Date of Conferral
Billions of mental health care dollars for millions of children and adolescents in need has garnered significant attention within the behavioral health industry to reduce costs while improving treatment efficacy through the identification and implementation of evidence based practices with youth populations requiring therapeutic services. This hermeneutic phenomenological qualitative research approach in the field of psychology is a consumer driven one in the world of business. Line by line context and discourse analyses, which included both a prior and inductive coding, of the verbiage and phraseology of 10 boys and 10 girls, aged 8-12, actively engaged in outpatient psychotherapy, formed the foundation for 31 themes that captured a shared experience or a consumer driven “view inside the therapist’s office.” These results are represented through 6 main themes indicating that a) “knowledge fosters investment” upon entry into and initiation of mental health services when therapists and parents recognize that b) “words have power to facilitate success,” only if, guided by childhood development but chosen thoughtfully for each child. Further, c) “therapy is therapy across the lifespan,” such that therapeutic care for minors deemed legally dependent reflected treatment for legally independent persons with implementation methods influenced by age. Lastly, age, as a definitive factor, impacted the means by which the youth in my study experienced d) “autonomy… and developed e) “therapeutic rapport…” in references to e) “boundaries…” that mitigate the entire treatment experience. The outcomes of this study offer the research and practice community opportunity to move children from the “object” of the treatment to “agents” in their treatment by respecting the ideas expressed by youth themselves.
DeStefano, Katherine, "A Phenomenological Exploration of Children's Experiences during the Therapeutic Process" (2016). Walden Dissertations and Doctoral Studies. 2149.