The Therapeutic Alliance: The Air That Therapy Breathes

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Jubany, Ashley
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The aim of this capstone is to highlight the implications of a weak therapeutic alliance between therapist and client(s). I propose that representation of marginalized communities, such as Indigenous, and LGBTQ+, BIPOC, as well as different cultures, could be enhanced with more focus and time dedicated to outlining the history of their experience with psychotherapy, especially with regard to therapeutic alliance. In my exploration, I draw from Deci and Ryan's Self-Determination Theory and Bowlby's Attachment Styles. Through these lenses, I propose that the therapeutic alliance can be best understood and evaluated. Autonomy, competency, and relatedness are the foundation of the self-determination model; People who feel empowered through the belief in their own autonomy, competency and relatedness have better outcomes in all areas of life. I suggest that the therapeutic bond will be strengthened when a therapist supports their clients' sense of autonomy, competence, and relatedness. Bowlby's Attachment Theory clearly lays out the varying attachment styles that can occur through insecure attachment to a caregiver in childhood. An awareness of which attachment style both therapist and client have, and how those two styles typically interplay with other each other in relationship, seems paramount in building and safeguarding a strong therapeutic alliance. Finally, I propose an action plan for new counsellors to become more acquainted, not only with the importance the therapeutic alliance, but also with the many factors that both feed and weaken it. It is my hope that this program can provide supplemental tools to the new counsellors, supporting them to begin their careers with more skill and confidence.
autonomy , competency , imposter syndrome , relatedness , self-determination theory , therapeutic alliance