Communication in youth mental health clinical encounters: Introducing the agential stance


When young people seek support from mental health care practitioners, the encounters may affect the young people’s sense of self, and in particular undermine their sense of agency. For this study, an interdisciplinary team of academics and young people collaboratively analysed video-recorded encounters between young people and mental healthcare practitioners in emergency services. They identified five communication techniques that practitioners can use to avoid undermining the young person’s sense of agency in the clinical encounter. They conceptualise the use of those techniques as the adoption of an agential stance towards the young person. The agential stance consists of: (a) validating the young person’s experiences, (b) legitimising the young person’s choice to seek help, (c) refraining from objectifying the young person, (d) affirming the young person’s capacity to contribute to positive change, and (e) involving the young person in the decision-making process.

Publication DOI:
Divisions: College of Health & Life Sciences > School of Psychology
College of Health & Life Sciences > Aston Institute of Health & Neurodevelopment (AIHN)
College of Health & Life Sciences
Additional Information: © The Author(s) 2022. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (
Uncontrolled Keywords: History and Philosophy of Science,General Psychology
Publication ISSN: 0959-3543
Last Modified: 22 May 2024 07:21
Date Deposited: 04 Jul 2022 08:55
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Related URLs: https://journal ... 593543221095079 (Publisher URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2022-10
Published Online Date: 2022-06-22
Accepted Date: 2022-06-01
Authors: Bergen, Clara
Bortolotti, Lisa
Tallent, Katherine
Broome, Matthew
Larkin, Michael (ORCID Profile 0000-0003-3304-7000)
Temple, Rachel
Fadashe, Catherine
Lee, Carmen
Lim, Michele C.
McCabe, Rose



Version: Published Version

License: Creative Commons Attribution

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