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Meissner, W.W., S.J. (1992). The Concept of the Therapeutic Alliance. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 40:1059-1087.

(1992). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 40:1059-1087

The Concept of the Therapeutic Alliance

W. W. Meissner, S.J.


Certain conceptual aspects of the therapeutic alliance are considered. Although therapeutic alliance, transference, and the real relation are intermingled and intertwined in the actuality of the analytic relationship, they remain distinguishable and open to differentiating analysis. The distinctions between the therapeutic alliance and transference, and between alliance and the real relation, are explored and their differences clarified, including the difference between therapeutic misalliances and transferences. Some of the component dimensions of the therapeutic alliance are explored, including empathy, the therapeutic framework, responsibility, authority, freedom, trust, autonomy, initiative, and ethical considerations including values and confidentiality. Further exploration of these and other dimensions of the therapeutic alliance is called for, especially the extension of these dimensions to their practical clinical application.

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