Alliance Between Therapist and Multi-stressed Families During the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Effect of Family-Based Videoconferencing

Aurelie M.C. Lange*, Marc J.M.H. Delsing, Marieke van Geffen, Ron H.J. Scholte

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Abstract

Background: A strong therapeutic alliance or working relationship is essential for effective face-to-face family-based psychotherapy. However, little is known about the use of VC on alliance in family-based therapy. The recent COVID-19 pandemic led to a national lockdown during which most family-based therapy transferred to VC. Objective: The current study analyzed the development and strength of alliance prior and during lockdown for multi-stressed families participating in Multisystemic Therapy (MST). Method: Alliance with the therapist was reported monthly by 846 caregivers (81% female). Using latent growth curve models (longitudinal approach), the development of alliance was estimated for families participating in MST prior to the lockdown, transferring to VC early in treatment or late in treatment. Using regression analyses (cross-sectional approach), lockdown (yes/no) was included as predictor of alliance. In these analyses, type of family (regular; intellectual disability; concerns regarding child abuse or neglect) and gender of caregiver were included as moderators. Results: Both analytical approaches showed that alliance was not affected by VC, except for families with concerns of child abuse, who reported lower alliances during lockdown. However, these results where no longer significant when controlling for multiple testing. Conclusions: Strong alliances can be developed and maintained during family-based VC sessions with multi-stressed families. However, for some subgroups, such as families with concerns of child abuse, VC might not be suitable or sufficient. Future research needs to investigate the potential and limitations of using VC with families.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)593-611
Number of pages19
JournalChild and Youth Care Forum
Volume51
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank MST the Netherlands & Belgium for their support in obtaining access to the data. Funding was provided by ZonMw (Grant No. 10430042010032).

Funding Information:
We thank MST the Netherlands & Belgium for their support in obtaining access to the data. Funding was provided by ZonMw (Grant No. 10430042010032).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).

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