Relationship Processes in Youth Psychotherapy: Measuring Alliance, Alliance Building Behaviors, and Client Involvement

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therapeutic alliance, psychotherapeutic processes, involvement, therapist behaviors, adolescent psychotherapy

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This study explores hypothesized associations among therapist engagement strategies, therapeutic alliance, client involvement, and treatment outcome in a randomized clinical trial comparing cognitive behavioral psychotherapy and nondirective supportive psychotherapy for adolescents with depressive symptoms who have attempted suicide. Ratings from audiotapes and self-report of the first four sessions for 23 adolescent clients were used. It was expected that therapeutic relationship variables would be equally important in both treatments. However, preliminary evidence appeared to be emerging only for therapeutic alliance and client involvement being related to treatment outcome in the cognitive behavioral treatment. Therapist lapse behaviors were found to predict alliance across both treatments. On the other hand, there was some preliminary evidence for different therapist behaviors to be related to the therapeutic alliance in each treatment. Results suggest that there may be variation in effective relationship factors, depending on the specific therapeutic approach.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, v. 16, issue 1, p. 15-28