DOES THE ALLIANCE CAUSE GOOD OUTCOME? RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FUTURE RESEARCH ON THE ALLIANCE


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Abstract

Research has consistently documented that the quality of the therapeutic alliance is related to the outcome of diverse psychotherapies. Insufficient attention, however, has been directed at identifying the nature and magnitude of the causal relationship between the alliance and outcome. In this commentary, we discuss the major threats to causal interpretation of alliance-outcome correlations and provide suggestions for future research that would help clarify the extent to which the alliance causes positive outcomes. Assuming the alliance is a causal factor in relation to outcome, we provide recommendations for research on the alliance that would attempt to improve patient care by enhancing the alliance.

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