Therapist and patient perceptions of alliance and progress in psychological therapy for women diagnosed with gynecological cancers.
ABSTRACT: The goal was to understand both therapist and patient perspectives on alliance and session progress for women in treatment for gynecological cancer. We used a longitudinal version of the one-with-many design to partition variation in alliance and progress ratings into therapist, patient/dyad, and time-specific components. We also evaluated therapist and patient characteristics that predict alliance and session progress.Two hundred and three women and their therapists completed measures of alliance and session progress across a 6-session course of treatment. Participants also completed preintervention measures of self-esteem, depression, cancer-specific distress, emotional expressivity, and use of protective buffering.Patients reported higher alliance and greater progress than did therapists. When therapists reported particularly strong alliance with particular patients, those patients concurred. More experienced therapists reported higher alliances and more progress but their patients did not agree. Patients who began treatment in more difficult psychosocial circumstances tended to have less positive session outcomes on average but evidenced more improvement across therapy sessions.Patients rated their alliance and progress more positively than did their therapists, although there was substantial relative agreement between therapists and patients. Alliance and progress improved over time, particularly among patients who evidenced higher levels of distress and poorer physical functioning. More experienced therapists were more confident in their abilities but their patients did not share this perception.
Project description:Although a number of effective psychotherapies have been identified for cancer patients, little is known about therapy processes, as they unfold the course of treatment and the role of therapy processes in treatment outcome. We used growth curve modeling to evaluate the associations between therapy processes and outcomes among gynecological cancer patients participating in 2 types of therapy.Two hundred twenty five women newly diagnosed with gynecological cancer were randomly assigned to receive 8 sessions of a coping and communication intervention or a client-centered supportive therapy. Participants completed measures of preintervention and postintervention depression, working alliance after Session 2, and postsession progress and depressive symptoms after each session. Therapists completed measures of perceived patient progress.Both patients and therapists reported a steady increase in session progress and patients reported a steady decrease in depressive symptoms over the course of both the coping and communication intervention and client-centered supportive sessions. Perceived progress in one session predicted progress in the subsequent session. Early working alliance predicted improved session progress and reductions in postsession depressive symptoms over sessions. Working alliance did not predict prepost treatment changes in depression. Patient-rated session progress predicted greater reductions in pretreatment to posttreatment depression, but therapist-rated progress did not.For 2 types of treatment delivered to women diagnosed with gynecological cancer, patient-rated session progress and depressive symptoms rated over therapy sessions may serve as a yardstick that can be useful to therapists to gauge patient's response to treatment.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Two decades of empirical research suggest that changes in symptoms are not linear, and many patients gain much of their symptom reduction in one between-sessions interval. Theoretically, such gains are expected to be manifested in the working alliance as well, following a rupture session; however, no study to date has directly examined between-sessions sudden gains in the alliance. In the present study we examined whether ruptures predict subsequent sudden gains in the alliance, which in turn show an effect on outcome that is specific to the treatment in which the alliance is conceptualized as an active mechanism of change. METHOD:In a sample of 241 patient-therapist dyads, patients received either brief relational therapy (BRT), in which the alliance is conceptualized as an active mechanism of change, or cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), in which it is not. We examined whether patient and therapist reports of ruptures predicted sudden gains in alliance in the subsequent session, and whether early sudden gains in alliance were significantly associated with treatment outcome in BRT versus CBT. RESULTS:Rupture sessions, as reported by therapists but not by patients, predicted a sudden gain in both patient and therapist-reported alliance in the subsequent session. Findings revealed a moderating effect of treatment condition on the association between sudden gains and treatment outcome, in which gains in alliance were associated with better treatment outcome in BRT than in CBT. CONCLUSIONS:The findings support the potential role of gains in alliance as a specific mechanism of change in BRT versus CBT. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).
