Attachment to Therapist and Treatment Outcome Among Foster Youth

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CONFERENCE: Creative Activity and Research Day - CARD

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Dang, Tzipporah; Aguilar, Rosana M.; Ruff, Saralyn C.; Clausen, June Madsen
Clinical Psychology
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Compared to non-foster youth, children in foster care are at increased risk for emotional and behavioral problems due to their experienced maltreatment, separation and loss, and foster care system instability. Research with adults has shown that relationship elements, such as alliance in therapy and empathy, are positively associated with patient progress and secure attachment to the therapist. The current study evaluates the impact of Relationship Based Therapy provided to current or former foster youth. Analysis of semi-structured telephone interviews with therapists indicated a significant change in depression, anxiety, aggression or violence as the perpetrator, and problems in relationship with people in current living situation over the course of treatment. Increased attachment to therapist over the course of treatment was significantly correlated with reductions in severity of psychological symptoms and greater progress in therapy.