The Development and Role of the Therapeutic Alliance in Supportive Psychotherapy with Adolescents
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- Bhola, P. & Kapur, M. Psychol Stud (2013) 58: 207. doi:10.1007/s12646-013-0191-0
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The formation of a therapeutic alliance is considered a central issue in therapy, and particularly crucial and challenging in work with adolescents. The relational and technical components of the therapeutic alliance were examined from the perspective of the adolescent client. 40 emotionally disturbed adolescent girls, aged 13 to 16 years, received brief supportive psychotherapy in the school setting. The alliance was assessed at sessions 3, 6 and 9, and outcome was evaluated on measures of internalizing problems, self-esteem, adjustment and client satisfaction. The results indicated the stability of the alliance between sessions 3 and 6, followed by significant linear increases between sessions 6 and 9. The strength of the alliance was most consistently related to reductions in internalising problems and client estimates of change. The implications for training and clinical practice with adolescent clients are discussed and future research avenues outlined.