Kobie L. Allison
Pieter J. Rossouw

School of Psychology, The University of Queensland


The role of the therapeutic relationship in the counseling process has been extensively demonstrated in the literature; however, the neurobiology of this relationship and the critical role of safety in enhancing therapeutic outcomes, and to ensure compliance and prevent relapse, are less well understood. The need for a safe space has deeply rooted neurobiological markers that have been well described by Seymour Epstein’s cognitive-experiential self-theory and Klaus Grawe’s neuropsychotherapeutic model. Epstein showed how attachment and control are two of the basic human needs that must be fulfilled to facilitate change—indeed, these mental conditions must be obtained in order for the human species to flourish—and Grawe subsequently demonstrated how these needs play a vital role in the therapeutic relationship.

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