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.  More recently Joy has decided to focus on sharing Marte Meo more widely and travels interstate as well as offering training in her home state of South Australia.  Spare time sees Joy enjoying bike riding, reading, enjoying the natural environment and spending time with family and the grand children (not necessarily in that order).