Relationships That Work: Fostering Favourable Therapeutic Alliances with Adolescents in Adventure Therapy Settings

Will Dobud

Session type: Regular forum session
Session duration: 60 minutes

Key words: adolescents, therapeutic relationship, adventure therapy, outcome, alliance measures


Thousands of studies support the important contribution of the therapeutic alliance to outcome across many types of therapy. In fact, the quality of the relationship, as perceived by the consumer, has nearly four times the impact on outcomes than the type of therapy provided or the competence of the practitioner, as rated by their peers. However, despite most practitioners recognising the importance of this relationship, researchers have found helping professionals to struggle to know when their participants are engaged and benefitting from their services.

This interactive workshop will explore what literature has shown to be effective in creating helping relationships in therapeutic settings. Focusing on adventure therapy, feedback provided by real participants and videos of practitioners working in the field will provide practical examples of what works in establishing strong therapeutic relationships with at-risk young people. Finally, practitioners will practice learning evidence-based strategies for discussing the quality of the therapeutic alliance with their participants.

About the presenter/s

Will Dobud MSW is the program director of True North Expeditions, Inc., an Australian adventure therapy program for adolescents. Will is also a casual academic in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Charles Sturt University. In 2015, he was awarded the Australian Postgraduate Award for research promise. Will’s research is focused on participant experience and uncovering what works in adventure therapy.