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Alliance evolutions over the course of short-term dynamic psychotherapy: A case study
Counselling and Psychotherapy Research
Background: Alliance evolutions, i.e. ruptures and resolutions over the course of psychotherapy, have been shown to be important descriptive features in different forms of psychotherapy, and in particular in psychodynamic psychotherapy. This case study of a client presenting elements of adjustment disorder undergoing short-term dynamic psychotherapy is drawn from a systematic naturalistic study and aims at illustrating, on a session-by-session-level, the processes of alliance ruptures and resolutions, by comparing both the client's and the therapist's perspectives. Method: Two episodes of alliance evolution were more fully studied, in relation to the evolution of transference, as well as the client's defensive functioning and core conflictual theme. These concepts were measured by means of valid, reliable observer-rater methods, based on session transcripts: the Defense Mechanisms Rating Scales (DMRS) for defensive functioning and the Core Conflictual Relationship Theme (CCRT) for the conflicts. Alliance was measured after each session using the Helping Alliance questionnaire (HAq-II). Results: The results indicated that these episodes of alliance rupture and resolutions may be understood as key moments of the whole therapeutic process reflecting the client's main relationship stakes. Illustrations are provided based on the client's in-session processes and related to the alliance development over the course of the entire therapy.
case study , alliance , transference , defence mechanisms , psychodynamic psychotherapy
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