Alliance-Focused Training

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Alliance-focused training (AFT) aims to increase therapists’ ability to recognize, tolerate, and negotiate alliance ruptures by increasing the therapeutic skills of self-awareness, affect regulation, and interpersonal sensitivity. In AFT, therapists are encouraged to draw on these skills when metacommunicating about ruptures with patients. In this article, we present the 3 main supervisory tasks of AFT: videotape analysis of rupture moments, awareness-oriented role-plays, and mindfulness training. We describe the theoretical and empirical support for each supervisory task, provide examples based on actual supervision sessions, and present feedback about the usefulness of the techniques from trainees in our program. We also note some of the challenges involved in conducting AFT and the importance of maintaining a strong supervisory alliance when using this training approach.

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