Is it love? A study of young people’s personal impressions and experiences of relationships in residential care in a Norwegian treatment collective.
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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The main objective of this study was to gain insight into young people’s experiences with positive emotional relationships with staff in residential care. Because positive relationships have been shown to be of great importance for the outcomes of treatment, this study’s main objective was to obtain insight into what the young people found important in such relationships with staff members, and also how close they felt that these relations were. Eight young people living in a social pedagogy-based Norwegian treatment collective were interviewed regarding their emotional relationships with the treatment staff. Our findings reveal three dimensions of importance for the youths: emotional involvement from staff; an ability to put the youth in centre of attention: and finally an experience of subject-subject relations between staff and youths in an environment without use of physical restraint. These dimensions were in many ways connected to the fact that core staff live-in with the youth, and the resulting continuity and trust this engenders. The youths all reported that they had experienced emotional relations they characterised as containing love.