Identity Formation In At Risk Adolescents: A Case Study of Mount Bachelor Academy
Fink, Sarah Wiseman
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This study investigated the effects of therapeutic alliance in a boarding school for "at risk" adolescents. Therapeutic alliance is defined as three qualities of the relationship between therapist and client: agreement between therapist and client on goals of treatment agreement on how to achieve these goals and the personal bond between the therapist and client. The paper discusses the use of Eriksonian therapy and its relation to the strength of the therapeutic alliance as well as other techniques that influence the development of healthy adolescent identity formation. Past research suggests specific factors such as: individualized attention, early interventions, engagen1ent of peers and parents, and connection to the outside world impact the effectiveness of programs designed to help adolescents in schools. A survey that included the Client Attachment to Therapist Scale (CATS) was completed by two thirds of the students at the boarding school. In addition, observations and interviews were used to analyze these relationships between counselors and students. Results of the study indicate that the strength of the therapeutic alliance is one of the stronger components in the success of this program and thus could be helpful if implemented in other programs targeting the "at risk" adolescents.