Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy

, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 199-214

First online:

Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment of Depression, Part VIII. Developing and Utilizing the Therapeutic Relationship

  • James C. Overholser
  • , Eden J. Silverman

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A good therapeutic relationship is essential for the successful implementation of any form of therapy. The present manuscript provides recommendations for developing and utilizing the therapeutic relationship in the cognitive-behavioral treatment of depression. Throughout therapy, the therapist should attempt to: (1) establish an atmosphere of openness and trust, (2) instill hope in the client's potential for change, (3) display empathic concern for the client's distress, (4) stay calm and objective even when the client is upset, (5) emphasize the collaborative nature of therapy, (6) remain flexible and spontaneous in the treatment plan, and (7) apply the work in sessions to the client' everyday life experiences. These strategies help develop a strong therapeutic relationship as a foundation on which to build, and maximize the efficacy of other components of cognitive-behavioral treatment of depression.