Alliance and Suicide Prevention Lab

University of Denver/University of South Florida Therapeutic Alliance Coding Project

Project Overview

A major threat to treatment efficacy is the dilution of treatment strength through early drop out, sporadic attendance, and limited participation in therapy sessions. Given high rates of attrition from psychosocial treatments in clinic settings, estimated between 40 to 60% for child and adolescent therapy (Armbruster & Kazdin, 1994), treatment engagement represents a formidable challenge for the transportation of efficacious treatments from research trials to clinical practice. In order to better understand the treatment processes that enhance or hinder treatment engagement, Stephen Shirk, PhD from the University of Denver and Marc Karver, PhD from the University of South Florida collaborated in designing a school based treatment process-outcome study. In the first phase of the study, Dr. Shirk and his research team at the University of Denver conducted a clinical trial with a school based sample of depressed adolescents receiving manualized cognitive-behavioral therapy. The treatment trial has now concluded with process and outcome measures collected and all therapy sessions audiotaped. Dr. Shirk and Dr. Karver are now collaborating in examining a number of hypotheses that will require coding of various aspects of the treatment process.

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