Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


This exploratory-descriptive study was designed to address the question: "How do child and adolescent clinicians describe their beliefs and practices with resistant caregivers in ways that adhere to or diverge from their theoretical orientations?" This study was based on the understanding that effective treatment of a child or adolescent must involve their parents, grandparents, or other caretakers, but that not all caregivers are interested in or able to engage with clinicians and/or the child's therapy. The instrument was a survey with fixed and open-ended questions, developed by the researcher. Sixteen child/adolescent clinicians were surveyed. Each respondent held a Master in Social Work and/or a Ph.D. in Psychology, had five or more years of practice experience, and was trained in Psychodynamic/analytic theory, and/or Behavioral theory, and/or Structural theory. The most significant findings were that most clinicians describe being informed by a conglomeration of multiple theories, professional experience, and professional identity. In addition, clinicians may have more similarities than differences in their beliefs and practices with resistant caregivers. Also, Psychodynamic/analytic clinicians' used a variety of theory-rooted approaches to engage caregivers that were more proactive than expected. These methods included stressing to the caregiver his/her relationship with his/her child, and using the child as a sort of tool to convey to the caregiver the child's importance and needs. This study reveals the "artfulness" of a seasoned clinician's approach, which may have origins in theory but includes the therapist's own interpretations and unique delivery.


Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2008. iii, 53 p. Includes bibliographical references (p. 43-45)