Therapeutic Alliance

Therapeutic alliance refers to the working relationship that exists between the therapist and the client. The most common definition of therapeutic alliance is the one by Edward Bordin. It describes the therapeutic alliance as having three interdependent components: (1) goal, (2) task, and (3) bond. Other theorists and researchers, however, may emphasize different aspects of the alliance. The term therapeutic alliance is often used interchangeably with the terms therapeutic relationship, working relationship, and working alliance.


The first task in the forming of a therapeutic alliance is reaching a shared understanding of the goals of treatment. According to Bordin’s theory, the goal pertains to both the defined target problems and the desired outcome of treatment. It may include varied goals such as symptom reduction, life enhancement, fostering ...

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