The patient-psychotherapist relationship

Credit hour 3
Total number of hours 20
Number of hours for lectures 20


1. Knowledge of the history and of the epistemology of the discipline.
2. Fundamental knowledge in the various theoretical fields of the discipline, in their epistemological currents and in their methodological approaches.
3. Skills to refer a matter or a question to one or more theoretical currents.
Approach the patient-psychotherapist relationship, through theories and concepts belonging to different psychotherapy orientations.
Sensitise students to the reflective and relational skills of the psychotherapist, faced with the subjective reality of the patient, his expectations and his interpersonal style.
Invite students to apply the knowledge they have acquired in practical situations (role play, in-class exercise based on an account of psychotherapy sessions co-written by the therapist and the patient).


1. A meeting between two «otherness» in a well-defined setting : patient, therapist, psychotherapeutic frame.
2. Patient-psychotherapist relationship in different approaches : psychodynamic, humanistic, cognitive-behavioural.
-Key-concepts belonging to these approaches : ? transference/countertransference (psychodynamic), ? unconditional positive regard, congruence, empathy (humanistic), ? patient expectations-Wright and Davis, 1994 (cognitive-behavioural)
3. Therapeutic alliance and its key-role in a successful psychotherapy. The three dimensions of the therapeutic alliance (Bordin, 1979) : bond, goals and tasks.
4. Qualities of efficient psychotherapists.
5. Metacommunication in psychotherapy.
6. Limits for the patient-psychotherapist relationship.

Pedagogical Tools

•    Powerpoint presentations of theoretical aspects
•    Recommended reading-excerpts (Yalom, I.D., Elkin, G., 1974)
•    Role play
•    Excerpts of video-taped psychotherapy sessions



Semester 4


Norcross, J.C.,Wampold, B.E.(2011).Evidence-based therapy relationships : Research conclusions and clinical practices. Psychotherapy,48(1),98-102
Sommers-Flanagan, J., Sommers-Flanagan, R. (2004). Counseling and psychotherapy theories in context and practice. New Jersey : John Wiley and Sons
Yalom, I.D., Elkin, G. (1974). Every day gets a little closer : a twice-told therapy. New York : Basic Books


Session 1:
-Class participation : coef 1
-Written work : coef 2
Session 2: written work