Therapeutic Alliance Essay

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The interaction between a counsellor and client and the way in which the counsellor reacts, responds and builds a relationship with their client is termed “therapeutic alliance”. Greenson (1967) describes therapeutic alliance as a “rational relationship between patient and analyst” (p. 46), and argues that this positive collaboration between therapist and patient is crucial for effective treatment. Further to this concept, Bordin (1979) outlines three major components: “(a) agreement on goals for treatment, (b) agreement on tasks to achieve those goals, and (c) the emotional bond of trust and attachment that develops between therapist and patient” (Bordin 1979 as cited from Diener & Argosy 2011, p. 238). There are various approaches to therapy such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Rational Emotive Behavioural Therapy, and Person Centred Therapy, to name a few. This essay concentrates on Carl Rogers’ person centred approach suggesting that therapeutic conditions such as congruence, unconditional positive regard and empathy are key to successful personal counselling and growth. Along with this are the basic micro skills used in counselling such as attentive listening, paraphrasing, reflective responses, probing and summarising. It is essential to realise the importance of using basic counselling skills. According to Palmer (2000) in order to be an effective helper it is important that the skills are identified, understood, learned and practiced repeatedly. It is also critical to recognize that the “ use of counselling skills is properly associated with therapeutic, helping or healing ends and not with self centred agendas” ( p. 4). Counselling skills are used in a wide range of settings where ‘people helping’ is involved. It is a medium for enhancing the professional role. The use of basic counselling skills not only helps in individual settings but is also

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