The Working Alliance in Counseling: Working With Tasks and Goals


Working alliances is a relationship between a patient and a counselor with the hope of psychologically benefitting the client. Alliances express the extent to which the two parties are engaged in collaborative work. The bond, the mission, and the objectives are the three components of functioning cooperation. Tasks are what the two individuals plan to do to achieve the client’s objective. On the one hand, goals are the outcomes that the patient wants to succeed as a result of the therapy. On the other hand, a bond is a confidence and trust between the ailing person and the clinician. The tasks carried out should bring the client closer to achieving their goal. The working alliances must be grounded on a free-judgment zone so that the client feels relaxed to open up to the therapist without feeling embarrassed (Morales et al., 2018). All three constituents are vital for an operative working association, but this essay will explain why clinicians choose to work with tasks and goals over the bond.

Main body

Goals provide direction and motivation; having something one aims at achieving will make that person consider the little steps that are vital for achieving their objective. It may be overwhelming for a patient to set goals, especially when they have a variety of things that are needed to be achieved (Knopf, 2021). This is why the goals set should be precise, determinate, achievable, appropriate, and well-timed. An objective gives a sense of individual satisfaction; when one attains either of the set aims, they will be satisfied that they were able to achieve the goals they had intended (Soucy et al., 2019). Thus, this would also help the patient to keep focused since attaining such an objective is extremely motivating to any individual. Moreover, constantly realizing one’s purposes can be an issue, too (Kenar, 2018). Though it is distressing not to be able to accomplish one’s plans, the obstacles along the way could be part of long-term success. Speaking through the mishaps and making new intentions will help clients break down their hindrances and create a viable change. Aims help one to know what to put as their priority.

There are multiple things that have to be achieved, but it is impossible to undertake them due to the limited resources. So with the objective, one will put resources behind each goal, which will help them determine what they want to be achieved first. Objectives also give an accurate time to achieve (Barker et al., 2017). For instance, if a clinician sets a realistic timeline for all their clients’ aims, they will be encouraged to achieve it within that time frame, knowing that it has been noted down. However, some purposes do not need a time frame since they may cause stress to the client and deter their general performance and happiness. The target dates and the time limit should be looked at carefully when setting objectives. Hence, goals help clients to understand better what is expected. As a health professional, one would want their patients to comprehend their anticipation when using the available services and what they want in the future from the assistance they are being offered (Rustad, 2016). Therefore, this would be hard to build steady expectations if caregivers fail to communicate clearly to their patients when attending to them.

Therefore, by clinicians encouraging their clients to set their goals or objectives, it will give them a clear vision of what to expect in the future. Objectives help one avoid overwhelming themselves with issues (Barker et al., 2017). They help us to take time and understand why we are doing some actions. When clients fail to see any positive change towards achieving their goals, they might be discouraged, but by looking at what awaits their future, they get motivated to continue. Therapists should therefore help them find a better technique for change whenever they feel overwhelmed (Överlien, 2016). In some instances, a patient may be attaining their goals but at the same time feel like it is not an accomplishment. This will reduce their effort in trying to accomplish these objectives. As a clinician, one ought to ask them how they feel about their realization. If they honestly answer, one should figure out why the individual needs more in regards to their success.

Furthermore, the trust between the sick person and their therapist is essential, but it might not be effective. Some clients may have a problem with opening up to someone, and the therapist is not exceptional (Woodman, 2021). They may tend to withhold vital information concerning their health, meaning that even the treatment sessions may not be beneficial. Some individuals have a hostile way of communication, and it is difficult to have a counseling session with them. Some of them opt to abandon the sessions early, which they are attributed to their attitude (McDonald, 2017). On the contrary, the counselors should be blamed since they have to try all the ways possible to help a client rather than focusing on non-effective issues. This method works when the client is willing to follow the counselor’s advice to get assistance. Moreover, when therapists persuade the clients to engage in informality and friendship sessions, the outcome is normally poor.

Under bonding, the therapist’s attitude towards the patient also has an impact. When a therapist shows genuine, empathetic feelings towards the client’s condition, they will genuinely help the client, contributing greatly to their psychological growth. Before engaging a patient in any goal-directed task, the counselor should ensure that the person understands the task’s explicit and implicit nature (Khezrlou, 2021). The ailing person should also be assessed to ensure that they have the instrumental value to achieve the goal. In that, the client can understand the bond between carrying out the task and achieving their purposes. The client may also not undertake a given duty either due to intellectual or emotional inability. In this case, a therapist should adjust the task to the client’s ability. The patient should also tell the difference between their task and that of the counselor. Contemplating the relationship between the clinician’s task and that of the client may be an obstacle to achieving the set goals.


In conclusion, most therapists prefer tasks and goals over bonds in a working alliance. Bonds require the emotional strength of both the client and the therapist. On the one hand, the counselor also needs to have emotional control when dealing with the client so as not to do or say something that may affect the client. On the other hand, the therapist needs to give the client a few proper guidelines about the task to achieve the goal.


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PsychologyWriting. "The Working Alliance in Counseling: Working With Tasks and Goals." September 19, 2023.