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Therapeutic Alliance as a Change Mechanism in Alcoholism Treatment

Connors | Dermen | Maisto

In this two-year investigation, alcohol-dependent patients participating in a 12-week outpatient treatment program were assessed over the course of treatment on their perceptions of the therapeutic alliance (therapist perceptions also will be assessed). The project is examining the within-treatment, week-to-week relationship between the ratings of the therapeutic alliance (as perceived by the patient and therapist) and the patient's alcohol involvement (percent days abstinent and drinks per drinking day) during treatment. The project also is examining profiles of the therapeutic alliance (as perceived by the patient and therapist) over the course of treatment in relation to alcohol involvement during treatment and during a six-month follow-up period. Results from this study will be used to characterize the interplay of the therapeutic alliance with alcohol involvement during and following an outpatient treatment episode. The data are expected to provide direction and foundation for future systematic research on the therapeutic alliance as a mechanism of change in the treatment of alcohol use disorders. Co-investigators include Kurt H. Dermen, PhD and Stephen A. Maisto of Syracuse University. Funded by a grant of $416,063 from NIAAA, 2007-2010.