What is the therapeutic alliance?

The therapeutic alliance construct refers to the collaborative aspect of the relationship between therapist and client(s) in the context of psychotherapy. The conceptualization of the alliance that has been most prominent in individual psychotherapy, proposed by E.S. Bordin in 1979, includes three components: (1) an agreement between therapist and client about the goals of treatment, (2) an agreement about the therapy tasks needed to accomplish those goals, and (3) the emotional bond developed between therapist and client that allows the client to make therapeutic progress. The therapeutic alliance is undoubtedly a highly relevant construct in psychotherapy: In process-outcome research in individual psychotherapy, the most important finding that has emerged from a considerable number of studies is that the alliance assessed early in treatment predicts ultimate therapeutic success across a variety of clinical issues and treatment modalities.