Counselling effectiveness and the therapeutic alliance


Most evaluations of counselling interventions focus on the type of counselling and on the techniques and activities used by the counsellor (e.g. psychoeducation, meditation and mindfulness or art therapy). However, these may be missing the most important part of the story when it comes to client outcomes. Decades of research draw attention to a group of factors common to all counselling interventions that have greater influence over client outcomes than the counselling type (Dobud & Harper, 2018; Fife et al., 2014; Hess, 2019). These common factors in counselling relate to the relationship between counsellor and client, regardless of the specific counselling type or intervention (Wampold & Imel, 2015).

This short article focuses on the quality of what is called the ‘therapeutic alliance’ between counsellor and client. This resource also provides some strategies for counsellors to consider for strengthening the relationships they have with the people they work with, including children, young people and adults. This resource will be useful for frontline workers and program managers in child and family services, especially those providing counselling services.


MacDonald, J.B. & Dobud, W. (2024). Counselling effectiveness and the therapeutic alliance (Short article). Melbourne: Child Family Community Australia, Australian Institute of Family Studies.