“It’s the small steps we take that help us achieve our long term goals.”
Building on the therapeutic relationship
When meeting with children and young people for the very first time, one of the most important skills is to be able to begin building on the therapeutic relationship. This is something that is essential with clients of all ages but especially so when working with children and young people. By helping them to understand from the very start that whilst parents or school might arrange appointments on their behalf, the sessions are for the young person. The role of the therapist is to listen, explore and work collaboratively with the young person to address the presenting problems.
One strategy that I have found to be helpful when initiating sessions with younger children is by working as a team and working through activities to develop an understanding of their emotional literacy. It is both a fun and informative way that is useful when starting out with new clients. Beginning to explore someone’s likes and dislikes whilst also observing social skills provides further evidence and information when carrying out an initial assessment with a child or young person. Other ways of engaging young people in the initial sessions involve using stories, work sheets and other therapy resources.
Engaging young people from the onset
The key to engaging a young person in a successful therapy journey is to ensure a young person feels at ease coming to sessions, to be able to discover their likes and dislikes to obtain a positive therapy outcome.