VIDEO: The Power of Predictability

The Cornerstone of a Strong Therapeutic Alliance

It’s not easy to build trust and empathy with young clients, especially those who’ve experienced attachment trauma. According to Martha Straus, the author of No-Talk Therapy for Children and Adolescents, the key to getting through to these clients lies in creating an atmosphere of familiarity and reliability.

Here, she shares a simple, reliable method you can use to position yourself as a safe attachment figure.
Predictability promotes change for these young clients, Straus says, making them feel safe and appreciated. “For a lot of these kids, people haven’t really been reliable for them,” Straus says. “For many, I’m the only grown-up they know.”

Even small steps like calling, emailing, or texting a young client ahead of time to confirm an appointment can make a big difference in how they feel, she says. “These kids need reliable adults. Especially for those who have chaotic lives, this kind of structure is incredibly important.”

Martha Straus

Martha Straus, PhD, a professor in the Department of Clinical Psychology at Antioch University New England, is the author of No-Talk Therapy for Children and Adolescents, Adolescent Girls in Crisis, and Treating Traumatized Adolescents: Development, Attachment, and the Therapeutic Relationship.



Rich Simon

Richard Simon, PhD, founded Psychotherapy Networker and served as the editor for more than 40 years. He received every major magazine industry honor, including the National Magazine Award. Rich passed away November 2020, and we honor his memory and contributions to the field every day.