Establishing Therapeutic Relationships At Risk Children And Youth

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Establishing therapeutic relationships is an effective way in facilitating positive change with an individual. It encourages both, working professionals and clients to participate in a relationship built on respect, acceptance, trust and empathy, to name a few. Building such trusting bonds, can allow professionals to gain a better perspective in the challenges and experiences of at-risk children and youth. In my own words, the term “at-risk children and youth” can be defined at those experiencing far greater risks than resilience in their most critical settings, often making their transition into adulthood difficult. Based on the content in Trouble Youth and Children, Chapter 5 by Brendtro and Shahbazian (2004), I will outline five key guidelines I, as a child and youth worker would use in my work with at risk kids, when developing therapeutic relationships and extending attachment.

Discovering Commonalities The professional-client relationship impacts every aspect of a child’s wellbeing. When children or youth don’t feel like they are known, they are less likely to engage or invest in the relationship. Brendtro and Shahbazian (2004) discuss “finding some commonalities to lower stranger barrier”. Finding shared interests, qualities or experiences with the clientele, helps to build trust and develop a purposeful relationship. Children and youth love to talk about themselves and share their opinions and thoughts. Many looks for an opportunity to meet others who share
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