Young people may seek support voluntarily, or under coercion from family or statutory workers. In either case, this is an opportunity for the practitioner to create an alignment with the young person and offer support from ‘outside’ their family or community ‘system’.

It is not only at engagement that positioning yourself alongside the young person is important. At all stages of a young person’s relationship with a practitioner, it is necessary to hear their story anew, with ‘fresh ears’, seeking new depth or angles to their story, and validating their experiences at every hurdle.

There are many elements from the evidence-informed therapeutic models which offer conceptual and practical skills in active listening for the purpose of creating an alliance with the young person. A comprehensive example of this can be found in Solutions Focused Therapy (SFT) with the concept of “Joining”