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The term therapeutic alliance means the relationship between mental therapists for example; psychiatrist, psychologist, social workers mental health counselors and their clients. Evidence shows that strong therapeutic relationships usually results to better outcomes in therapy. It’s evident when the client being attended feels comfortable with the therapists. The client tries to have a sense of common goals with the therapist, and feels safe in the therapy process. Therapeutic alliance aims to incorporate clients preferences and objectives into treatment by outlining thoroughly, methods of accomplishing those objectives. The counselor is obliged to listen to the client without making any judgment or giving unwarranted advice. This means that without any positive relationship between the counselor and the client then there are chances of having no treatment progress.
A good relationship between the two may be one of the most important variable elements for predicting client responses to any intervention. It accounts for more differences in treatment outcomes than any single client traits. Extensive studies on the effects of the therapeutic alliances shows that a lot research works have been carried out on VA clinics, outpatients units, medical management clinics and inpatients units. Research experts have also established that good interpersonal skills are more essential than any professional training in achieving good treatment outcomes. Most of the research studies of therapeutic alliances have shown that client ratings on the clients-clinicians relationships are the best predictor of any client’s satisfactions. If client believes that you can’t help him in changing his behavior, then he is unlikely going to overcome their personal resistance to treatment.
Secondly, the client and the clinician must have a strong relationship for the outcomes to be positive. Most of the treatment programs have shown that the type of the therapy contributes insignificantly to the treatment outcomes. Furthermore, the therapeutic bonds are not highly correlated with the length of time taken to provide the services. A strong client-clinician relationship can be created during the length of time taken in conducting the medical interview. By the end of the interview the client is in a position to decide whether to visit the doctor again.
Thirdly, the counselor self –awareness about the matters can also significantly develop a positive relationship between the two. The clinician must actively listen to the client properly and monitor their own responses to the client. However, the self –awareness can negatively affect the relationship if the clinician spends a lot time focusing on their own achievement and not of their clients. More over, it’s important for the counselor to maintain a positive relationship with the family members of the client since they can be a great influence in the life of the client. If this doesn’t exist well then the outcome of the treatment may be poor.
Lastly, it’s essential for the clinician to cultivate hope in the life of the clients especially those experiencing stress, difficulties and other problems. It has been shown that hope help to create a sense of cure in those with co-occurring disorders hence for any successful treatment outcomes it must be created. The two parties must understand, accept and respect each other. The clinician should know that the client has a problem and he should solve it. First he should create a room of hope in the mind of the clients by welcoming warmly. The counselor must possess the attributes to a positive therapeutic relationship such as; non-possessiveness warmth, respect, affirmation, friendliness and empathy. The clinical-client alliance is highly beneficial when the clinician is actively listening to the client. During the interview the speaker is sealed off from the listener incase of any judgment. The listener should not give advice to the client unless asked directly to do so. Giving the advice to the client may lessen the strength of the relationship and make the client feel that you are not listening to him. The clinician should just clarify the issues with the client and not to tell the client what he thinks should be done.
Remember, the outcome of the therapy will heavily depend on how the clinician will be reacting to the client’s verbal and non-verbal cue. Reflective listening will greatly help to clarify and correct any misunderstandings between the two. There are several suggestions that the clinician can use to develop and maintain a positive therapeutic relationship. First, the counselor should support the client’s drive to achieve the goals set by them. It may be quite essential to the client if you periodically review the goals for more clarifications during counseling sessions. Secondly, you should always offer understanding and unconditional acceptance to the client thoughts. It is also essential for you as a clinician to develop a positive liking of the client in some ways so that he can feel that you care his problem. If the client finds that you dislike even his characters then he may opt to develop a negative attitude on you. Some clients are violent, alcoholic abusive and have no respect. However, you deserve to find something special to like them. It could his humor, laugh or sweet melodic voice. This can greatly help in developing alliance in both of you.
To add on that, help the client in holding and finding activities that maintains a positive level of functioning. This includes finding activities that will serve as an alternative to that bad situation the client is wallowing in of abusing substances thus harming his body. Moreover, aim to offer the client hopeful attitude and assure him that you will fully help to attain them. Whenever, needed recognize and praise the client on various progresses they have achieved. This includes the client showing up counseling session, asking questions, answering and even participating in games. Some counselors and clinicians use hygienic motivators such as foods, money and other rewards to hold their clients. These rewards can have a positive effect in ensuring that the alliance develops further. In addition, that some clients who want to express themselves verbally should be given that freedom in order to retain and make them feel encouraged. When a clinician recognizes that there is a rift developing between you, be the first to speak it out. Whenever you mistakes acknowledge your mistakes and apologize to the client to repair the alliance and model a positive relationship and behavior.
Furthermore, it has been found that treatment matching can also help in ensuring that the relationship between the clinician and client is cultivated and eventually have a positive outcome of therapy. Treatment matching is defined as a process where certain profile of clients are said to have successfully benefited from their therapeutic treatment if matched with those clinician that like, whom they had initially met before. According to the various researches carried out through interviews with some the clients after the process, it was found that most of the clients have a psychological preparedness and believes that they will receive best results possible. Secondly, the clinician had already developed a positive attitude and understands the client well hence successful therapy.
In conclusion, good alliance between the client and clinician is highly essential for there to be best therapeutic services to the client. This will not only aim to ensure better services but also ample working environment for working. Clients deserve to be matched to those respective clients having positive attitude in them for them to reap the best services ever.