Understanding the Working Alliance Between Persons with Substance Abuse Problems and Strengths-Based Case Managers

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A substantial body of literature has examined the importance of the working alliance in psychotherapy; few works have examined it in the context of case management. Qualitative methods were used to examine how 26 persons with substance abuse problems perceived the working alliance with case managers who practice from the strengths perspective. Clients' narratives emphasized the personal qualities of the case manager and the nature of the client-case manager relationship. Their narratives also reflected two guiding principles of strengths-based case management: personal control over goal-setting, and an emphasis on strengths. Most clients concluded that a positive working alliance helped them to build trust, self-worth, and self-esteem.