Development and Psychopathology


Clinical, empirical, and developmental perspectives on the therapeutic relationship in child psychotherapy

Stephen R. Shirka1 and Christopher C. Saiza1

a1 University of Denver


Despite substantial interest in the therapeutic relationship by child clinicians, relationship processes in child therapy have been neglected by clinical researchers. In this paper, clinical and empirical perspectives on the therapeutic relationship in child treatment were reviewed. Initial findings indicated that the quality of the child's affective relationship with the therapist is associated with collaboration on therapy tasks. Given the recurrent finding of links between treatment collaboration and treatment outcome, research on factors that influence children's ability to form therapeutic relationships is recommended. To this end, a developmental social cognitive model of therapeutic alliance formation is proposed.