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Resistance of the adolescent to casework services : relationship of emancipatory efforts and psychosexual conflicts of adolescence to resistance shown in treatment at the Child Guidance Clinic, Vancouver Beck, Dorothy Joan

Abstract

This study of resistance of the adolescent to casework services was undertaken in an effort to determine if any relationship existed between the resistance shown and the emancipatory efforts and psychosexual conflicts of this age. Thirty adolescents showing resistance throughout their casework contact at the Child Guidance Clinic of Vancouver were used in this connection. These thirty adolescents showed four main patterns of resistance. The majority of 50%, showed progressive resistance over their contact with the agency. The next largest group of 20% showed swings in resistance; generally manifesting more resistance initially and terminally than in the exploratory period of casework. The third group of 16 2/3% showed consistent participation or resistance throughout their clinic contact and evidenced little movement during this time. The last group of 13 1/3%, were decreasingly resistant as casework proceeded and appeared to be the group who externalized and worked through their initial resistance most successfully. Of the thirty adolescents who were diagnosed as in need of intensive casework treatment; only four continued treatment at the clinic. Three other youngsters were referred elsewhere for help; and 23 ceased treatment of any kind as a direct result of their resistance. This resistance seemed intimately connected with the adolescent stage of development. Emancipatory efforts, interfered with treatment in 60% of the cases. Oedipal attachments to parents complicated the treatment relationship in 30% of the cases; and inability to relate precluded use of treatment in 10% of this group. The fact that these adolescents all came from homes in which parent-child difficulties predominated meant that the normal solution of adolescent problems were hindered. It leads us to believe that resistance to casework is an almost inevitable consequence of such distorted family settings. To cope with such resistance implies that we must first of all be alert to resistances, which may be overt or latent, in our first contact with the adolescent client. Use of the peer group in treatment settings needs to be explored further. Increased integration of community resources is vital if full use is to be made of existing sources of help by the adolescent in need of assistance. Also, new resources; such as a residential treatment center; professionally led parent education groups, etc., must be established to reach the difficult group of clients. More attention must be given, also, to the caseworker dealing with these resistant clients; if her own anxiety in the face of the client's withdrawal is not to increase such tendencies in the adolescent. A follow-up study of the results of casework help to such resistant adolescents needs to be done if we are to know the value of spending our time with these difficult clients.

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