Navigating the Alliance with Adolescent Clients and Their Caregivers

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Light, Selena
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Research indicates that the therapeutic alliance between therapist and client is the most important aspect for effective treatment. However, existing studies supporting this notion primarily focus on adult clients, leaving a gap in understanding the unique dynamics involved with adolescents – a vulnerable and distinct population. While the general principles of building a therapeutic alliance are applicable to adolescents, there are notable differences that should be considered. One particular difference involves the role of the adolescents’ caregivers. Therapists have an inevitable relationship with the caregiver of the adolescent clients, and understanding the importance and implications of this relationship is crucial. Therapists must balance between maintaining an alliance with the caregiver and fostering a strong alliance with the adolescent. This paper will address the differences in the alliance when working with adolescent clients, including the benefits and obstacles to establishing strong alliances with both parties. This paper aims to explore the nuanced challenges of building therapeutic alliances with adolescent clients and their caregivers, shedding light on both the advantages and obstacles faced by clinicians. Additionally, this paper will explore the critical aspects of client autonomy and confidentiality and their role in alliance-building. Finally, attention will be given to current limitations, considerations for future research, and practical implications for clinical practice.
therapeutic alliance , confidentiality , adolescent , caregiver , autonomy , trust
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States , openAccess