Client predictors of the therapeutic alliance in individual resiliency training for first episode psychosis

Julia Browne, Emily Bass, Kim T. Mueser, Piper Meyer-Kalos, Jennifer D. Gottlieb, Sue E. Estroff, David L. Penn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Individuals experiencing their first episode of psychosis (FEP) are often reluctant to seek treatment, and are difficult to engage and retain in mental health services. The therapeutic alliance (TA), or the affective and collaborative bond between therapist and client, is predictive of better treatment outcomes for clients with FEP; thus, it is important to understand the predictors of the TA in order to determine how best to foster a positive alliance with these individuals. The primary aim of the present study was to examine whether baseline client characteristics, including severity of symptoms, social functioning, and insight, were associated with the TA. The exploratory aim was to examine associations between demographic variables (age, race, and gender) and the TA. The present study included a subsample of participants (n = 134) who received Individual Resiliency Training (IRT) as part of the NAVIGATE treatment in the Recovery After An Initial Schizophrenia Episode Early Treatment Program study. Four trained research assistants rated the TA from early audiotaped sessions of IRT. Multilevel modeling was utilized given the nested data structure. Results indicated that more severe positive and less severe negative symptoms were significantly and uniquely associated with a better therapeutic alliance, as was female gender. The findings suggest that client symptom profiles should be considered when developing a TA with FEP clients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)375-380
Number of pages6
JournalSchizophrenia Research
StatePublished - Feb 2019


  • Early intervention
  • First episode psychosis
  • Observer-rated therapeutic alliance
  • Schizophrenia

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

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