What do clients need to bring to speech-language therapy in order to have the greatest success? First, they need to be able to build a trusting relationship and be capable of being motivated to make a change. The ability to explore both their strengths and weakness is helpful. They also must be able to work in partnership. There is no magic cure, especially for high school students and adults the therapist does not know all the answers and can not just  “fix it.” It is through work and understanding that the greatest change will be found.

Important attributes for a successful client relationship:

  • Motivation
  • Ability to change
  • Self-awareness

Is working with children the same as working with adults? No, children are easily motivated either by internal or external means. Children do not have what they need. Instead, they are in the process of learning and most do not have an ability to self-reflect, but some do and others are easily taught. Children’s motivation if not internally present can be encouraged through the use of external rewards, games, points, stickers encouragement etc.  However, some children are aware of their difficulty from an early age and begin to develop dysfunctional strategies like avoidance to deal with their problems. Usually, those dysfunctional strategies must be dealt with early in therapy, so they don’t become lifelong habits. Since they are developing and many abilities are not on board it is easier to address dysfunctional behaviors as soon as they appear. Speech-language therapy requires both children and adults to deal with their dysfunctional behavior, be willing to change, and the ability to explore their strength and weaknesses in a trusting relationship.