Alliance with patient and collaboration with parents throughout the psychotherapeutic process with children and adolescents: a pilot study

Alleanza con il paziente e collaborazione con i genitori lungo il processo psicoterapeutico con bambini e adolescenti: uno studio pilota

M. Gatta*, A. Spoto**, L. Svanellini***, J. Lai***, I. Toldo*, C.P. Testa***, P.A. Battistella*

* Department of Paediatrics, University of Padua, Italy; ** Department of General Psychology, University of Padua, Italy; *** Unit of Neuropsychiatry of Child and Adolescent, ULSS 16 Padua, Italy


This study evaluates the relationship of the alliance with youths affected by mental disorders aged 6 to 18 years and the collaboration between their parents and the clinician with the aim to analyse the relation of these variables with therapeutic compliance and clinical outcome.


The sample consisted of 84 males and 37 females ranging 6-18 years of age. They were split into two categories on the basis of age: = 11 years and > 11 years. Patient alliance and Collaboration with parents were considered and evaluated in the diagnostic process, using the WAI (Working Alliance Inventory). Data about patients’ therapeutic compliance and clinical outcome were collected during a follow-up visit six months later.


“Therapeutic compliance” appears to be a crucial variable in influencing the outcome of psychotherapy. In groups of different ages “collaboration with parents” and “patients’ alliance”, respectively, influence compliance.


This pilot study shows that therapeutic compliance is the most predictive element of positive outcome. If compliance is the element common to all patients aged 6 to 18, factors influencing compliance in under-11s and over-11s are different.

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