Repairing alliance ruptures in emotionally focused therapy: A preliminary task analysis
Swank, Lauren Elizabeth
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Prior research has shown the therapeutic alliance to be positively related to therapeutic outcome in couple therapy (Johnson & Talitman, 2007; Knoblock-Fedders, Pinsoff, & Mann, 2007). It is common for the therapeutic alliance to vary over the course of therapy. Alliance ruptures can be defined as â deteriorations in the relationship between therapist and patientâ (Safran & Muran, 1996, p. 447). If managed successfully, these moments of alliance rupture can positively impact therapy (Safran & Muran, 1996; Sprenkle, Davis, & Lebow, 2009). As a result, researchers have begun to develop models of alliance rupture repair to help further our understanding of how this process is achieved in various therapeutic approaches (Aspland, Llewelyn, Hardy, Barkham, & Stiles, 2008; Binder, Holgerse, & Nielsen, 2008; Safran & Muran, 1996). The purpose of this study was to conduct a preliminary, discovery-oriented task analysis (Greenberg, 2007) in order to develop a model of alliance rupture repair in Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), a couple therapy approach which encourages emotional reconnection and restructuring of couple interactions developed by Susan Johnson and Les Greenberg (Johnson, 2004). By conducting a thought experiment with four experienced certified EFT therapists, a rational model of alliance rupture repair in EFT was formulated. The rational model was then compared with the analysis of alliance rupture repair sequences during the process of one coupleâ s therapy with a certified EFT therapist to develop a rational-empirical model of alliance rupture repair in EFT. The final model and treatment implications are discussed.
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