Therapeutic Alliances in Couple and Family Therapy: An Empirically Informed Guide to Practice

Pages: 338
Item #: 4317093
ISBN: 978-1-59147-331-2
List Price: $19.95
Member/Affiliate Price: $19.95
Copyright: 2006
Format: Hardcover
Availability: In Stock
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For individuals in the U.S. & U.S. territories


Therapeutic Alliances in Couple and Family Therapy demonstrates the crucial importance of healthy working relationships with clients in couple and family therapy. The authors' conceptual model (System for Observing Family Therapy Alliances, or SOFTA) integrates theory, research, and practice related to the alliance in couple and family therapy. The authors demonstrate how to gather evidence about working alliances by tracking specific positive and negative behaviors in therapy sessions, including clients' as well as therapists' behavioral contributions to the alliance.

Therapists, therapists-in-training, and clinical supervisors can use the SOFTA to assess the strength of the alliance on four dimensions (Engagement in the Therapeutic Process, Emotional Connection With the Therapist, Safety Within the Therapeutic System, and Shared Sense of Purpose Within the Family) and figure out a strategy to move the therapy forward.

The book is rich in clinical case examples illustrating each SOFTA dimension with culturally diverse couples and families. Throughout, the authors discuss various challenging clinical situations, including "split" alliances, therapist countertransference, problematic professional alliances, and working with involuntary and mandated clients.

The observational and self-report instruments, available in both English and Spanish, are included as part of the book. They are also available free, along with a software version. Users can download their own videos into the software to rate the alliance for clinical or research purposes.

Couple and family therapists, their supervisors, academics and graduate students, and researchers will all benefit from this book.

Table of Contents



I. Overview

  1. Therapeutic Alliance in Psychotherapy
  2. Introducing the System for Observing Family Therapy Alliances
  3. Observing the Alliance

II. SOFTA Dimensions

  1. Engagement in the Therapeutic Process
  2. Emotional Connection With the Therapist
  3. Safety Within the Therapeutic System
  4. Shared Sense of Purpose Within the Family
  5. Building Blocks of the Alliance

III. Alliance Challenges and Opportunities

  1. Repairing Split Alliances
  2. Diversity Within the Alliance
  3. Therapy With Unwilling and Mandated Clients
  4. Zero-Sum Problems
  5. Therapist Countertransference
  6. Misalliances Between Professional Helpers

IV. Conclusion

  1. Building and Maintaining Healthy Alliances


  1. SOFTA–o (Client and Therapist) and SOATIF–o (Client and Therapist)
  2. SOFTA–s (Client and Therapist) and SOATIF–s (Client and Therapist)
  3. Constructions of Problems Scale and Summary Profile



About the Authors