Psychoanalysis has long distinguished between the transference neurosis and that part of the communication between therapist and patient which depends upon a relatively intact part of the patient's ego. It has been proposed that it is this capacity of the patient that sustains the difficult work of dealing with communications which are the consequence of transference, and which often threaten the viability of the treatment. This quality has been referred to variously as the unobjectionable positive transference, rational transference, mature transference, therapeutic alliance and working alliance. The ever broadening scope of Psychoanalysis, along with our greater knowledge of early childhood development, has enhanced our understanding of the many influences affecting the treatment alliances. Newer views of the transference, which stress the significance of the therapists' contributions to the therapeutic dyad, make it clear that the therapeutic alliance can no longer be explained as some simple, reality based, conflict free, motivating force. It involves, rather, a complex interaction of several factors, to each of which one must add the therapists' reciprocal reactions. Psychotherapy outcome research will need to take all of these factors into consideration.