Person-Centered Care and the Therapeutic Alliance

Emily K. Hamovitch, Mimi Choy-Brown, Victoria Stanhope

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Person-centered care has been gaining prominence in behavioral health care, and service planning has shifted towards “person-centered care planning” (PCCP), where individuals, in partnership with providers, identify life goals and interventions. A strong therapeutic alliance has been identified as key to a person-centered approach, but little is known about how the therapeutic relationship influences person-centered processes and outcomes. Using an explanatory sequential mixed methods design, this study investigated: (1) the association between the therapeutic alliance and PCCP, and (2) how the therapeutic relationship influences the process and outcomes of PCCP. Quantitative analyses found that a strong working alliance predicted greater personcenteredness. Qualitative analyses revealed two central themes: (1) the importance of connection, continuity, and calibration of the relationship to set the right conditions for PCCP, and (2) PCCP as a vehicle for engagement. Findings demonstrated that the therapeutic alliance is inextricably linked to the PCCP process, each influencing the other.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)951-958
Number of pages8
JournalCommunity mental health journal
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 1 2018


  • Person-centered care
  • Recovery
  • Service planning
  • Therapeutic alliance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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