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Therapeutic Relationship


Our current research addresses the question how the alliance between the therapist and the client contributes to the change in psychotherapy, by describing in fine grained detail the interactive processes through which the therapeutic collaboration, the core dimension of the alliance, is developed and articulated, in a moment to moment level, with the client's change. For that purpose, we constructed a research tool: the Therapeutic Collaboration Coding System (TCCS). The TCCS assesses how the therapist's interventions respond to the client's needs and capacities expressed in their previous actions and whether or not the client's responses affirm the therapist's proposals. This line of research departs from a developmental framework assuming that client's change and the therapeutic collaboration are developmental processes in nature and are connected on a moment-to-moment basis, throughout therapy. 
Based on the concept of Zone of proximal development, we assume that client's change occur in a therapeutic zone of proximal development and the therapeutic collaboration is the therapist and client joint effort to work within that zone. Our previous case studies on different therapy approaches and outcomes have supported the theoretical suggestion that therapy is most likely to be effective if the dyad works preferentially within the client's TZPD. ​In the next years we aim to consolidate and strengthen confidence in the therapeutic collaboration model by replicating our studies in a theoretical and empirical bases. We intend to continue along two main research lines: 1) studying the development of therapeutic collaboration in combination with other psychological process variables; 2) studying the therapeutic collaboration in combination with biological variables. ​