The process of change in ethnic minority males undergoing psychodynamic psychotherapy: a detailed comparison of two cases

Tohar Dolev, Sigal Zilcha-Mano, Harold Chui, Marna S. Barrett, Kevin S. McCarthy, Jacques P. Barber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Better understanding of the connection between therapeutic processes and outcomes in minority groups can help design and use culturally adapted treatments. To explore the active ingredient in the therapeutic process, the present case study compared two ethnic minority male clients, recruited as part of a randomized controlled trial, one with a good outcome, the other with a poor one. The 12-item Working Alliance Inventory-Observer (S-WAI-O) coding system was used to capture the process of change, alongside a qualitative analysis of content. The cases were identified based on their change in pre- to post-treatment scores on the Beck Depression Inventory and the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression. The findings suggest a rupture-resolution process in the good outcome case, including a process of negotiation of the alliance and work on issues of trust. In contrast, the poor outcome case showed strong and steady alliance, but context analysis pointed to withdrawal ruptures. Although it is difficult to generalize from a two-case study analysis, the present work suggests that building and negotiating alliance with minority clients has a potential for treatment success.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-180
Number of pages24
JournalPsychoanalytic Psychotherapy
Issue number2
StatePublished - 3 Apr 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Written with support from NIMH [grant R01 MH 06141] (Jacques P. Barber, PI). The sponsor did not have any role in the study besides funding the study.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, © 2018 The Association for Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy in the NHS.


  • alliance
  • case studies
  • ethnic minority groups
  • psychodynamic treatment
  • rupture resolution processes
  • therapeutic process

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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