Working with Mistakes in Psychotherapy - A Relational Model


  • Maša Žvelc


In the article I deal with the question what is the meaning of mistakes, done by therapist in psychotherapy and how to work with mistakes. With the word mistakes I think of moment-to- moment mistakes, often very small and subtle, made by the therapist, which can lead to ruptures in the therapeutic relationship. I see repairing ruptures of the relationship as a very important way of establishing or solidifying good therapeutic alliance. In the article I present relational methods of integrative psychotherapy- inquiry, attunement and involvement (Erskine, Trautmann & Moursund, 1999) and Safran and Muran’s (2000) model of negotiating therapeutic alliance, which both lead us how to work with the mistakes. In the second part of the article I analyze one session with the client in which I explore the practical use of the model for working with mistakes.

Author Biography

Maša Žvelc

Masa Zvelc is certified integrative psychotherapist (EAIP) and Master of Science of clinical psychology. She has Diploma in Integrative Psychotherapy awarded by Scarborough Psychotherapy Training Institute. She is co director of Institute of Integrative Psychotherapy and Counselling, Ljubljana (Slovenia), where she has private psychotherapy practice and leads the training in integrative psychotherapy. She also teaches at the Faculty of psychotherapy and Faculty of Education in Ljubljana. She is interested in research of psychotherapy process; which elements in psychotherapy contribute to change. She is co-author of Picture Test of Separation- Individuation, instrument for measuring separation and individuation process in adolescence and adulthood.

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How to Cite

Žvelc, M. (2008). Working with Mistakes in Psychotherapy - A Relational Model. European Journal for Qualitative Research in Psychotherapy, (3), 1–9. Retrieved from