Pretreatment Correlates of the Therapeutic Bond
Journal of Clinical Psychology
This study examined the association between pretreatment client characteristics and the therapeutic bond, which is defined as the emotional aspect of the therapeutic alliance. Three types of interpersonal problems and four indicators of emotional distress were measured and compared to the therapeutic bond and its subscales (role investment, empathic resonance, and mutual affirmation) measured early in treatment. Interpersonal problems related to being overly detached were associated with a poorer quality bond and, in particular, with a tendency to feel as if the therapist does not understand what the client is thinking and feeling (lower empathic resonance). Higher levels of distress were correlated negatively with the therapeutic bond. Analyses indicated that interpersonal problems were better predictors of the bond than was distress. The relevance of these findings for practitioners is discussed.