Establishing a positive working alliance during formal parenting assessments: Parent perspectives on what works

Anne-Fleur W. K. Vischer, Hans Grietens, Erik J. Knorth, Wendy J. Post, Cecil Prins

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review


The working alliance between families and professionals within the context of child protection faces substantial challenges from a variety of factors, but it plays an important role in accomplishing positive outcomes. To gain insight into what works when establishing positive working alliances between parents undergoing formal parenting assessments and professionals, we interviewed 22 parents about their experiences with the intervention program of the Expertise Centre for Treatment and Assessment and Psychiatry (Expertise Center) in the Netherlands. The majority of parents considered the approaches used by the Expertise Center to build positive working relationships with families effective. A central theme identified within the study concerns the importance of a connection between parents and professionals. Characteristics of professionals that parents identified as promoting a sense of connection include humanity, respectfulness, availability and responsiveness, and good communication skills. A sense of connection can help parents develop a relationship of trust in which they eventually feel safe enough to share their stories, insecurities, questions, emotions, and thoughts, all of which play an important role in achieving change within the family. Parents valued individual conversations with professionals with whom they felt connected over specific intervention content (e.g., group activities). They identified several strategies applied by the Expertise Center professionals as having helped them to make changes in their parenting. We organized all key themes into a conceptual model for establishing a positive working alliance to promote change.
Originele taal-2English
TijdschriftJournal of Child and Family Studies
StatusSubmitted - 18-jan-2019

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