Project description:OBJECTIVE:To improve success rates in psychotherapy, we developed and evaluated an alliance-focused training (AFT) protocol with regard to patient-therapist interpersonal behavior in a 30-session protocol of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for outpatients comorbid with Axis I and II conditions. METHOD:Participants included 40 patients treated by 40 therapists in a multiple baseline design in which novice therapists trained to fidelity standards in CBT were introduced to AFT at different time intervals (after either 8 or 16 sessions) during a 30-session CBT protocol. Interpersonal behaviors were assessed with a simplified version of the Structural Analysis of Social Behavior (SASB) on videotaped sessions sampled from the early (between Sessions 6 through 8), mid (Sessions 14 through 16), and late (Sessions 22 through 24) phases of therapy. RESULTS:As predicted, several significant interactions were observed between within-subject interpersonal change and between-groups differences in exposure to AFT. Specifically, there were decreases in patient dependence and in therapist control (including criticism), plus increases in patient expressiveness and in therapist affirmation and expressiveness, all of which could be attributed to AFT. The predictive relationship of several of these variables to session-level and overall treatment outcome was also demonstrated. CONCLUSIONS:This study demonstrates that novice CBT therapists can be trained to improve their interpersonal process with patients who present with comorbid diagnoses, including a personality disorder. (PsycINFO Database Record
Project description:Jeremy Safran and his research group suggest that rupture-repair processes are important for the therapeutic change in patients with personality disorders. In this exploratory study, we describe alliance ruptures and resolutions on a session-by-session basis in a clinical sample of adolescents with Borderline Personality Pathology (BPP). Three research questions are addressed: i) Is there a typical trajectory of alliance ruptures over treatment time? ii) Which rupture and resolution markers occur frequently? iii) Which rupture markers are most significant for the therapeutic alliance? Ten patients who presented with identity diffusion and at least three Borderline Personality Disorder criteria were studied and treated with Adolescent Identity Treatment. Alliance ruptures and resolutions were coded in 187 therapy sessions according to the Rupture Resolution Rating System. Mixed-effect models were used for statistical analyses. Findings supported an inverted U-shaped trajectory of alliance ruptures across treatment time. The inspection of individual trajectories displayed that alliance ruptures emerge non-linearly with particular significant alliance ruptures appearing in phases or single peak sessions. Withdrawal rupture markers emerged more often compared to confrontation markers. However, confrontation markers inflicted a higher impact or strain on the immediate collaboration between patient and therapist compared to withdrawal markers. Clinicians should expect alliance ruptures to occur frequently in the treatment of adolescents with BPP. The findings support the theory of a dynamic therapeutic alliance characterised by a continuous negotiation between patients and therapists.
Project description:In routine care, internet-delivered cognitive behaviour therapy (iCBT) regularly includes therapist support delivered via secure email, but the optimal response time to emails is unknown. In this study, we compared the benefits of therapists providing support once-weekly versus therapists providing support once-weekly supplemented with a one-business-day response to all patient emails. This pragmatic randomized controlled trial included therapists employed by a specialized iCBT clinic or community mental health clinics, where providing iCBT is a secondary service. Patients with depression and/or anxiety who enrolled in transdiagnostic iCBT (5 core lessons over 8 weeks) were randomized to: 1) once-weekly support supplemented with a one-business-day response to patient emails by specialized therapists (n = 233); 2) once-weekly support also offered by specialized therapists (n = 216); or 3) once-weekly support offered by community clinic therapists (n = 226). Outcomes were measured at 8, 12, 24, and 52-weeks post-enrollment. Patient engagement and treatment experiences (e.g., treatment satisfaction, therapist alliance) were also assessed and a focus group was conducted with therapists. Supplementing once-weekly therapist support with a one-business-day response to patient emails resulted in therapists sending more emails to patients (M: 13 versus 9) and required more therapist time over treatment (M: 155 versus 109 min), but was not associated with improved outcomes, patient engagement or treatment experiences. All groups showed large improvements in symptoms of depression and anxiety maintained at 52-week follow-up, strong engagement and positive treatment experiences. Therapists viewed challenges of responding to patient emails within one-business-day to outweigh benefits. Contrary to expectations, supplementing once-weekly therapist support with a one-business-day response to all patient emails did not benefit patients and increased therapist time as well as therapist challenges when delivering iCBT in routine care. Highlights • Randomized internet-delivered cognitive behaviour therapy trial in routine care.• Compared once-weekly and once-weekly plus one-business-day therapist support.• Both groups experienced large symptom improvement at 52-week follow-up.• One-business-day therapist support did not significantly improve patient outcomes.• One-business-day therapist support increased therapist time and challenges.
