Can We Agree We Just Had a Rupture? Patient-Therapist Congruence on Ruptures and Its Effects on Outcome in Brief Relational Therapy Versus Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Sigal Zilcha-Mano, Catherine F. Eubanks, Sarah Bloch-Elkouby, J. Christopher Muran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

To draw clinically meaningful evidence-supported implications about the alliance-outcome association, recent studies have investigated patient-therapist congruence on ruptures in alliance. The present study investigated patient-therapist congruence on ruptures and its consequences on subsequent session outcome in 2 types of treatments that differ in the training therapists receive to identify ruptures: brief relational therapy (BRT), in which therapists receive alliance-focused training, and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), in which no training specifically focused on the alliance is provided. We implemented polynomial regression and response surface analysis, and the truth and bias model on data of 162 dyads reporting weekly on their levels of ruptures, for 30 sessions, during either CBT or BRT. Therapists and patients exhibited substantial temporal congruence in their session-by-session rupture ratings. Therapists showed a tendency to detect more ruptures than did their patients. This tendency correlated with higher levels of congruence and was more evident in BRT than in CBT. Agreement and disagreement between patients and therapists on the question of whether a rupture had occurred was found to have a greater effect on subsequent session outcomes in BRT than in CBT. These findings may suggest that therapists who are more attuned to their patients may demonstrate greater vigilance in identifying ruptures than their patients do. This vigilant stance may be taught. Greater congruence may result in better subsequent session outcome throughout treatment in BRT than in CBT.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Counseling Psychology
DOIs
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 American Psychological Association.

Keywords

  • Alliance
  • Alliance ruptures
  • Congruence
  • Psychotherapy process
  • Vigilant stance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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