Alliance in Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy

Stephen R. Shirk and Marc S. Karver

in Psychotherapy Relationships That Work

Second edition

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199737208
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199894635 | DOI:
Alliance in Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy

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The therapeutic alliance has a long history in the child and adolescent psychotherapy literature. This chapter examines prominent views on the alliance with youth and considers a number of issues that distinguish youth alliance from its adult counterpart. A meta-analysis of alliance–outcome associations in individual youth therapy is presented. In order to provide a direct comparison with the adult literature, the review included only prospective studies of individual youth therapy that used an explicit measure of alliance. Results from sixteen studies revealed consistency with the adult literature with a weighted mean correlation of .22 between alliance and outcome. Although there were trends showing stronger alliance–outcome associations for child versus adolescent therapy and for behavioral versus nonbehavioral therapies, neither attained statistical significance. Limitations of the research and therapeutic practices are discussed.

Keywords: alliance; child; adolescent; psychotherapy; meta-analysis

Chapter.  11741 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Clinical Psychology

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