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Therapeutic alliance represents the fit between a patient and therapist. Research studies have consistently shown that a high therapeutic alliance is the strongest predictor of treatment success. One study demonstrated that high alliance resulted in an average of 40% symptom reduction in comparison to 14% for the control group (Baldwin et al.).

Two particularly relevant research studies are outlined below to help illustrate the importance of matching patients to the right therapist:

57% higher likelihood that a patient improves
25% less time spent in mental health therapy
75% of people see reliable improvement in just 6-14 sessions
Okiishi et al. ‘An analysis of therapist treatment effects’
This study focuses on the effect that a particular therapist can have on the treatment outcomes of patients that he or she is matched with. “There were significant, sometimes dramatic differences, between therapists in terms of the number of sessions they saw clients, the speed of client change, and the overall amount of change.” This study shows that the therapist is an important outcome variable, which is in line with a number of meta-analytic reviews that have demonstrated the therapist to have a far more significant impact than the type of therapy administered.

Baldwin et al. ‘Untangling the Alliance–Outcome Correlation’
Baldwin, Wampold and Imel set up this research trial to monitor the impact of therapeutic alliance on outcomes and to understand what contributed to this correlation. The study supported the findings in other papers that there is a significant correlation between the patient-therapist relationship and treatment outcomes. Importantly, it also demonstrated that therapist-specific factors predicted outcome while patient-specific factors (such as being better able to form a collaborative relationship) did not predict outcomes.