'Role Clarification' or 'Role Induction' is a key component of the Pro-Social Modelling approach (Trotter, 1999). It is a process designed to introduce and inform clients about what to expect from treatment, as well as establishing an understanding of their own and the practitioner’s role. Within a wider 'working-alliance-fostering' approach, effective role induction often improves the bond between practitioner and client. It also addresses aspects of the ‘task of treatment’ element of the therapeutic alliance in terms of who will be responsible for what parts of the process of achieving the desired outcomes.
Incorporating role induction into the first session of psychosocial treatment is reported as producing a greater positive change in attitude towards treatment and improving subsequent client reports of perceived practitioner rapport and treatment satisfaction, as well as other measures of treatment engagement such as retention.
Across a range of services clients often commence treatment with preconceived ideas about what treatment will involve, how long it will last and how soon they can expect positive results. These expectations can be unrealistic and later on this can affect the efficacy of treatment. Role induction therefore reduces the probability that clients will leave treatment before their goals are reached
When working with people with Autism, there can often be a lack of definition or understanding between the practitioner and the person with autism, especially where the practitioner is not an autism specialist, and this can reduce the effectiveness of any support provided. When working with people with autism therefore, it is very important to provide a clearly defined description of the role of the practitioner and what they expect from the autistic person. An explicit process of role induction or role clarification can assist with this.
TROTTER, C. (1999). Working with Involuntary Clients. London: Sage Publishing.