Objective The therapeutic alliance is related to treatment outcome but less is known about the agreement on alliance between patients and therapists and its relationship to outcomes. We examined the association of patient-therapist congruence of alliance perceptions, early and late in cognitive behavioral therapy for panic disorder in relation to symptom reduction and dropout. Method: Patients (n = 181) and their therapists provided alliance ratings early and late during 11-session treatment. Independent evaluators rated patients’ symptomatic levels post-treatment. Polynomial regression and response surface analysis were used to examine congruence as a predictor of outcome. Results: Early in therapy, stronger combined patient-therapist alliances, regardless of agreement, predicted lower symptom severity at the end of therapy and a lower likelihood of dropout. Late in treatment, the outcome was worse when therapist ratings of the alliance were higher than those of the patient. Conclusions: Therapist-patient agreement on the strength of the alliance is important for symptom improvement and dropout. The study highlights the importance of understanding the dyadic nature of the alliance and its impact on therapeutic change.
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- cognitive behavior therapy