How to avoid toxic therapeutic relationships?

An interactive skills workshop putting into practice the lessons learned from research on Motivational Interviewing and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

Dr Rory Allott (Clinical Psychologist) & Paul Earnshaw (Senior Psychological Therapist)

There is mounting evidence across settings and therapy methods that much of the outcome in therapy trials can be explained by the variability between therapists rather than differences between clients.  In a large multisite trial of CBT for Psychosis, the therapeutic alliance accounted for all the variance in outcome at the different sites (Bentall, 2009).  In alcohol settings, clients showing worse outcomes have received therapy from workers demonstrating low empathy (Moyers, 2013) and clients treated by low-empathy therapists engaged in four times more drinking days (Valle, 1981).

How can we identify those workers most at risk of forming toxic relationships and what can we do about it?  This workshop will look at methods for assessing staff’s ability to form helping relationships and consider approaches that promote and develop empathy. Looking at how we can be part of creating therapeutic relationships that increase engagement and promote change.

“How can we identify those workers most at risk of forming toxic relationships and what can we do about it?”

Dr Rory Allott, Clinical Psychologist.


To consider current research on interpersonal factors that both help and disrupt relationships.

To explore how this can be applied to therapeutic practice

To consider whether core elements such as empathy can be learned

To explore how this might be embedded in the recruitment and supervision of staff


1.5 hour workshop. A mixture of evidence and experiential exercises with an atmosphere of facilitating learning between participants.

Want to find out more about training and MI from Dr Rory Allott & Associates?
Contact us here.

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