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Improving the therapeutic alliance with adolescents using music

26 July 2013


While the importance of the therapeutic alliance in therapy is well established, and the impact that music has upon people has been demonstrated in the literature, there have not been any studies that examined the direct effect of having music playing in session upon the therapeutic alliance. This study utilized an ABAB reversal design with a single male adolescent subject in a residential setting to assess the impact of music upon the therapeutic alliance. The independent variable was the addition of music to treatment as usual during target sessions, while the dependent variable was the therapeutic alliance which was measured using the Working Alliance Inventory, Short Form (WAI-S; Tracey & Kokotovic, 1989) every session. The data suggested that music does in fact improve the therapeutic alliance, as the subject repeatedly rated the quality of the therapeutic alliance higher during those sessions when music was played. Future studies could continue to examine the relationship between music and the therapeutic alliance with other populations and by utilizing other methodological designs.


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