Relation of the Real Relationship and the Working Alliance to the Outcome of Brief Psychotherapy

Gianluca Lo Coco, Salvatore Gullo, Claudia Prestano, Charles J. Gelso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


The (a) association of the client and therapist-rated strength of the real relationship to the outcome of brief psychotherapy and (b) extent to which the real relationship predicted outcome above and beyond the predictive power of the working alliance were examined. Fifty clients at the counseling center of a university in Italy received brief therapy and completed measures before treatment, after the third session, and at the end of treatment. From clients’ perspective, both the Genuineness element of the real relationship and the Bond scale of the working alliance were found to relate significantly to treatment outcome. When we examined the real relationship and working alliance as predictors in a hierarchical regression format, the client-rated real relationship, especially the Genuineness element, did predict outcome and, furthermore, added significantly and substantially to the working alliance in predicting outcome. Neither the strength of the real relationship from the therapist’s perspective nor the therapist-rated working alliance was found to relate to outcome. The findings are discussed in the context of methodological differences with other investigations of the real relationship.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-367
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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