This model leverages the willingness of community members to provide support to others and grows their ability to do so through structured guidance. Client and partner do activities in a relationship that is supported by supervision in order to help the client to change. Each week, a client and a community member meet three times. I supervise the community member once a week for 20 minutes for each client that she works with.
There are two steps to implementing a therapeutic partnership. First, the community member identifies what activities might result in a client making more positive connections in his/her environment. This is done in two ways. The first way is by listening to the client tell what they want to do. We interpret their desire as their sense of how they can express their strengths and create satisfying connections for themselves in their world. The second way is by observing the client, and listening to how others see his or her difficulties. In the second case, we look for where and when the client loses the ability to make vital connections with others and how that break happened. Next, the therapeutic partnership (client and partner) plan and do activities based on what we understand will help the client to change the way that he relates to himself, others, school, work or play. The partners plan and do activities in the context of the interest , attention and sensitivity that is generated as a result of the partnership. There is an ongoing discussion about the experience of the partnership and changes are made based on thinking together. The relationship and activity begin to express constructive change. In an afterschool setting, the responsive and creative nature of the partnership activity becomes reflected throughout the program.
The Therapeutic Partnerships model can be offered within the Square Width program, or individually. This model was developed and implemented in the Children YES afterschool program at the Lincoln Square Neighborhood Center in 2011-2012. It was successful with clients that had been traumatized, going through a crisis, or language disabled. It has been successfully pioloted with both children and Adults.