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The Therapeutic Alliance Over 10 Sessions of Therapy for Borderline Personality Disorder: Agreement and Congruence Analysis and Relation to Outcome

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The authors examined whether alliance dynamics are affected by tailoring the therapeutic relationship to the individual patient in brief psychotherapy of borderline personality disorder. Sixty patients were randomized to 10-session Good Psychiatric Management (GPM-BV) or GPM combined with Motive-Oriented Therapeutic Relationship techniques (MOTR+GPM-BV). Patient- and therapist-rated alliance was assessed weekly. Self-reported symptomatic distress was assessed pre-, mid-, and posttreatment. In MOTR+GPM-BV, stronger therapist-rated alliance predicted lower symptomatic distress in the same timepoint, but not in a lag, whereas symptomatic distress predicted therapist-rated alliance in a lag. Therapist-rated alliance was lower than patient-rated alliance in GPM-BV but not in MOTR+GPM-BV. In MOTR+GPM-BV, higher agreement on strong alliance tended to predict lower symptomatic distress. Patient- and therapist-rated alliances were temporally congruent, but congruence did not predict outcome. Addressing the relationship needs of patients may partly exert its salutary effect by increasing agreement between patients' and therapists' experience of the alliance.


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