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Meissner, W.W. (2007). Therapeutic Alliance: Theme and Variations. Psychoanal. Psychol., 24(2):231-254.

(2007). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 24(2):231-254

Therapeutic Alliance: Theme and Variations

W. W. Meissner, M.D.

The therapeutic alliance is often misconceived, misunderstood, or ignored in conceptualizing the therapeutic process and the therapeutic relation in analysis and other forms of therapy. Conversely, I will argue that the alliance is indispensable in all forms of therapy. After briefly outlining the nature of the alliance, I discuss some of the empirical findings regarding its utility in various therapeutic contexts. I then consider its role and function in various therapeutic settings other than adult analysis and psychotherapy, including child analysis, treating various forms of psychopathology, and related contexts like supervision, forensic psychiatry, and hospital and medical treatment. The alliance plays a definite but analogous role in all of these, with differences according to context.

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