An in-session exploration of ruptures in working alliance and their associations with clients' core conflictual relationship themes, alliance-related discourse, and clients' postsession evaluations

Eliane Sommerfeld, Israel Orbach, Shraga Zim, Mario Mikulincer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations

Abstract

This exploratory study examined (a) the relationship among the occurrence of ruptures in the working alliance, the emergence of client's core conflictual relationship themes (CCRT), and focus of discourse within therapeutic sessions and (b) the relationship between ruptures in the working alliance and client's postsession evaluations of session's smoothness and depth. The authors included 151 sessions from five therapies conducted in a student counseling center. Sessions were content analyzed by independent raters, and a self-report questionnaire was given to clients after each session. Ruptures were positively related to the emergence of clients' CCRT during the session, but only when the therapist was addressed as the "other.quot; Sessions with ruptures were characterized by heightened discussion of working alliance components and were evaluated as less smooth than sessions without ruptures. Findings are discussed, and the importance of ruptures in working alliance for therapeutic change is emphasized.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)377-388
Number of pages12
JournalPsychotherapy Research
Volume18
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2008

Keywords

  • Alliance
  • Ruptures in the working alliance

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