Integrative medicine: importance of the working alliance

This learning module aims to initiate the practitioner to the movement of integrative medicine by presenting the different pillars of this approach. Special emphasis will be put on the physician-patient relationship, which is at the heart of integrative medicine, especially with respect to the working alliance. The aim is to sensitize the practitioner to the importance of the alliance in the care trajectory, by looking at the elements that define a good alliance, the benefits of a good physician-patient partnership, the strategies for the development of this alliance, and the ways of measuring it. Reading this module is an invitation to physicians to reflect on their practice, specifically with respect to the relational aspects of the contact with their patients.

Medicine and Humanities modulesfocus on philosophy, ethics, history, arts and literature as they relate to the practice of medicine. Prepared by specialists in medical and human sciences, these modules aim to provide a basis of support for knowledge and reflection so that students and health care professionals are able to develop their vision of disease and care from a bio-psycho-social perspective within a wider field of knowledge.


Presentation of the authors

Audrey-Anne Lalande earned a doctorate in clinical psychology from the Université de Sherbrooke. Her research focuses on patient adaptation, cognitively and emotionally, following a cancer diagnosis. More specifically, her interests lie in the link between illness representation and the level of subjective and psychological well-being among oncology clients. Mrs. Lalande works as a clinician in hospitals with hemato-oncology and palliative care clients.


Dr. Christian Boukaram
Dr. Boukaram is a radiation oncologist at the Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont. He obtained his medical degree from the Université de Montréal and completed a fellowship in Cyberknife and IGRT technology at the Centre Antoine-Lacassagne in France. Dr. Boukaram is also a professor at the Université de Montréal and a researcher at the Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont in the areas of integrative medicine and oncology.
In 2011, Dr. Boukaram wrote a best-selling book Le pouvoir anticancer des émotions (the anticancer power of emotions), which was published in four languages and got international acclaim. Dr. Boukaram also co-founded the Fonds CROIRE (Believe fund), a not-for-profit fund supported by the Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont to provide psychological and social support to cancer patients and their families through complementary methods.
He won numerous awards in radio-oncology and, from 2011 to 2015, worked as co-chairperson of the Education Committee for the SIO (Society for Integrative Oncology). He is regarded as an authority in the field of integrative medicine.

List of learning objectives

  • Develop a greater understanding of what integrative medicine is
  • Understand the working alliance, its origins and its characteristics
  • Integrate the benefits of a good alliance in the patient follow-up
  • Identify the characteristics fostering a better alliance and be better informed as to how to measure outcomes



Throughout the module, we invite you to PAUSE AND REFLECT in order to reinforce what you have learned. Take the time to write down your answers and ideas. An answer is given by the expert to help you deepen and ground your reflection. It is not meant to challenge the value of your personal answer but is there to offer new directions.
We also invite you to take personal notes using the “Note Taking” tool on the right.


Subject matter expert: Audrey-Anne Lalande, D.Ps et Dr Christian Boukaram, MD
Concept Development and Project Management: Isabelle Burnier, MD, M.Ed
Editorial Committee: Jean Roy, MD, Diane Bouchard-Lamothe, M. Sc.S.
Programming and Graphic Design: Medtech, University of Ottawa
Production: September 2016