Achieving successful resolution of alliance ruptures: for whom and when?

Tal Ben David-Sela, Tohar Dolev-Amit, Catherine F. Eubanks, Sigal Zilcha-Mano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Contemporary theories and the empirical literature stress the importance of successful resolution of alliance ruptures for the process and outcome of treatment. Yet, little empirical work has examined what leads to successful resolutions. The aim of the present study was to examine which patients are more likely to achieve successful resolutions of ruptures and under which circumstances. Sixty-five patients completed measures assessing their trait-like pretreatment characteristics (alliance expectations and general attachment orientation), and state-like changes in treatment (working alliance, therapist serving as an attachment figure, and the implementation of common factor techniques). Successful resolutions were coded using observer behavioral coding at four time points. State-like changes, but not trait-like characteristics significantly contributed to successful resolution. Stronger working alliance and the therapist as an attachment figure, and the implementation of common factors techniques were found to contribute to successful resolutions. The current findings emphasize the importance of the process that occurs within treatment, and the therapeutic context in which the resolution process take place for the ability to achieve successful resolutions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)870-881
Number of pages12
JournalPsychotherapy Research
Issue number7
StatePublished - Sep 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Israeli Science Foundation [grant number 186/15] and by the Society of Psychotherapy Research small research grant.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Society for Psychotherapy Research.


  • alliance
  • process
  • rupture and resolution
  • successful resolutions
  • treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology


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