Date of Paper

5-2014

Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)

Department

Social Work

First Advisor

Lance Peterson

Abstract

The parent-adolescent relationship appears to have a significant impact on the mental health of adolescents. Previous literature has identified poor attachments to be associated with adolescent mental health concerns as well as delinquent behaviors. In order to address these concerns, practitioners have utilized practices of providing safety within the therapeutic relationship as well as enhancing communication and encouraging attunement within the parent-adolescent relationship. The purpose of the study is to identify theories and approaches that practitioners find most effective when working with adolescents and their families. This was a qualitative study in which data was collected through interviews with eight family and mental health practitioners. Six major themes emerged from the data analysis: systems approach, safety and trust, respect, cultural awareness and responsiveness, emotional bond, and positive interactions. These findings highlight some of the vital approaches utilized by therapists when working with parents and adolescents. This study supports previous literature, which indicates the importance of therapists joining with the family to create safety as well as modeling healthy interactions. Implications for future research and social work practice are explored to offer therapists continued insight into practices for strengthening the parent-adolescent relationship, so as to reduce mental health concerns in adolescents

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