Effective professionals and the working alliance

A great deal of research has been done in recent decades into the effectiveness of the correction and rehabilitation of offenders. It is important to remember, however, that this type of intervention can only be effective when it is carried out by effective professionals.

This research concerns the effectiveness of rehabilitation workers. Previous research has shown that this depends on a number of aspects, such as:

  • the capacity to carry out rehabilitation that has proven to be effective;
  • the capacity to find a good balance between disciplinary and supportive intervention; 
  • the expectation and belief that your working methods as a rehabilitation worker can produce good results for clients;
  • the capacity to build and maintain an effective working alliance with clients;
  • the habit of systematically building up feedback on one’s own actions as a professional.

A good working alliance

The ability to build a good working alliance with clients appears to be a crucial aspect. We investigate the extent to which the previously proven characteristics of a good working alliance are present in the current system of rehabilitation and supervision. We seek to establish whether a relationship can be established between a good working alliance and achieving the goals of supervision.


The research work is based on surveys, interviews, (video) observation and group discussions. It is carried out with the cooperation of Reclassering Nederland (Netherlands Probation Service), the Stichting Verslavingsreclassering GGZ (Netherlands Drug Addiction Rehabilitation Foundation), the Salvation Army Youth Care and Rehabilitation Section. It is carried out by Anneke Menger, with support from Andrea Donker, Annelies Sturm, Donnalee Heij and René Butter. A group of students also participate every year and a number scientific publications will be generated. The research, which will be the subject of a thesis, will be finished in 2012.