The Matching Process Between Therapist and Client: How to Magically Land on Therapeutic Alliance

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Chan, Hiu
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Therapeutic alliance (TA), the quality of the connection between therapist and client, is a well-researched concept in the psychotherapy literature. Despite the immense amount of studies and discussions on TA's role as a necessary foundation for therapeutic efficacy, therapists are not trained to educate their clients about TA, and TA is not a known phenomenon to therapy seekers. As awareness of how individual and collective privileges and discriminations are determined by the dominant social structures in place grows, consideration of TA and therapist's reflexivity become crucial to practice ethically and anti-oppressively. In addition to providing an overview of the makeup of TA, this paper inquires into the influences of intersectionality theory, attachment theory, and interpersonal neurobiology through an intersectional feminist and anti-colonial lens. The failure to integrate TA into therapist education, training, practice, and communication with clients sees implications for the profession of psychotherapy and clients' access to appropriate and efficacious mental health care. Recommendations are offered to encourage TA- and trauma-informed, person-centered, relational, and decolonial practices.
therapeutic alliance , therapeutic efficacy , intersectionality , attachment , interpersonal neurobiology
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States , openAccess