What makes a strong relationship?
Before we can introduce best practices for building relationships, let’s start with identifying what makes a strong relationship? There are 3 main pillars that contribute to creating a positive, mutually beneficial relationship:
A positive emotional connection between youth and mentor. Both parties trust and care for each other, and want the relationship to succeed.
Youth and mentor work together and collaborate toward a shared goal, and they share personal thoughts and feelings. A strong connection is built by more than just having fun together.
Agreement on Goals and Approaches
Youth and mentor have a shared understanding of the challenges and needs of the youth, including any behavioral or mental health goals, and the approach chosen.
Getting to Know Each Other and Building Trust
Building a strong relationship can take time and sometimes has to be approached gently.
The first step is to get to know your mentee and create a genuine relationship based on trust. This itself can be quite an accomplishment for a young person who has experienced significant disruptions in their important relationships. Some mentees may be wary of new adults and rightly so. With patience, time, and paying close attention to the needs of the young person, trust can be built.
Click on the topics heading below to learn more about best practices and approaches to creating a strong alliance.
Source: Karver, M. S., De Nadai, A. S., Monahan, M., & Shirk, S. R. (2018). Meta-analysis of the prospective relation between alliance and outcome in child and adolescent psychotherapy. Psychotherapy, 55(4), 341.