Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

2019 Edition
| Editors: Jay L. Lebow, Anthony L. Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Therapeutic Alliance in Couple and Family Therapy

  • Sean D. DavisEmail author
  • Vived Gonzalez
  • Sadaf Sahibzada
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_508


The therapeutic alliance refers to the interpersonal relationship between the therapist and his or her clients. The therapeutic alliance forms the foundation for almost all of the work done in couple and family therapy (CFT). Without a therapeutic alliance, CFT would be nothing more than a collection of ideas in books. Models and their interventions either come alive or die in their delivery by the therapist via the therapeutic alliance. A strong therapeutic alliance has consistently been shown to be an important element of effective couple and family therapy (Sprenkle et al. 2009). This is true across CFT models, including experiential/humanistic models that place a high priority on the alliance (e.g., emotionally focused therapy), models that can be more rigid and formulaic (e.g., cognitive-behavioral therapy), and even models that explicitly try to downplay the importance of the therapeutic alliance (e.g., strategic therapy). The alliance has been shown to be similarly...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sean D. Davis
    • 1
    Email author
  • Vived Gonzalez
    • 1
    • 2
  • Sadaf Sahibzada
    • 1
  1. 1.California School of Professional PsychologyAlliant International UniversitySacramentoUSA
  2. 2.Alliant International UniversityIrvineUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Jessica Rohlfing Pryor
    • 1
  1. 1.The Family Institute at Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA