Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

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

Alliance Repair in Couple and Family Therapy

  • Jacob Z. GoldsmithEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_556


Therapeutic alliance repair; Working alliance repair; Working relationship repair


The working relationship between client(s) and therapist, called the alliance, is one of the powerful common factors in successful psychotherapy (Friedlander et al. 2006). Problems in the alliance, called ruptures, are common and may occur for a variety of reasons. The process of rectifying such a rupture is called alliance repair. Repairs can take a variety of forms, depending on the rupture, but should be executed quickly according to the general guidelines described below.

Theoretical Context

Psychotherapy alliance is the working relationship between client and therapist. Edward Bordin (1979) defined alliance as agreement between client and therapist on the tasks and goals of therapy, in addition to the presence of an interpersonal bond. Agreement on tasks involves a shared understanding (between client(s) and therapist) of what is occurring in the therapy room (e.g., the choice...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Family Institute at Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Rachel M. Diamond
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Saint JosephWest HartfordUSA