Cultivating a Therapeutic Alliance

CE Hours: 4.0
Cost: $48
Instructor: C. Wayne Jones, PhD

Forming and sustaining a therapeutic alliance with each family member is critical to successful family based treatment. Getting there, however, when working with children who have SED and their multi-stressed families, can be fraught with many obstacles and challenges. This course describes common challenges therapists face when working with family members who may have competing needs and agendas, and who are in conflict with one another. General principles for creating a therapeutic alliance are identified. In addition, specific practical strategies for working through each of the most common threats to the alliance are highlighted.

This is a Intermediate Level course. The target audience is all behavioral health professionals working with children and adolescents.

Learning Objectives

1. Identify the nature of a therapeutic alliance.
2. Describe basic principles for creating a therapeutic alliance.
3. View challenges as opportunities and positively reframe resistance.
4. Describe common predictable challenges to the therapeutic alliance in working with SED children and their families.
5. Implement specific strategies for working through the most common threats to the alliance.
6. Describe key strategies to overcome challenges or resistance and build more effective alliances.

This course uses an online distance-learning self-paced format.  It includes recorded audio, recorded video-based webinars, and selected readings.  There are post-tests to ensure comprehension of the material. Participants can communicate with the instructors via the online moodle interface. Real-time communication with the instructor in our online, self-paced distance learning courses is not possible. However, participants can send an email to the instructor via the online moodle interface within the course and expect to receive a response within 48 hours. All course content, including post-tests, should take approximately four hours to complete.

Course Outline

  • Unit 1: The Nature and Importance of the Therapeutic Alliance (50 minutes)
    • Webinar: Defining the Elements of a Therapeutic Alliance in Family Therapy
    • Reading: Creating the Therapeutic System in Setting the Stage
  • Unit 2: The Role of Meta-Communication in Alliance Building (30 minutes)
    • Webinar: Examining Therapists Meta-Messages
    • Reading: The Therapist’s Nonverbal Dance
    • Video: Am I a God Listener?
  • Unit 3: Challenges to the Therapeutic Alliance (40 minutes)
    • Webinar: Identifying Caregiver and Child Challenges to the Alliance
    • Reading: Why Teens Hate Therapy
  • Unit 4: Resistance from a Systems Perspective (50 minutes)
    • Webinar: The Reasons Family Members May Appear Resistant
    • Reading on handling negative reactions from clients
  • Unit 5: Strategies for Building Strong Therapeutic Alliances (Approx 50 minutes)
    • Webinar & Handouts: Strategies for Defusing Resistance and Building Alliance
    • Reading: Managing Negative Reactions to Clients


Frequently Asked Questions
Visit our Online Course Policies for additional information regarding the CFBT online learning center, accommodations for disabilities, reporting problems with the course, instructions for viewing webinars, etc.

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