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Dealing with Roadblocks - The role of the therapeutic relationship

Keith Dobson

6 Feb 2024


Although the therapeutic relationship is not often emphasized in CBT training, it forms the crucible in which interventions are offered (Kazantzis, Dattilio & Dobson, 2017). A positive therapeutic relationship can provide the opportunity for mutual reinforcement in therapy and pleasurable interactions, while a difficult relationship can yield problems in setting therapy goals, working together to achieve these goals, or even maintaining treatment at all.  This webinar will review some of the principal aspects of a positive therapeutic relationship in CBT and will encourage participants to consider their current and possibly some new methods to achieve these outcomes. The webinar will also discuss the ways in which the therapeutic relationship in CBT may be damaged, and strategies to restore and rebuild a more effective working alliance, that has the optimal chance to achieve therapeutic success.

The event will be equivalent to 2 hrs of CPD.


This webinar will:
• Discuss critical aspects of a positive therapeutic relationship in CBT
• Differentiate between therapy alliance as is commonly measured in psychotherapy research versus other important relationship elements
• Discuss ways to build a positive therapeutic relationship
• Consider key relationship roadblocks that may develop in CBT
• Provide strategies to address these relationship problems in CBT

Learning Objectives

You will learn:
1. Features of a positive therapeutic relationship n CBT
2. How the therapy alliance is typically measured in psychotherapy
3. Common challenges and obstacles to a positive therapy relationship
4. Potential strategies to address and overcome these roadblocks

Training Modalities

Didactic content, reflective questions, video, Q&A.

Key References

1. Dobson, D. J. G., & Dobson, K. S. (2017). Evidence-based Practice of cognitive behavior therapy, 2nd edition. New York, NY: Guilford Press.

2. Kazantzis, N., Beck, J. S., Dattilio, F. M., Dobson, K. S., & Rapee, R. (2013). Collaborative empiricism as the central therapeutic relationship element in cognitive behavior therapy: An expert panel discussion at the 7th International Congress of Cognitive Psychotherapy. International Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy, 6(4), 386- 400. doi:10.1521/ijct.2013.6.4.386

3. Kazantzis, N. Dattilio, F. M., & Dobson, K. S. (2017). The therapeutic relationship in cognitive behavior therapy: The Heart and Soul of Effective Practice. New York, NY: Guilford Press.

4. Kazantzis, N., Dobson, K. S., & Hofmann, S. G. (2016). Advancing the evidence for therapeutic process as a necessary condition for cognitive behavior therapy outcomes. In R. Menzies, M. Kyrios and N. Kazantzis (Eds.), Innovations and Future Directions in the Behavioural and Cognitive Therapies. Samford Valley, Australia: Australian Academic Press.

5. Okamoto, A., Dattillio, F.M., Dobson, K.S., & Kazantzis, N. (2019). The therapeutic relationship in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy: Essential features and common challenges. Practice Innovations, 4 (2), 112- 123.

About the presenter

Dr. Keith Dobson is a Professor Emeritus of Clinical Psychology at the University of Calgary. His research has focused on both models and the treatment of depression, particularly using cognitive-behavioural therapies. Further, he has written about developments in professional psychology and ethics, and has been actively involved in organized psychology in Canada, including a term as President of the Canadian Psychological Association. Dr. Dobson is also a Principal Investigator for the Opening Minds program of the Mental Health Commission of Canada, with a focus on stigma reduction related to mental disorders. Dr. Dobson’s research has resulted in over 400 published articles and chapters, 17 books, DVDs, and conference and workshop presentations in many countries. In recognition of his work he has received numerous awards including the Canadian Psychological Association Gold Medal for Lifetime Contributions to Psychology, and Fellow status with several organizations, including the Academy of Cognitive and Behavioral Therapies, the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences and the Royal Society of Canada.

Who should attend

This webinar is most suitable for practitioners delivering CBT interventions for patients in primary care or mental health speciality services.

Low Intensity clinical contact hours survey - BABCP Low Intensity Special Interest Group

Please click below if you are interested in contributing to the survey.


The BACP Low Intensity SIG are interested in the impact of clinical contact hours on Low Intensity/Wellbeing Practitioner wellbeing. This questionnaire contains six multi-choice questions and a free text box for you to share your experiences. The answers to these questions will help the BABCP SIG plan how to meet CPD topics and other developments within the SIG.  The SIG hope to produce a write up of the answers to this questionnaire to be shared with SIG members and to be used in training.

View Survey

This FREE conference is for Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners working in Talking Therapies for Anxiety and Depression services and is brought to you by Bespoke Mental Health in collaboration with the NHS England Talking Therapies National PWP Leads Network

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