Therapeutic Relationships

A therapeutic relationship is important to develop in order for the child to feel comfortable, safe and understood. A trusting environment makes it easier for the child to express and explore their feelings.
Axline’s (1969) principles guide the therapist within the therapy sessions and are a person-centred approach.
The Therapist:
  • Must develop a warm, friendly relationship with the child, in which good rapport is established as soon as possible.
  • Accept the child exactly as he/she is.
  • Establishes a feeling of permissiveness in the relationship so that the child feels free to express feelings completely.
  • Is alert to recognise the feelings the child is expressing and reflects those feelings back to the child in such a manner that they gain insight into their behaviour.
  • Maintains a deep respect for the child's ability to solve their own problems if given an opportunity to do so. The responsibility to make choices and to institute change is the child's.
  • Does not attempt to direct the child's actions or conversation in any manner. The child leads the way, the therapist follows.
  • Does not attempt to hurry the therapy along. It is a gradual process and is recognised as such by the therapist.
  • Establishes only those limitations that are necessary to anchor the therapy to the world of reality and to make the child aware of their responsibility in the relationship.

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