Feeling better: Experiences and needs of adolescents and professionals regarding their therapeutic relationship in residential youth care

Harder, A. T., Eenshuistra, A. & Knorth, E. J., 1-Jul-2020, (Submitted) In : Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

In residential youth care, group care workers and teachers often serve as a mentor for individual adolescents. Research suggests that favorable mentoring relationships are associated with positive adolescent outcomes. However, few studies examined the role of mentoring in residential youth care. The present study aims to assess adolescents’, care workers’ and teachers’ therapeutic relationship needs in terms of their one-on-one conversations during residential care. Interviews with eleven adolescents, ten group care workers and two teachers show that all are rather satisfied with their conversations, which are often concerned with how it’s going with the adolescent. Adolescents mostly consider their family and situation at home as difficult topics, while care workers mostly consider sexuality as a difficult topic to talk about. Although the aim is often ‘improvement’ with the youth, most adolescents report that they do not (know if they) show changes as a result of these conversations. Moreover, only one of the twelve professionals thinks that it is his core task to achieve behavior change with the young person. According to the professionals, conversations often aim at building a good relationship, coaching, determining treatment goals, and gaining insight into the adolescent. Adolescents prefer a mentor who is calm, has respect, listens, and is reluctant in giving advice. Most professionals do not use a specific treatment protocol or method and doubt whether they want to have conversations according to a manual, protocol or support tool. Despite being rather satisfied, adolescents and professionals indicate several points for improvement of one-on-one conversations.
Original languageEnglish
JournalChild and Adolescent Social Work Journal
Publication statusSubmitted - 1-Jul-2020

ID: 128693813