How Plan Analysis can inform the construction of a therapeutic relationship

Ueli Kramer, Shimrit Fisher, Sigal Zilcha-Mano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The construction of a positive therapeutic relationship was shown to be related with outcome in psychotherapy, but there are only a few prescriptive concepts helping the therapist to contribute to such a process. The present case illustrates the use of Plan Analysis (PA) and the motive-oriented therapeutic relationship (MOTR) in the explanation of the construction of a positive therapeutic relationship. We analyze the case of Sharon, a 22-year-old student presenting with major depressive disorder. We present the case formulation according to PA and select Session 7 from the therapeutic process to illustrate three moments of the therapist focus on the underlying motives: (a) a first moment when the therapist presents with nonoptimal features of responding to the patient's profile, (b) a second moment when the therapist intervenes optimally, and (c) a third moment when the therapist intervenes excellently. We discuss this case from the perspective of personalizing psychotherapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)422-435
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Clinical Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. Journal of Clinical Psychology Published by Wiley Periodicals LLC.


  • Plan Analysis
  • case formulation
  • case study
  • motive-oriented therapeutic relationship
  • personalizing
  • psychodynamic psychotherapy
  • therapeutic relationship

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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