The relationship between the therapeutic alliance and client variables in individual treatment for schizophrenia spectrum disorders and early psychosis: Narrative review.

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The relationship between the therapeutic alliance and client variables in individual treatment for schizophrenia spectrum disorders and early psychosis: Narrative review.

Clin Psychol Rev. 2019 May 21;71:51-62

Authors: Browne J, Nagendra A, Kurtz M, Berry K, Penn DL

Abstract
Given the high rates of treatment disengagement and medication nonadherence in individuals with schizophrenia spectrum disorders and early psychosis, fostering a strong alliance in treatment is critical. Moreover, the role of the therapeutic alliance extends beyond that in traditional psychotherapy because of the multifaceted nature of treatment. Thus, this review provides a comprehensive discussion of the relationship between the alliance and client variables across various provider types and individual treatments. This review summarizes existing research on (a) client correlates/predictors of the therapeutic alliance and on (b) the relationship between the alliance and client treatment outcomes in individual treatment for schizophrenia spectrum disorders and early psychosis. Parallel literature searches were conducted using PubMed and PsycINFO databases, which yielded 1202 potential studies with 84 studies meeting inclusion criteria. With regard to correlates/predictors, the existing evidence suggests that better insight, medication adherence, social support, and recovery variables were related to better client-rated alliance. Better medication adherence and recovery variables as well as less severe symptoms were related to better provider-rated alliance. In terms of alliance-outcome relationships, evidence suggests that a strong provider-rated alliance was predictive of improved functioning and medication and treatment adherence. There was some limited evidence that better client-rated alliance was related to improved recovery outcomes. Despite mixed results and heterogeneity among studies, this review suggests that a strong alliance can be beneficial in individual schizophrenia treatment. Thus, training and supervision of providers should emphasize developing a positive alliance, particularly with clients for whom developing an alliance may be difficult.

PMID: 31146249 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]