Fostering Change: Toward Understanding, Valuing, and Informing the Therapeutic Role of Foster Parents

Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Capstone

Degree Name



Graduate School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

Lavita Nadkarni

First Committee Member

Michael Karson

Second Committee Member

Claire Poole


Child welfare ; Adolescents; Children; Qualitative Research; Parent child relations ; Therapeutic alliance ; Parent training ; Foster parents ; Foster children ; Psychotherapeutic processes ; Foster care


Foster parents have the potential to effect lasting therapeutic change through their role with the children they temporarily foster. Therapists working with foster parents can understand, support, and inform foster parents in their role based on a commonality that exists between the roles of therapists and foster parents. Similarities at different stages of both the therapeutic and foster parenting relationships are addressed, as well as the use of these relationships in a therapeutic manner. Advantages (for foster parents, foster children, therapists, and the foster care system) of articulating the foster parenting relationship through the lens of the therapeutic relationship are also discussed. Future research into the experience of foster parents in their role will be essential in creating an effective and sustainable system of care for vulnerable children.


Copyright is held by the author. Permanently suppressed.


34 pages

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