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The Importance Of The Therapeutic Relationship

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There are many variables that influence the success of therapy for the client, none more so than the therapeutic relationship. The therapeutic relationship is defined as the strength and collaborative relationship between the client and therapist that emphasises mutually agreed goals and tasks within the context of a strong affective bond (Horvath, 1994.) In the therapeutic relationship, the clinician offers care, touch, compassion, presence, and any other act or attitude that would foster healing, and expects nothing in return (Trout, 2013.) Some clinicians believe that the “therapeutic relationship is a precondition of change, others as the fertile soil that permits change, while others see it as the central mechanism of change itself” (Norcross, 2010.) This is not to devalue other variables that impact the success of the therapy such as client involvement and the treatment method.
During the twentieth century, innovations in technology such as the ability to record therapy sessions, made possible the exploration of empirically reliable research into psychotherapy. Along with many other researchers, Carl Rogers turned his interest to the therapeutic relationship. Rogers recognised that to be in a therapeutic relationship with another person takes practise, discipline and consciousness as the therapist must suspend their innate tendency to see themselves as the centre of their world in order to put the patients’ needs above their own. Bordin (1976, 1980, 1994) established a
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