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.
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.