Adolescent responses to relationship questions within solution-focused brief therapy
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Counselling
In Western society, adolescence is a period of major transition from child to adult. While there are different views about the chronological age of adolescence, there are agreements across research that young people have limited emotional capabilities and heightened tendency to engage in risk-taking behaviour. The presence of these characteristics is supported by recent research on adolescent brain development that indicates that different parts of the brain enable particular functioning to develop at different times This literature has the potential to inform the way that I can best counsel young adults. In this research I describe a small research project in which I analysed transcripts of young people who volunteered to participate in my exploration of their experience of a solutionfocused technique called the relationship question. Four young people participated, each for 3-5 counselling sessions. In analysing the transcripts I found three key themes emerged. These were: Transitioning Relationship with Parents; Self Awareness and Reciprocity in Adolescent Relationships and Empathy and Values. Furthermore, I discovered ways that my practice influenced the ability of clients to use the relationship question. While some of the findings support the literature on characteristics of adolescents in Western society, I propose that, when adolescents are invited to describe important relationships in a respectful counselling interview, they are able to demonstrate some characteristics that challenge this literature. My hope is that through a social constructionist lens this research captures their responses with integrity and meaning so that others may capture what it may feel like to be an adolescent in todays’ society. This research contributes to the limited evidence of ways that adolescents experience solutionfocused practice. Implications for other practitioners are discussed.