Evidence-based therapy relationships: research conclusions and clinical practices

Psychotherapy (Chic). 2011 Mar;48(1):98-102. doi: 10.1037/a0022161.


In this closing article of the special issue, we present the conclusions and recommendations of the interdivisional task force on evidence-based therapy relationships. The work was based on a series of meta-analyses conducted on the effectiveness of various relationship elements and methods of treatment adaptation. A panel of experts concluded that several relationship elements were demonstrably effective (alliance in individual psychotherapy, alliance in youth psychotherapy, alliance in family therapy, cohesion in group therapy, empathy, collecting client feedback) while others were probably effective (goal consensus, collaboration, positive regard). Three other relationship elements (congruence/genuineness, repairing alliance ruptures, and managing countertransference) were deemed promising but had insufficient evidence to conclude that they were effective. Multiple recommendations for practice, training, research, and policy are advanced.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Advisory Committees
  • Evidence-Based Medicine / methods*
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / therapy*
  • Professional-Patient Relations*
  • Psychotherapy / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome