The value of rapport in rangatahi Maori mental health: A Maori social work perspective

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This resource, a thesis written by Hannah Aroha Mooney in 2010, examines the rapport building that occurs between rangatahi Maori whaiora (adolescent Maori who use mental health services) and Maori social workers in the field of community mental health.

Six Maori social workers were interviewed to explore how they view and practice rapport building with rangatahi Maori whaiora. The Maori social workers were able to provide valuable perspectives based on years of personal and professional experience. The research was conducted using a social constructionist perspective, informed and guided by Maori-centred research principles.

A qualitative research method was used and both Massey University and Maori ethical considerations thoroughly explored. Face to face interviews guided by an integrated practice framework, enabled the voices of the Maori social workers to be heard, eliciting in detail where their views have come from. The findings from the research showed that Maori social workers view rapport as essential in their practice and therefore they practice in a way that facilitates this with rangatahi.

The social workers utilise their values and beliefs in their practice, according to their worldview; how they were raised; what they have experienced, and what they have learned. Specifically, Maori social workers identified the importance of practicing with a Maori worldview, therefore enabling physical connection, spiritual connection, and cultural connection with the rangatahi.

These all contributed towards rapport building with the rangatahi and also their whanau. The importance of action reflection processes were also highlighted. This is due to the balance required from Maori social workers to fulfil the needs of the rangatahi as aligned with their values and beliefs, while meeting the requirements of the organisation, profession and wider community. This thesis explores these key findings.

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