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The therapeutic alliance in offending behavior change programs: therapist perspectives and practises

The therapeutic alliance in offending behavior change programs: therapist perspectives and practises PurposeOffending behavior change programs play an important role in the prevention of criminal behavior, particularly when offered to violent offenders. There is, however, little consensus about how content should be delivered, despite agreement that the development of a strong therapeutic alliance (TA) is an important determinant of outcome. The purpose of this paper is to explore how the TA is formed within correctional programs.Design/methodology/approachIn total, 27 therapists who delivered correctional group treatment explored issues relating to the role of the alliance in offending behavior programs. A grounded theory methodology was employed to develop a conceptual understanding of therapist perspectives and practises.FindingsThree different modes of practice were identified: “educative” to enforce boundaries of group behavior; “engagement” to promote a collaborative approach; and “therapeutic” to enhance client insight.Practical implicationsGreater awareness of the skills and supports required to successfully develop strong TAs in correctional populations may assist better retention and treatment outcomes in offending behavior programs. The ability to work flexibly between different modes of practise may prove important to rehabilitation efforts.Originality/valueA model of the TA based on therapists’ accounts of their practise in correctional programs is presented. It is anticipated that, particularly for novice correctional therapists, exploration of the ways in which the alliance can be established and ruptures responded to will enhance treatment efficacy, particularly in treating violent offenders who can be challenging to engage. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research Emerald Publishing

The therapeutic alliance in offending behavior change programs: therapist perspectives and practises

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN
1759-6599
DOI
10.1108/JACPR-08-2016-0245
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

PurposeOffending behavior change programs play an important role in the prevention of criminal behavior, particularly when offered to violent offenders. There is, however, little consensus about how content should be delivered, despite agreement that the development of a strong therapeutic alliance (TA) is an important determinant of outcome. The purpose of this paper is to explore how the TA is formed within correctional programs.Design/methodology/approachIn total, 27 therapists who delivered correctional group treatment explored issues relating to the role of the alliance in offending behavior programs. A grounded theory methodology was employed to develop a conceptual understanding of therapist perspectives and practises.FindingsThree different modes of practice were identified: “educative” to enforce boundaries of group behavior; “engagement” to promote a collaborative approach; and “therapeutic” to enhance client insight.Practical implicationsGreater awareness of the skills and supports required to successfully develop strong TAs in correctional populations may assist better retention and treatment outcomes in offending behavior programs. The ability to work flexibly between different modes of practise may prove important to rehabilitation efforts.Originality/valueA model of the TA based on therapists’ accounts of their practise in correctional programs is presented. It is anticipated that, particularly for novice correctional therapists, exploration of the ways in which the alliance can be established and ruptures responded to will enhance treatment efficacy, particularly in treating violent offenders who can be challenging to engage.

Journal

Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace ResearchEmerald Publishing

Published: Jul 10, 2017

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