A review of the place of the therapeutic relationship within systemic approaches to therapy is provided. This serves to contextualize the findings of a research study that subjects therapy sessions to a discursive analysis. The purpose of the analysis is to learn more about the therapeutic relationship through an examination of what actually takes place in sessions. Moments in therapy where therapeutic engagement is stronger and moments when it is weaker are identified and analysed. The discursive contours of a robust therapeutic relationship are highlighted. A theoretical account of the constituents of a stronger therapeutic relationship is constructed from this analysis.