Alliance-Focused Safety Planning and Suicide Risk Management

Sarah Bloch-Elkouby, Shira Barzilay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Patients’ interpersonal vulnerabilities and problems represent major distal and proximal risk factors in the etiology of suicide. These can be triggered by the interpersonal demands of therapy and safety planning andimpede the development of a strong therapeutic alliance, and thus, the effectiveness of safety planning. Thisarticle proposes that the principles put forth by the Alliance-Focused Training (AFT; Eubanks-Carter et al.,2015; Muran&Eubanks, 2020), which view the therapeutic alliance both as a precondition to therapy and asan active change mechanism, present an ideal framework for addressing patients’ interpersonal challengesin the context of safety planning and suicide risk management. After discussing the relevance of AFTprinciples to safety planning, we will propose an approach to incorporate AFT techniques into evidencebasedsafety planning interventions and to monitor their impact on the therapeutic alliance and treatmentoutcome. Last, we will provide a brief clinical report to illustrate the principles and techniques described inthe article

Original languageEnglish
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021. American Psychological Association


  • Alliance
  • Alliance-focused training
  • Safety planning
  • Suicide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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