Engagement is the process of effectively joining with family members to set shared goals for treatment by establishing a relationship of respectful curiosity about individual and family strengths and needs. It involves empathy, careful listening, sensitivity, humor, and compassion. It demonstrates mutual engagement: that you are where you want to be — with this family at this time — and ready to give your full attention. Engagement is not a point in time, but every point in time can contribute to engagement.

CONTRIBUTION TO THE OUTCOME: The practitioner’s stance with a youth and family is the foundation for effectively joining in a positive, family-centered therapeutic relationship that endures throughout the course of treatment. Engagement contributes to a relationship in which the family, IHT practitioners, and other team members can work together to improve the youth’s emotional, social, and behavioral health. Ongoing engagement demonstrates that IHT is flexible and responsive to practical considerations, respectful of family culture, and intentionally seeking and building on family strengths. Engagement reinforces shared hope for the future.