What makes a relationship therapeutic

Yesterday I wrote about the importance of allowing young people to choose to be with you and giving them an “out”. In doing this you build trust with the young person by showing them that you are there for them and for their journey and not with the agenda of a parent, carer, teacher or agency. You have no agenda but to help them.

So often relationships can appear to have an agenda and in thinking about this I believe that it highlights the importance of very good beginnings. This is something I have written about before and believe that beginnings are the most important part of any one to one session as it sets the tone for what is to come.

A therapeutic relationship occurs when a relationship shifts to become a helping alliance. This refers to a relationship between two people who engage in a relationship with each other, with the goal to affect beneficial change in the recipient of the help.

In this shifting interaction 4 things occur to show that the relationship is a therapeutic one. The young person will:

  1. Learn what a trusting relationship feels like.
  2. Try new ways of relating to themselves and the world around them in a safe space.
  3. Be their authentic self without having to impress or please someone.
  4. Share things with someone who is impartial and wants the best for them.

These 4 things could form the basis of how we work with young people in one to one relationships and I want, over the coming days, to unpack each one.

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