The Therapeutic Alliance
The therapeutic alliance has been described as a good personal match between the personalities of patient and psychotherapist, or a specific type of helpful relationship between therapist and patient. How therapist and patient relate to one another, and how this relation affects and is affected by the patient’s emotional difficulties effective shapes how the duo understands the patient’s difficulties, and how each participant discusses or addresses managing these difficulties. Attention by the therapist to the therapeutic alliance is now considered of paramount importance in what happens in psychotherapy.
Some factors that affect the therapeutic alliance predate the patient meeting the psychotherapist. Both therapist and patient have, after all, different temperaments, and they have each developed somewhat-distinct styles of relating to others. The therapist should be mindful of these various kinds of personality factors, and he/she should engage in conversation about this with the patient as it affects their relationship, in order for patient and therapist to achieve enough common ground to work together.