An exploratory study of the therapeutic alliance and client outcomes in a voluntary counselling agency




Lee, Cynthia

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Dyadic data analysis methods are underutilized in child and youth care, where much of the practice relies on relationships with individuals and groups. In this exploratory study, a dyadic data analysis approach was used to study the interdependence amongst client-counsellor dyads in a voluntary counselling setting. Ten counsellors and thirty-six clients from a Canadian voluntary counselling agency participated in this study. Counselling sessions ranged from two to 20 sessions. Clients completed a session rating scale, a measure of the therapeutic alliance. In addition, clients and counsellors completed an outcome rating scale and personal change questions. A one-with-many design was used to explore the similarity between client-counsellor dyads, the degree of consensus, assimilation, and uniqueness as well as the level of reciprocity for perceived client well-being. Multi-level modeling was used to partition the variance on the outcome rating scale to account for sources of non-independence in client-counsellor dyads, and the indirect relationships between multiple clients working with the same counsellor. Implications of the study and recommendations for future research are discussed.



dyadic data analysis, voluntary counselling, therapeutic alliance, client outcome, counseling