Uncovering Adolescent Shame in the Therapeutic Relationship
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The present study examined the role of the therapeutic relationship when an adolescent client presents with shame. While shame is a highly unpleasant emotion that is a universally experienced, it is also a neglected emotion in the therapeutic relationship. Furthermore, adolescence is a developmental stage where intense magnification of shame and mental health issues may become apparent. Estimates reveal that most mental health problems begin during the ages of 12-24 (Kinnunen, 2010). Additionally, statistics show that 20%-30% of adolescents have one major depressive episode before they reach adulthood, and 50%-75% of individuals develop anxiety disorders during adolescence (Schwarz, 2009). These numbers demonstrate rising mental health issues amongst teens. While shame has been thought of as a fundamental factor that adolescents grapple with, very little had been researched in regards to the treatment of adolescent shame, and what the role of the therapeutic relationship plays. This study used a quantitative, cross-sectional design to examine the role of the therapeutic relationship in the treatment of adolescent shame from the perspective of mental health clinicians practicing in the state of New York. The current research enriches our understanding of the treatment of adolescent shame and the importance of the therapeutic relationship. The findings also present treatment directions for social workers, providing a new way of thinking about the treatment of shame in adolescents.
Doctoral Dissertation, Ph.D. (Social Welfare), Wurzweiler School of Social Work -- Open Access
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