In place of a prescriptive framework, this chapter will explore and enquire with the reader what ‘therapeutic’ and ‘relationship’ means for the child, young person and frontline practitioner. Themes will be supported with illustrations drawn from research involving a service-user study (YoungMinds, 2013; Campbell, 2014) as well as appropriate practice material advocating for the young person’s and practitioner’s voice. The current environment within which the child and adolescent mental health service (CAMHS) sits will be introduced critically to try to better understand the strains placed on preserving the therapeutic relationship. This type of professional relationship has historically been the domain of frontline practitioners, such as mental health nurses, probation officers, specialist teachers and social workers, and has been developed and passed on generationally over the decades to offer a service to troubled children, young people and their families. Through this exploration, it is hoped that the reader will be able to recognise and define the nature of relationship-centred practice and understand the major factors involved in either sustaining or negating this essential and core professional activity for future generations of practitioners.
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