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The value of the Therapeutic Alliance with guest Dr Alice Nicholls, PsychWorks Associates psychologist

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Notes to Episode

In this episode, I talk to Dr Alice Nicholls about the therapeutic alliance and how to cultivate a productive relationship with our clients.


psychology, case manager, solicitor, therapist, care team, therapy team, legal team, working relationship, therapeutic alliance, rapport, emotional bond, client-centred, person-centred, counselling, unconditional positive regard, recruitment, support worker, litigation, problem-solving, paralysis, listening, validation, connecting, pain, upset, suffering, needs, trauma, safety, containment, manipulation, communication, safety, honesty, professionalism, goals, values, collaboration, help, compassion, cultural or religious factors, openness, respect, boundaries, relatable, checking, connection, rupture and repair, at-risk behaviours, sustainability.

2:57 What is the therapeutic alliance?
6:39 A metaphoric exercise
9:58 Overcoming paralysis in a case
11:53 The impact of trauma
14:13 Feelings of manipulation when emotions are high
16:59 Bringing your professional needs to the table
18:47 Being values led and transparent
20:03 Framing your work as ‘help’
21:19 Religious and cultural factors
22:21 Being more approachable
23:28 Remaining boundaried and professional
26:03 Better outcomes for your client
27:47 The therapeutic alliance as a work in progress
28:58 Practical tips to improve your therapeutic alliance
31:43 Asking the questions even when things are going well
32:43 When it all goes wrong - rupture and repair
35:33 An example from Shabnam’s experience
37:55 The benefits to your work - sustainability

Guest: Dr Alice Nicholls
Presenter: Dr Shabnam Berry-Khan, Director of PsychWorks Associates
Editor: Emily Crosby Media