© 2017

Therapeutic Alliances with Families

Empowering Clients in Challenging Cases

  • Provides strategies and interventions aimed at empowering couples and families in therapy

  • Focuses on how to build alliances

  • Offers an evidence-based approach to practice

  • Utilizes detailed case examples


Part of the Focused Issues in Family Therapy book series (FIFT)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvii
  2. Valentín Escudero, Myrna L. Friedlander
    Pages 1-35
  3. Valentín Escudero, Myrna L. Friedlander
    Pages 37-54
  4. Valentín Escudero, Myrna L. Friedlander
    Pages 55-81
  5. Valentín Escudero, Myrna L. Friedlander
    Pages 83-98
  6. Valentín Escudero, Myrna L. Friedlander
    Pages 127-155
  7. Valentín Escudero, Myrna L. Friedlander
    Pages 157-180
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 181-229

About this book


This practical breakthrough introduces a robust framework for family and couples therapy specifically designed for working with difficult, entrenched, and court-mandated situations. Using an original model (the System for Observing Family Therapy Alliances, or SOFTA) suitable to therapists across theoretical lines, the authors detail special challenges, empirically-supported strategies, and alliance-building interventions organized around common types of ongoing couple and family conflicts. Copious case examples illustrate how therapists can empower family members to discover their agency, find resources to address tough challenges, and especially repair their damaged relationships. These guidelines also show how to work effectively within multiple relationships in a family without compromising therapist focus, client individuality, or client safety.

Included in the coverage:

  • Using the therapeutic alliance to empower couples and families
  • Couples’ cross-complaints
  • Engaging reluctant adolescents…and their parents
  • Parenting in isolation, with or without a partner
  • Child maltreatment: creating therapeutic alliances with survivors of relational trauma
  • Disadvantaged, multi-stressed families: adrift in a sea of professional helpers
  • Empowering through the alliance: a practical formulation
Therapeutic Alliances with Families offers powerful new tools for social workers, mental health professionals, and practitioners working in couple and family therapy cases with reluctant clients and seeking specific, practical case examples and resources for alliance-related interventions.         


Therapeutic alliance Working alliance Resistance Unwilling clients Mandated clients Child maltreatment Multi-stressed families High conflict couples High conflict families

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.University of A CoruñaA CoruñaSpain
  2. 2.University at Albany/SUNYAlbanyUSA

About the authors

Valentín Escudero, PhD, is a Professor of Psychology at the University of A Coruña, Spain, and Director of the Family Intervention and Care Research Unit (UIICF). The UIICF is a Family Therapy Center, where four prestigious programs of family therapy research and family therapy training have taken place from 1999.  A psychotherapist and family therapist widely recognized by European institutions, Escudero is also an Adjunct Clinical Professor at the University at Albany, State University of New York, USA. He was a Visiting professor for three years at the Vrije Universitate Brussels (2007-2011) and a Visiting Researcher at the Centre for Family Policy and Child Welfare, at the University of Bristol, UK (2006-2007). Escudero is co-author with M. Friedlander and L. Heatherington of the SOFTA (System for Observing Family Therapy Alliances). Associate Editor of the Journal of Family Therapy, he has published in the Journal of Family Therapy, Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, Psychotherapy, Psychotherapy Research, and Journal of Counseling Psychology. Aside from his respected profile as researcher, Escudero is the Director of the Therapy Program for Vulnerable Children and Families, which is the primary program of psychotherapy for the Child Protective Services of the Galician Regional Government (a program that includes 7 therapy centers). 

Myrna L. Friedlander, PhD, is a Professor in the Counseling Psychology PhD program at the University at Albany/State University of New York, where she served as Training Director from 1999 to 2016.  She has supervised master’s and doctoral students for over 35 years and published more than 140 book chapters and journal articles, including several self-report instruments and observational coding systems, primarily related to the processes of psychotherapy and supervision. She has co-authored two books, Critical Events in Psychotherapy Supervision: An Interpersonal Approach (2005), and Therapeutic Alliances with Couples and Families: An Empirically Informed Guide to Practice (Friedlander, Escudero, & Heatherington, 2006). A Fellow of the American Psychological Association, she has served on the editorial boards of six journals and received awards for her lifetime contribution to research by the University at Albany, the Society for Counseling Psychology (American Psychological Association), and the American Family Therapy Association.  A licensed psychologist in New York State, she has been in independent practice for over 30 years.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Therapeutic Alliances with Families
  • Book Subtitle Empowering Clients in Challenging Cases
  • Authors Valentín Escudero
    Myrna L. Friedlander
  • Series Title Focused Issues in Family Therapy
  • Series Abbreviated Title Focused Issues in Family Therapy
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer International Publishing AG 2017
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Behavioral Science and Psychology Behavioral Science and Psychology (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-319-59368-5
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-319-86609-3
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-319-59369-2
  • Series ISSN 2520-1190
  • Series E-ISSN 2520-1204
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XVIII, 230
  • Number of Illustrations 2 b/w illustrations, 4 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Psychotherapy and Counseling
    Social Work
  • Buy this book on publisher's site