Reliance on the Therapeutic Alliance: Substance Abuse Treatment with Adolescents was a training course which discussed building a therapeutic reliance or how to build rapport with adolescent clients. According to the training course, the therapeutic approach which a counselor uses to provide therapy is not as important as building a therapeutic alliance. In other words, a counselor can uses any type of therapeutic approach and be effective, as long as the therapeutic alliance is strong.
From my counseling experience, I have often found this to be true. I do believe that the therapeutic alliance is the most important element to a successful counseling. Furthermore, with adolescents a counselor must be careful to spend more time to build a strong therapeutic alliance. It often takes longer to build it with adolescents than with adults.
In the training, the trainer presented researcher which showed evidence to support his claim that the therapeutic alliance is the most important aspect of counseling. It was interesting to see that research showed that the therapeutic approach was not actually that important. It reminded me that I should take the time to develop a solid therapeutic reliance first, rather than just diving into the therapy right away. I found this course to be reassuring that I need not be overly concerned with the therapeutic approach, as long as I took the time to develop good rapport with my clients.
However, sometimes there is limited time and money and parents may want to see results right away rather than give the counselor the necessary time to build rapport. Although the counselor can explain this, many parents may be skeptical that the counselor is simply chatting and wasting time with the adolescents.