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Contemp Fam Ther. 2007 Jun;29(1-2):39-55.

Treatment Engagement: Building Therapeutic Alliance in Home-Based Treatment with Adolescents and their Families.

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School of Social Work, University of Texas at Austin, 1717 W. 6th Street Suite 335, Austin, TX 78703, USA.


Client engagement is an essential yet challenging ingredient in effective therapy. Engaged clients are more likely to bond with therapists and counselors, endorse treatment goals, participate to a greater degree, remain in treatment longer, and report higher levels of satisfaction. This study explored the process of engaging high-risk youth and their parents in a unique home-based family therapy intervention. Qualitative interviews were conducted with 19 families who completed family therapy sessions that included a core component aimed at increasing treatment engagement. Parents' and youths' perceptions of engagement suggest the importance of developing therapeutic alliance with therapists, who facilitated building a shared alliance among family members. Implications for improving client engagement are discussed within the context of alliance building with the therapist and among family members.

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