"The Therapeutic Alliance" by W. Meissner

The Therapeutic Alliance W. Meissner

Publication date:
30 Oct 1996
Yale University Press
400 pages: 235 x 156mm
Sales territories:

One point on which the various helping professions agree is that the crucial factor in the success of therapy is the therapeutic alliance—the collaborative relationship a particular therapist is able to form with a particular patient. W. W. Meissner, a highly regarded teacher and practitioner of psychoanalysis and psychotherapy, examines all the prevailing ideas about the therapeutic alliance in this useful book,
which is intended for both clinicians and theoreticians.

Dr. Meissner explains that in addition to the more familiar aspects of transference and countertransference, the therapeutic alliance encompasses aspects of the therapeutic relation that make it possible for therapist and patient to work together to accomplish therapeutic goals. Dr. Meissner draws a clear distinction not only between alliance and transference but also between alliance and the real relationship. Aspects of the alliance include arrangements and negotiations governing the therapeutic frame and necessary boundaries, neutrality and abstinence, and also personal qualities and capacities that therapist and patient bring to the analytic situation: empathetic attunement, trust, autonomy, authority, responsibility, freedom, and initiative, among others. To the extent that these qualities become operative in the therapeutic relation, they provide the effective basis for a strong therapeutic alliance, which plays an essential structuring role at every step of the analytic process.

"This is a well-written and comprehensively referenced book that will be of particular interest not only to psychoanalysts but to psychotherapists of all disciplines. . . . This book is an excellent source of information and is a welcome addition to the literature on psychotherapy."?Theodore B. Feldmann, Psychiatric Services

"This book is so comprehensive and clear that it will become a standard reference in the field. To my knowledge there is no comparable volume."?Robert M. Galatzer-Levy, M.D., University of Chicago

"Dr. Meissner has written a classic monograph on the therapeutic alliance that will stand as a definitive work. . . . This is a classic monograph and is a must reading."?David Garfield, American Journal of Psychotherapy

"This volume is a work of scholarship, clarity, and precision of structure, so that readers can follow the outline subheadings of every chapter effortlessly and study it thoroughly or browse with confidence that dividends will be forthcoming. . . . Meissner's volume is a work that psychoanalysts, psychoanalytically oriented psychotherapists, and candidates will not fail to appreciate."?Antonio R. Virsida, Psychoanalytic Books

"I found the writing clear, easy to follow and thoroughly researched. The contribution as a whole is quite masterful, and it can be assured of its place among others of excellence which have emerged in recent decades."?Graham Barrow, Australian Journal of Psychotherapy

"Meissner focuses on managing boundaries between the therapeutic alliance and everything else in a way that brings both a welcome clarity and an organizing principle to the practice of psychodynamically informed psychotherapy."?John Michael Bostwick, MD, Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic

"This is a scholarly and closely reasoned book that goes beyond the limits of its title, and provides a broad overview of the author's concepts of the process and technique of psychoanalysis. . . . It is a significant contribution and one that should be welcomed by psychoanalysts."?Int. Journal of Psycho-Analysis

"Meissner has undertaken the much-needed task of clarifying and elaborating the concept of therapeutic alliance, particularly its interrelationship with the transference and the real relationship. . . . An important step forward in understanding an essential concept in our theoretical and technical armamentarium."?Leonard Horwitz, Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association

"It is a handsome volume, written clearly, with wonderful organization and exhaustive references and notes. Many will find it useful as a reference book, rather than just reading it through from beginning to end. To presume that it will stand as the definitive work on the therapeutic alliance is not an overestimation."?Harold R. Galef, Psychoanalytic Quarterly

"Meissner has produced much more than a text on the therapeutic alliance; he has actually written an introductory textbook to the clinical practice of psychoanalysis. In my judgment, this book needs to be reflected on by every practicing psychoanalyst. . . . If you read no other professional book in the field of psychoanalysis in the forthcoming year, make this the one book that deserves your full attention. Meissner is to be congratulated on his latest contribution to the psychoanalytic literature."?Richard D. Chessick, Journal of the American Academy of Psychoanalysis