Counselor behaviors that predict therapeutic alliance formation: From the client’s perspective


By bhadmin February 2, 2021

The therapeutic alliance has been shown to be a robust predictor of counselling outcome. However, the specific counsellor behaviours that relate to the alliance have not been clearly and consistently identified, and prior attempts to identify these variables have not been typically based on client-derived conceptualizations of the alliance. A total of 79 adult counselling clients participated in a study examining the relationship between 15 client-identified counsellor behaviours and the strength of the therapeutic alliance. Correlational analyses revealed that 11 of the 15 behaviours moderately to strongly correlated with the strength of the alliance, and hierarchical regression analyses found that three particular counsellor behaviours (making encouraging statements, making positive comments about the client, and greeting the client with a smile) accounted for 62% of the variance in alliance scores. The findings suggest that seemingly small, strengths-fostering counsellor micro-behaviours can play a key role in strengthening therapeutic alliances. Given the role that alliance plays in positive counselling outcomes, it is suggested that these behaviours be tactfully implemented early on in the counselling process.

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