Thursday, June 04, 2009

Therapists' therapy and the therapetic alliance

The idea that therapists should themselves have therapy goes right back to Freud and a number of studies since then have backed the idea that therapists who have had therapy are more effective than those who haven't. The therapeutic alliance is the relationship between the therapist and the patient and includes agreement on goals, assignment of tasks and the development of bonds. It is known to have a big impact on the effectiveness of therapy yet there has been little research into the effects of therapists' therapy on the therapeutic alliance. Researchers from Adelphi University in New York compared therapists who had and had not received therapy as they assessed 60 outpatients. They found that there was no difference between the two groups in the quality of the therapeutic alliance as rated by the patients. However, the therapists who had received therapy were more confident, felt they had more agreement about goals and were happier overall with the therapeutic alliance. Those therapists who had had therapy themselves also treated their patients for twice as long as the other group.

Gold, Stephanie H. and Hilsenroth, Mark J. - Effects of graduate clinicians' personal therapy on therapeutic alliance Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy May-June 2009, 16(3), 159-171

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