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  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings

Therapeutic Alliance

 

Maintaining graduate degrees in both counseling and social work, I market myself as a psychotherapist. While colloquially referred to as a “therapist,” I differentiate myself from physical therapists, occupational therapists, etc.

 

Nonetheless, most of my clients refer to me as their therapist. Despite how clients refer to me, there’s a major key factor for success within the field of mental, emotional, and behavioral health—the therapeutic alliance, sometimes referred to as a working alliance or therapeutic relationship.

 

This term alludes to the interaction between health care professionals and our clients. Per one source, “The alliance-outcome relationship has been consistently linked to positive treatment outcomes irrespective of psychotherapy modality.”

 

The therapeutic alliance in and of itself isn’t the only factor for successful treatment or the management of symptoms. After all, if I were to merely be amiable to a client and foster a pleasant conversational relationship without challenging unhelpful beliefs, this would constitute friendship and not a working alliance.

 

According to one source, “the optimal therapeutic alliance is achieved when patient and therapist share beliefs with regard to the goals of the treatment and view the methods used to achieve these as efficacious and relevant. Both actors accept to undertake and follow through their specific tasks.”

 

Crucial to success in the type of psychotherapy I offer is belief in the goals for treatment and management. For instance, if a client believed our therapeutic alliance would make other people suddenly stop behaving poorly, I don’t believe that aim would be practical.

 

Also, and although I don’t necessarily need to share political, religious, or other beliefs with my clients, it’s essential to share in the belief that Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) can work to reduce suffering. Without this component, each member of the therapeutic relationship is merely wasting time.

 

Once belief in goals and the psychotherapeutic method are established, a fundamental mechanism for success of the therapeutic alliance relies on mutual undertaking of specific tasks. As an example, clients complete negotiated homework exercises and I follow up with reviewing their work.

 

On page 23 of The REBT Therapist’s Pocket Companion, REBT practitioners are reminded about the importance of a beneficial therapeutic alliance. While various strategies and techniques may be employed to assist our clients, REBT clinicians rely heavily upon the working alliance.

 

Noteworthy, when prospective clients contact me and discover that I solely provide videoconferencing psychotherapy (VCP), it isn’t uncommon for these individuals to ask about whether or not psychotherapy in person (PIP) may foster a stronger alliance.

 

Regarding this matter, one source states, “In this meta-analysis, VCP and PIP did not differ with respect to the therapeutic alliance as rated by either patients or therapists.” These findings comport with my professional experience.

 

Another question I receive from potential clients relates to psychotherapeutic modalities, such as REBT, and the unique help-seeker’s presenting problems. This is why I offer an up-to 15-minute free telephonic consultation so that I may determine whether or not a particular person may benefit from the services I provide.

 

During this call, I assess for therapeutic relationship cohesiveness—exploring whether or not personalities, expectations, and goals are aligned. This is because I place significant importance on the quality of the working alliance.

 

Regarding this, one source states, “There is consistent evidence that the quality of the therapeutic alliance is linked to the success of psychotherapeutic treatment across a broad spectrum of types of patients, treatment modalities used, presenting problems, contexts, and measurements.”

 

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter how one refers to me—counselor, social worker, psychotherapist, or therapist. The key factor for psychotherapeutic success is the therapeutic alliance.

 

If you’re looking for a provider who works to help you understand how thinking impacts physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral elements of your life—helping you to sharpen your critical thinking skills, I invite you to reach out today by using the contact widget on my website.

 

As a psychotherapist, I’m pleased to help people with an assortment of issues ranging from anger (hostility, rage, and aggression) to relational issues, adjustment matters, trauma experience, justice involvement, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and depression, and other mood or personality-related matters.

 

At Hollings Therapy, LLC, serving all of Texas, I aim to treat clients with dignity and respect while offering a multi-lensed approach to the practice of psychotherapy and life coaching. My mission includes: Prioritizing the cognitive and emotive needs of clients, an overall reduction in client suffering, and supporting sustainable growth for the clients I serve. Rather than simply helping you to feel better, I want to help you get better!

 

 

Deric Hollings, LPC, LCSW

 

 

References:

 

Ardito, R. B. and Rebellino, D. (2011, October 18). Therapeutic alliance and outcome of psychotherapy: Historical excursus, measurements, and prospects for research. Frontiers in Psychology. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3198542/

Baier, A. L., Kline, A. C., and Feeny, N. C. (2020, December). Therapeutic alliance as a mediator of change: A systematic review and evaluation of research. Clinical Psychology Review. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0272735820301094

Dryden, W. and Neenan, M. (2003). The REBT Therapist’s Pocket Companion. Albert Ellis Institute. ISBN 0-917476-26-3. Library of Congress Control Number: 20031044378

Hollings, D. (2022, March 15). Disclaimer. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/disclaimer

Hollings, D. (2023, September 8). Fair use. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/fair-use

Hollings, D. (2023, October 12). Get better. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/get-better

Hollings, D. (n.d.). Hollings Therapy, LLC [Official website]. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/

Hollings, D. (2023, September 19). Life coaching. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/life-coaching

Hollings, D. (2023, March 4). M-E-T-H-O-D, man. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/m-e-t-h-o-d-man

Hollings, D. (2023, September 15). Psychotherapeutic modalities. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/psychotherapeutic-modalities

Hollings, D. (2022, March 25). Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT). Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/rational-emotive-behavior-therapy-rebt

Seuling, P. D., Fendel, J. C., Spille, L., Goritz, A. S., and Schmidt, S. (2023, March 28). Therapeutic alliance in videoconferencing psychotherapy compared to psychotherapy in person: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Sage Journals. Retrieved from https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1357633X231161774

Stubbe, D. E. (2018, October 18). The therapeutic alliance: The fundamental element of psychotherapy. Focus: Journal of Life Long Learning in Psychiatry. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6493237/

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