Christof Flückiger – Keynote

The Therapeutic Alliance as a Positive Emotional Experience: Conceptualization, Evidence and Clinical Application

Psychotherapy primarily is a consulting intervention mediated by communication. Psychotherapy is astonishing effective across patient populations and treatment approaches highlighting the robustness of effects in the communalities of psychotherapeutic treatments. An extensive research evidence suggests that the alliance (typically measured at the third or fourth session) is a robust predictor of the outcomes of various forms of psychotherapy, even when prior symptom improvement and other factors are considered. Both the clinician and the patient bring to the therapy situation different capacities to form an alliance. Factors concerning the patient include, among others, the diagnosis, attachment history and style, motivation, and needs for affiliation. However, the benefits of the alliance have been found to be mostly due to the therapist’s contribution, in particular his/her facilitative interpersonal skills, including skills and fluency to verbalize complex emotional states, strengths-based perceptions of hope and positive expectations, as well need-orientated and patient-centered understanding of the patient functioning. The presentation concludes with clinical implications.

Brief biography

Christoph Flückiger, Prof. Dr, clinical psychologist, University of Zurich (2016-2022), Principal Investigator for the APA-task force Evidence-based Psychotherapy Factors (Norcross & Lambert, 2018) (2017-2018); Editor-in-Chief Psychotherapy Research (2019-2024) Special interests: Psychotherapy Research, empirically based Psychotherapy.

Dr. Flückiger is on several editorial boards, such as the

  • APA Journal of Counseling Psychology
  • APA Psychotherapy
  • APA Journal of Psychotherapy Integration
  • Verhaltenstherapie
  • Psychotherapie, Psychosomatik und medizinische Psychologie (PPmP)


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