Young People in Therapy

“Only Connect: Building effective relationships with young people in therapy” with Rebecca Kirkbride on Saturday 2nd February 2019

The therapeutic alliance or relationship is at the heart of all counselling, with current research placing it as key to its success. But what happens in work with young people where there may be blocks or difficulties in forming an effective therapeutic relationship, for example where the client may not trust adults or want to connect with them at all?

Over one hundred years ago E.M Forster wrote with passion about the importance of connection in both our inner and outer worlds, and of the difficulties many of us experience in establishing these connections. As therapeutic work with adults and young people has developed over recent decades we have become increasingly aware as a profession of the importance of connection with our clients in the form of the therapeutic relationship, and, more recently, of the factors outside of the consulting room which impede connection in the digitally-obsessed 21st century.

But how easy is it for us as adult therapists to connect with young people in their world and to see and understand things from their point of view? What are the impediments for practitioners in getting alongside young clients struggling with difficulties during adolescence. Perhaps their difficulties sometimes seem alien to those of us who grew up in different times, or perhaps ambivalence about our own adolescent experience blocks us from fully connecting with our clients.

In this one-day workshop we will explore the therapeutic relationship with young people, looking in particular at the following aspects:

• Developmental processes including attachment and mentalization: here we’ll look at the ways in which a young person’s early development impacts on their capacity to connect in later life.

• The therapeutic relationship, including the core relationship conditions: in this section we’ll look at Bordin’s (1979) components of the therapeutic alliance and Rogers (1959) core relationship conditions: empathy, positive regard and congruence and understand how they relate to therapeutic work with young people.

• Meeting young people in their world: this part of the workshop explores how we understand the world as experienced by the young person and includes a look at the adolescent brain and how it differs from that of adults.

• Developing a ‘shared language’ for effective communication: here we’ll consider the kinds of communication which are most effective in work with young people including the possibility of creative interventions.

• Cultural understanding and competence: here we’ll look at how we understand young people from a cultural perspective. We’ll ask how their world differs from our own cultural experience of adolescence and explore how to build bridges rather than emphasis the divide between us.

• Managing connections with our own adolescence through therapeutic work with young people: this part will explore how sometimes our own unprocessed struggles during adolescence can emerge and create issues in the therapeutic alliance with our clients. We’ll consider ways of identifying when this is the case and look at methods of working with this.

This workshop will explore the theoretical underpinnings of the therapeutic relationship in line with the evidence-based BACP (2014) Competences framework for therapeutic work with young people (11-18years), before going on to explore specific case examples of how this works in practice.

Participants will leave the workshop with an enhanced understanding of how to develop and sustain effective relationships with young people, which facilitate their development both in the consulting room and beyond. While the workshop focuses on relationships with therapy clients, participants may find that their connections with other young people in their world are also enhanced and improved.

While the BACP (2014) competence framework focuses on therapeutic work with young people aged 11-18 years, this workshop will also be relevant for practitioners working with young adults aged 18-25 years, and even beyond!

Rebecca Kirkbride is a BACP senior accredited counsellor of adults, children and young people and a clinical supervisor.

She is the author of Counselling Young People: A Practitioner Manual (Sage/BACP 2018) based on the BACP (2014) competences framework for work with young people (11-18 years), essential reading for the new BACP training curriculum for work with young people. She is also author of Counselling Children and Young People in Private Practice: A Practical Guide (Karnac Books, 2015) and a regular contributor to the BACP CYP journal.

Rebecca trained originally in psychotherapeutic counselling at the University of Sussex. After completing this training in 2002 she went on to work for many years with children and young people in a variety of settings including primary and secondary schools as well as in community settings and private practice. During this time Rebecca managed counselling services in several local schools providing counselling to students as well as support and supervision to staff.

As well as writing and continuing to develop training workshops, Rebecca currently works in private practice in Brighton, seeing adults, children and young people as well as offering clinical supervision to other practitioners working with these groups.



Go to the CURRENT EVENTS page to book your place by clicking here.