Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

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

Alliance in Family Relationships

  • Jody RussonEmail author
  • Maliha Ibrahim
  • Guy S. Diamond
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_846

Name of Concept

Alliance in family relationships


Alliance refers to the factors that allow clients to accept and engage in psychotherapy (Bordin 1979). This construct is the most robust predictor of psychotherapy outcome and has been investigated for several decades (Barber et al. 2000).

Theoretical Context for Concept

Early in the history of psychotherapy, Carl Rogers’ (1951) emphasis on unconditional positive regard made the relationship central to the achievement of therapeutic gains. Building off of Rogerian concepts, Bordin (1979) conceptualized alliance as consisting of three components.

Specifically, the client and therapist must (a) develop a trusting relationship (bond), (b) establish agreement on what the client wants to change (goals), and (c) obtain agreement on how to go about changing (tasks). Bordin’s framework served as the foundation for decades of theoretical and empirical work on alliance.


Alliance in family relationships refers to a trusting...

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  1. Barber, J. P., Connolly, M. B., Crits-Christoph, P., Gladis, L., & Siqueland, L. (2000). Alliance predicts patients’ outcome beyond in-treatment change in symptoms. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 68(6), 1027.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
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  6. Safran, J. D., & Muran, J. C. (2000). Negotiating the therapeutic alliance: A relational treatment guide. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Family Intervention ScienceDrexel UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Center for Family InterventionDrexel UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Heather Pederson
    • 1
  • Diana Semmelhack
    • 2
  1. 1.Council for RelationshipsPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Midwestern UniversityDowners GroveUSA