Project description:BACKGROUND:In Internet-delivered cognitive behavioral therapies (iCBT), written feedback by therapists is a substantial part of therapy. However, it is not yet known how this feedback should be given best and which specific therapist behaviors and content are most beneficial for patients. General instructions for written feedback are available, but the uptake and effectiveness of these instructions in iCBT have not been studied yet. OBJECTIVE:This study aimed to identify therapist behaviors in written online communication with patients in blended CBT for adult depression in routine secondary mental health care, to identify the extent to which the therapists adhere to feedback instructions, and to explore whether therapist behaviors and adherence to feedback instructions are associated with patient outcome. METHODS:Adults receiving blended CBT (10 online sessions in combination with 5 face-to-face sessions) for depression in routine mental health care were recruited in the context of the European implementation project MasterMind. A qualitative content analysis was used to identify therapist behaviors in online written feedback messages, and a checklist for the feedback instruction adherence of the therapists was developed. Correlations were explored between the therapist behaviors, therapist instruction adherence, and patient outcomes (number of completed online sessions and symptom change scores). RESULTS:A total of 45 patients (73%, 33/45 female, mean age 35.9 years) received 219 feedback messages given by 19 therapists (84%, 16/19 female). The most frequently used therapist behaviors were informing, encouraging, and affirming. However, these were not related to patient outcomes. Although infrequently used, confronting was positively correlated with session completion (ρ=.342, P=.02). Therapists adhered to most of the feedback instructions. Only 2 feedback aspects were correlated with session completion: the more therapists adhere to instructions containing structure (limiting to 2 subjects and sending feedback within 3 working days) and readability (short sentences and short paragraphs), the less online sessions were completed (ρ=-.340, P=.02 and ρ=-.361, P=.02, respectively). No associations were found with depression symptom change scores. CONCLUSIONS:The therapist behaviors found in this study are comparable to previous research. The findings suggest that online feedback instructions for therapists provide sufficient guidance to communicate in a supportive and positive manner with patients. However, the instructions might be improved by adding more therapeutic techniques besides the focus on style and form.
Project description:This study tested whether discrepancy between patients' and therapists' ratings of the therapeutic alliance, as well as convergence in their alliance ratings over time, predicted outcome in chronic depression treatment.Data derived from a controlled trial of partial or non-responders to open-label pharmacotherapy subsequently randomized to 12 weeks of algorithm-driven pharmacotherapy alone or pharmacotherapy plus psychotherapy. The current study focused on the psychotherapy conditions (N?=?357). Dyadic multilevel modeling was used to assess alliance discrepancy and alliance convergence over time as predictors of two depression measures: one pharmacotherapist-rated (Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptoms-Clinician; QIDS-C), the other blind interviewer-rated (Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression; HAMD).Patients' and therapists' alliance ratings became more similar, or convergent, over the course of psychotherapy. Higher alliance convergence was associated with greater reductions in QIDS-C depression across psychotherapy. Alliance convergence was not significantly associated with declines in HAMD depression; however, greater alliance convergence was related to lower HAMD scores at 3-month follow-up.The results partially support the hypothesis that increasing patient-therapist consensus on alliance quality during psychotherapy may improve treatment and longer term outcomes.
Project description:Client ratings of the therapeutic alliance are an important predictor of outcome in the treatment of traumatized adolescents and adults, but less is known about the therapists' perspective. The aim of this study was to investigate how therapists' ratings relate to the adolescents' perspective, how individual therapist and adolescent ratings relate to change in symptoms and treatment satisfaction, and whether discrepant alliance perspectives impact treatment outcome.The sample consisted of 156 youth (mean age 15.1, range 10-18), randomized to trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy or treatment as usual, and alliance ratings from 62 therapists. Alliance was measured midtreatment with the Therapeutic Alliance Scale for Children, and the factor structure of the two scales was analyzed with exploratory factor analyses. A change in posttraumatic symptoms was assessed with the Child PTSD Symptom Scale (CPSS) and the Clinicial-Administered PTSD Scale for Children and Adolescents (CAPS-CA).Therapist and client perspectives on the alliance were significantly, but moderately, associated (intraclass correlations [ICC]=0.54, p<0.001). Both scales predicted adolescent treatment satisfaction but only the client scale was significantly related to change in symptoms. Factor analyses revealed differences in factor structure with therapist ratings organized around bond and task dimensions and adolescent ratings organized by item valence. Higher therapist ratings compared to adolescent ratings predicted higher residual PTS symptoms.Although adolescent and therapist alliance ratings are moderately associated, results suggest that the ratings are differentially associated with outcomes. These findings, along with results indicating important differences in factor structure, imply that adolescent and therapist ratings are not interchangeable. Future studies should investigate how therapists can improve their judgments of adolescents' perceptions of the alliance as an overestimation of the quality of the relationship seems to be negatively related to outcome.
