This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Therapist Effectiveness, the Therapeutic Alliance, and Change in Couples Therapy: An Exploratory Study




Long, Laura

Type of Degree



Human Development and Family Studies


The purpose of this thesis was to take an exploratory approach in examining how therapist effectiveness influences the therapeutic alliance and outcomes in couple therapy. Sample for this study was composed of couples attending therapy at a marriage and family therapy training clinic at a southeastern university. The therapeutic alliance was found to be a strong predictor of change in therapy for both male and female spouses. Additionally, supervisors’ ratings of therapists’ in-session effectiveness was found to be negatively related to male therapeutic alliance and female change in relationship satisfaction. However, therapists’ self-ratings of their own in-session effectiveness were not related to either the therapeutic alliance or therapy outcomes for males or females. Therapist effectiveness did not meet the criteria for mediation, nor was it found to moderate the relationship between the therapeutic alliance and outcomes in couples therapy.