The subjective experience of psychotherapists during moments of rupture in psychotherapy with adolescents

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Javier Morán *
M. Francisca Díaz
Claudio Martínez
Carlos Varas
Roxana Parra Sepúlveda
(*) Corresponding Author:
Javier Morán |


The study of the ruptures of the therapeutic alliance has impacted research in psychotherapy by highlighting the relational nature of this phenomenon. Despite ruptures are frequent and relevant during adolescent psychotherapy, most of the empirical evidence in this field has been carried out with adults. Understanding the subjective experience of the therapist during ruptures while working with adolescent is proposed as a starting point for the study of this type of interactional scenarios. The study examined the meanings that emerge from the therapists’ experience in terms of their explanations about the causes and effects of ruptures with adolescents. Eight psychotherapists were interviewed about their experiences during ruptures with young patients. The data was qualitatively analyzed through the Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis method. Four categories emerged: the failure to recognize the adolescent’s experience, the intensity of the affective experience of adolescents in psychotherapy, therapeutic boundaries as an articulator of the therapeutic purpose and, the obstacles that family generates during the therapeutic process. This study concurs with the literature on the need to make explicit with the family about the meaning, roles and limits of the therapy, and to prevent the exercise of control from an adultcentered position. It is concluded that in order to avoid and repair ruptures with adolescents in psychotherapy, an approach that integrates a sensitive attitude, an ecological point of view and mentalizing about the origin of the rupture is needed.

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