Residential treatment for youth includes both care, such as basic care-taking tasks and pedagogical child-rearing tasks, and cure elements, such as the therapeutic milieu and individual treatment plans. With these elements, residential treatment aims to achieve a healthy development and a decrease of the present problems with youth. However, achieving enduring change with youth after they have left residential treatment is a great challenge. This challenge can be explained by care workers’ difficulties to establish good, genuine therapeutic relationships with individual youth. Furthermore, it can be explained by the commonly used treatment approach to achieve behavior change with youth during residential care. In this paper, I suggest that higher long-term effectiveness of residential treatment can be achieved by applying a combination of three treatment approaches. First, by focusing on youth’s individual needs and intrinsic motivations using the Self-Determination Theory (SDT) perspective. Second, by using the Common Factors model as residential care element to promote professionals’ interpersonal skills and good, genuine therapeutic relationships with youth. Third, by applying the Motivational Interviewing (MI) approach as a residential cure element. By integrating these approaches as intervention components, it is very likely that residential treatment will contribute to more enduring behavior changes with youth.

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Keywords therapeutic residential youth care, adolescents, SelfDetermination Theory, Common Factors model, motivational interviewing
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Journal Residential Treatment for Children and Youth
Harder, A.T. (2018). Residential care and cure. Residential Treatment for Children and Youth. Retrieved from