The Therapeutic Alliance and Couples Therapy

The therapeutic alliance can be a tricky thing to navigate when working with couples!

The challenge lies in balancing the needs of one person against the needs of another person while tending to the health of their relationship. The therapeutic alliance consists of the therapist-client bond, agreement about therapeutic goals, and agreement about the tasks of therapy (Wampold, 2015).  

The therapeutic alliance is at the heart of therapy.  It is through the therapeutic relationship that healing takes place, and the therapeutic alliance fosters the belief and trust in the efficacy of therapy. This requires the therapist to continuously monitor the therapeutic alliance by directly asking clients about their experience, watching for nonverbal cues, and balancing their focus between both partners. Even more importantly, the couple’s therapist recognizes the couple rather than the individuals as the client.  This is important because it identifies the relationship as the source of dissatisfaction rather than the individuals.  As your couple’s therapist, I promise to do all of the above.