Why Therapeutic Alliance Matters in Treating Addiction
When a person makes the choice to change the way they are living it is not an easy task, especially when it comes to freeing oneself from the burden of addiction. It is often said, if you want to change who you are, it requires changing what you do; for addicts and alcoholics such a change usually requires being admitted into treatment or seeking substance use disorder counseling. While there is no question that making the decision to seek assistance is vital, success often rests on the connection that a client makes with their counselor.
There are a number of different modalities that counselors use in treating addiction, but all is for naught if the counselor fails to create a bond with the client – what’s known as the “therapeutic alliance.” In fact, without a therapeutic alliance, the techniques a therapist uses could be rendered ineffective, Counseling Today reports. It is believed that a strong therapeutic relationships result in more positive client outcomes, compared to any other treatment interventions.
The idea, and recognized value, of the therapeutic alliance dates back to 1957, according to the article. In that year, Carl Rogers outlined what he considered to be necessary for achieving “constructive personality change.” In the Journal of Consulting Psychology, Rodgers stated that the counselor must:
- Be genuinely engaged in the therapeutic relationship.
- Have unconditional positive regard for the client.
- Feel empathy for the client.
- Clearly communicate these attitudes.
“Most scholars who write about the therapeutic alliance describe it as a relational factor in counseling that includes three dimensions: goal consensus between counselor and client, collaboration on counseling-related tasks and emotional bonding,” explains American Counseling Association member John Sommers-Flanagan. “The best ways to form and strengthen the alliance are specific counselor behaviors that contribute to those three ‘alliance’ dimensions. Focusing on these dimensions helps grow the therapeutic relationship.”
At Family Recovery Specialists, we put a lot of value in the therapeutic alliance, and we pair client and counselor with that in mind. We know that if the therapist/client dynamic is incompatible, the chance of a successful recovery is severely diminished. We want every client to have the best possible chance for recovery. We will utilize our extensive experience and expertise to find the right fit for you, giving you the best shot of experiencing the miracles of recovery.