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Creating a Therapeutic Alliance

man meets with therapist

For the majority of people in treatment for a substance use disorder, therapy is one of the most valuable tools on the road to recovery. Many people with addictions have co-occurring mental health disorders or a history of trauma that needs to be addressed to experience true healing and lasting sobriety. A therapist is trained to identify and treat these issues with a combination of techniques and a plan tailored to the client’s specific needs. For therapy to be successful, it is important that the therapist and the client are on the same page at every step of the process. This mutual cooperation is known as a therapeutic alliance.

Creating a Therapeutic Alliance

The building blocks of a therapeutic alliance include several key qualities found in the relationship between a therapist and their client. It is critical to the success of each therapy session that the therapist and client have similar goals. This means discussing and agreeing upon what facets of the client’s life need the most work, and what the client would like to achieve in terms of both mental health goals and more concrete objectives. Additionally, it is important that the therapist and client both cooperate when determining “homework” for each session. The client needs to be willing to open themselves up to tasks that may cause some discomfort, while the therapist needs to be reasonable and understanding about a client’s anxiety or apprehension.

Reinforcing the Therapeutic Alliance

A therapeutic alliance is strengthened by the emotional bond between a therapist and their client. While professionalism should always be maintained, it is important that a client trusts and feels cared for by their therapist. Additionally, the client can foster a healthy alliance by keeping an open mind and being vulnerable and honest during therapy sessions. These basic components of a therapeutic alliance have been shown to have a huge impact on the success of therapy, especially for those in recovery from addiction. 

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, now is the time to reach out for help. At Arbor Behavioral Healthcare, you will meet knowledgeable, compassionate professionals who understand addiction in all its forms. The Arbor uses an integrative and holistic approach to treat addiction and mental health issues. No treatment is one-size-fits-all, and at The Arbor you will have a team of experts prepared to create your customized treatment plan. We offer care for your mind, body, and spirit so you can heal from the inside out and look forward to a lifetime of sobriety and wellness. If you are ready to take the first step in your recovery, please call us today at 844-413-2690.