Project description:Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is an innovative evidence-based intervention in mental and somatic health care. Gaining knowledge of therapeutic factors associated with treatment outcome can improve MBCT. This study focused on predictors of treatment outcome of MBCT for cancer patients and examined whether group cohesion, therapeutic alliance, and therapist competence predicted reduction of psychological distress after MBCT for cancer patients. Moreover, it was examined whether therapist competence facilitated therapeutic alliance or group cohesion. Multilevel analyses were conducted on a subsample of patients collected in a larger randomized controlled trial on individual internet-based versus group-based MBCT versus treatment as usual in distressed cancer patients. The current analyses included the 84 patients who completed group-based MBCT out of 120 patients who were randomized to group-based MBCT. Group cohesion and therapist competence did not predict reduction in psychological distress, whereas therapeutic alliance did. In addition, therapist competence did not predict therapeutic alliance but was associated with reduced group cohesion. Our findings revealed that therapeutic alliance significantly contributed to reduction of psychological distress in MBCT for cancer patients. Elaborating the clinical implications of the predictive significance of therapeutic alliance might be of added value to enhance the potential effect of MBCT.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Adherence to computerized cognitive behavioral therapy (cCBT) programs in real-world settings can be poor, and in the absence of therapist support, effects are modest and short term. Moreover, because cCBT systems tend toward limited support and thus low-intensity treatment, they are typically most appropriate for people experiencing mild to moderate mental health difficulties. Blended therapy, that is, combining direct therapist contact with cCBT or psychoeducational materials, has been identified as one possible approach to address these limitations and widen access to individual CBT for depression. Building on the initial success of blended therapy, we explore an integrated approach that seeks to seamlessly combine face-to-face contact, electronic contact, and between-session activities. Integration also considers how the technology can support therapists' workflow and integrate with broader health care systems. The ultimate aim is to provide a structure within which therapists can deliver high-intensity treatments, while also greatly reducing face-to-face contact. OBJECTIVE:The research aimed to explore patients' and therapists' views on using a system for the delivery of individual treatment for depression that integrates face-to-face therapist contact with access to online resources and with synchronous online therapy sessions that allow collaborative exercises, and to establish design requirements and thus key design considerations for integrated systems that more seamlessly combine different modes of communication. METHODS:We conducted a series of four user-centered design studies. This included four design workshops and seven prototype testing sessions with 18 people who had received CBT for depression in the past, and 11 qualitative interviews and three role-play sessions with 12 CBT therapists experienced in the treatment of depression. Studies took place between July and December 2017 in Bristol, United Kingdom. RESULTS:Workshops and prototyping sessions with people who had received CBT identified three important requirements for integrated platforms delivering CBT therapy for depression as follows: (1) features that help to overcome depression-related barriers, (2) features that support engagement, and (3) features that reinforce learning and support the development of new skills. Research with therapists highlighted the importance of the therapist and client working together, the impact of technology on therapists' workflow and workload, challenges and opportunities related to the use of online resources, and the potential of technology to support patient engagement. We use these findings to inform 12 design considerations for developing integrated therapy systems. CONCLUSIONS:To meet clients' and therapists' needs, integrated systems need to help retain the personal connection, support both therapist- and patient-led activities, and provide access to materials and the ability to monitor progress. However, developers of such systems should be mindful of their capacity to disrupt current work practices and increase therapists' workload. Future research should evaluate the impact of integrated systems on patients and therapists in a real-world context.