Practice with Young People - The Interventive Relationship

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Abstract This paper presents the theoretical underpinnings of a particular type of working alliance, the ‘Interventive Relationship’ (IR), based on empirical analysis of case study evidence from a voluntary organisation in Northern Ireland working with at risk young people in the community. Third sector organisations play a valuable role offering hands-on interventional activities with at risk groups. These organisations exist in a context of austerity where funding difficulties place operational pressures on programme delivery, when there is pressure for outcomes, evidence and accountability and as a result a negative impact on interactions founded on process and relational approaches. This case study presents the findings of a study in one third sector organisation. It examines the validity and purpose of “relationship based and process led approaches” and proposes a model for articulating change in multi-disciplinary practice with at risk young people. The paper articulates and expands on a distinction between the use of self in therapeutic counselling and in multi-disciplinary social and youth work settings. Using case study methodology the evaluation examined respondent perceptions about the process and depth of interaction between worker and service user and the study articulates the essential factors required to create conditions that contribute to positive change with subsequent risk reduction and increased resilience. Data was collected using purposeful sampling and interviews across the organisation (N=19), literature and relevant documents were thematically examined and practice observation completed in a number of settings. The Interventive Relationship (IR) is presented as a five stage sequential model, (foundation, preparation, developing/negotiation, synthesis/unity point, autonomy/independence and finally quantitative/qualitative outcomes. The paper articulates the essential ingredients and necessary conditions for transformative learning or change process through the Interventive Relationship (IR) and the model is illustrated and presented diagrammatically
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 3 Mar 2020


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