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Therapist–Patient Alliance, Patient–Therapist Alliance, Mutual Therapeutic Alliance, Therapist–Patient Concordance, and Outcome of CBT in GAD

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The therapeutic alliance is seen as an important dimension in any type of psychotherapy. But patient, therapist, or observers can have different views on the therapeutic alliance. The question is which perspective best represents the therapeutic alliance, and what are the differences between these alternative views. In the present study, the therapist–patient alliance (TPA, the view of the therapist), patient–therapist alliance (PTA, the view of the patient), and mutual therapeutic alliance (MTA, the view of an observer) were measured simultaneously in cognitive behavior therapy of patients suffering from generalized anxiety disorder. Additionally, the concordance between patient and therapist ratings (TPC) was calculated. Cognitive behavior therapists attained high positive scores in all perspectives for all dimensions of the therapeutic alliance, such as empathy, cooperation, transparency, focusing, and assurance of progress. Correlations were consistently higher for ratings between therapist and patient than between observer and patient. A relation with outcome (Hamilton Anxiety Scale) was only found for observer ratings. It was concluded that cognitive behavior therapists can achieve good alliances with their patients. Different perspectives on the therapeutic alliance should be distinguished and taken into account separately in studies on the therapeutic process and outcome.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2008

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