You are here

The Therapeutic Relationship in Counselling and Psychotherapy

The Therapeutic Relationship in Counselling and Psychotherapy

March 2015 | 168 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

What is a therapeutic alliance? How do I create a bond? What might lead to the alliance breaking down? What do I do when the relationship feels stuck?


These are just some of the questions addressed in this important new book for trainee and qualified therapists wanting to understand, engage in and make the most of the therapeutic relationship.


Taking you through each stage of the therapeutic process, from initial boundary setting to effective endings, the book considers a number of different settings and client groups such as working in an online environment and with children and young people. Structured around ‘Frequently Asked Questions’, an accessible and engaging narrative guides you though the skills and considerations for an effective therapeutic relationship, as well as the potential challenges it might face. 


Bringing to the forefront the mutuality of the relationship and the client as a proactive agent, this book will equip you with the knowledge and skills needed to develop trusting and productive relationships with your clients.

Boundaries and the therapeutic frame
Empathic understanding and listening
Care and warmth
Being real
Relating at depth
Therapeutic relationships with children and young people
Telephone and online counselling relationships

The book explores different aspects of the therapeutic relationship in a very clear and accessible style which will be helpful to trainee and newly qualified therapists working from a range of approaches.  Part of the authors stated aims is ‘to address some of the most commonly asked questions around the therapeutic relationship’ and it was interesting for me to note at the start of a new academic year just how many of these questions were being explored during skills training, theoretical discussions and group supervision.  Each chapter is supported with helpful examples from practice as well as research evidence and I particularly liked the way the reader is invited to consider the discussion further through ‘personal reflection’ and the ‘ideas for research’ sections.  I appreciated the inclusion of dedicated chapters for working with children and young people and telephone and online counselling.

Lucy Machin
Course Tutor, Postgraduate Diploma in Counselling, UEA

At last – answers to a multitude of questions on the complexities of the therapeutic relationship.  This is a gem of a book containing everything you need to know from ethical dilemmas in practice to the online and telephone relationship. Grounded in research and drawing on the authors’ experiences, easy to read and a valuable resource for trainees and experienced practitioners. A very welcome book.

Carole Smith
Course Leader, BSc Hons in Counselling Studies, University of Huddersfield

The Therapeutic Relationship in Counselling and Psychotherapy by Rosanne Knox and Mick Cooper is a short and easily digestible guide which helps to create a bond between counsellor and client, whatever approach they are using. This book is especially useful for people at the start of their counselling journey, because it fully explores the elements of how to build a boundaried, but compassionate space where fruitful work can commence at a deep level...The book is clear and easy to navigate which enables a reader to quickly find the part that interests them. It also provides an important space to identify your own feelings, because each chapter ends with a passage supporting you, as the reader, to personally reflect on what you have read and how the ideas put forward might fit within your own approach. This book is invaluable for anyone starting to train as a counsellor, but also fantastic for practising counsellors who want to consolidate and re-visiting their thinking, as well as extending their understanding.

Lisa Hayter
Lisa Hayter, Youth Counsellor at METRO Centre & Trainer at Learning2Listen

This invaluable little book punches above its 156 page weight, delivering common-sense advice and insight into that most revered aspect of the therapeutic encounter: the relationship between a counsellor and client...The book's strength lies in its ability to make a  complex subject understandable, without dumbing down. I particularly liked each chapter's 'personal reflection', which invites the reader to think more deeply about some of the ideas raised.  
The quality of the counselling relationship is often the key to helping clients explore, change and grow. This is a book that can accompany that journey, providing a warm, knowledgeable voice to allay our fears, correct our misperceptions and encourage us to believe in ourselves. I have no doubt it will find its way onto many reading lists. 

Sharon Breen, counsellor, group facilitator and writer
Therapy Today

This book is essential reading for Public Services students as it provides an excellent overview of therapeutic relationships. Often our students struggle to grasp the finer points of an appropriate therapeutic relationship and this book provides a good basis for them to advance their knowledge.

Miss Beccy Smith
H&SC, New College Swindon
June 20, 2022

A succinct and useful tool. I have recommended this to students

Valeria Fletcher
School of Health & Wellbeing, Leeds Beckett University
December 19, 2019

Within counseling psychology, the therapeutic relationship is key. This comprehensive book includes a range of key aspects such as the therapeutic frame, engaging in a therapeutic relationship and what happens at a deeper level. Students' feedback has been good and they particularly enjoy the size of the book, the style of writing and depth of topics.

Dr Helen Nicholas
Psychology Department, Worcester University
September 30, 2015

Essential reading for those new in the field of counselling. Comprehensive. Well laid out with clear chapter structure and flow. Engenders confidence in new practitioners.

Ms Joanne Wright
Health, Social Care & Early Education, City College Norwich
June 24, 2015

This simple and practical book looks at questions which a trainee counsellor might ask about the therapeutic relationship. It will be very accessible for Level 3 students.

Mrs Hilary McNair
Kent Adult Education, Kent Adult Education
April 27, 2015

This is an easy read and provides lots of very useful information pertaining to the processes necessary to form a healthy therapeutic relationship regardless of orientation.

If you are starting out in you career and what to appreciate the dynamics of the relationship this book is useful as it discusses the various stages of relationship development from the early stages through to mindful boundary building. I particularly liked the self reflection parts at the end of each section. this is such a vital part of personal development for therapist and it is great to have it incorporated in your reading

Miss joy conlon
School of Nursing, Dublin City University (DCU)
December 14, 2015

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1: The Therapeutic Frame