University of Twente Student Theses


The working alliance goes online : A scoping review of text-based internet psychotherapy

Jeken, L. (2020) The working alliance goes online : A scoping review of text-based internet psychotherapy.

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Abstract:By exploring the database the present scoping review intends to give an orientation of the current research basis on the working alliance in internet-based psychotherapy. Literature was collected searching four different databases: Scopus, Web of Science, PsycInfo and Wiley Online Library. A total of 16 studies were selected after an extensive search and analysed to explore study characteristics, measurements of the working alliance and associations of the alliance with treatment outcome. Data was extracted, summarized and presented in tables to give an overview of the findings. A great variety of patient groups targeted by the interventions was found in the selected articles on the working alliance. Modalities used to deliver treatment were mostly internet-based cognitive therapy (ICBT) and specifically tailored platforms for distinct patient groups (e.g. PTSD). Most treatments solely made use of asynchronous communication, such as mails and integrated messaging functions, which were mostly used to give feedback on tasks. Almost all of the reviewed interventions used a cognitive behaviour approach. For measurements some form of the Working Alliance Inventory was used in all but one study. Measurements of studies using the WAI or WAI-short form generally indicated a positive working alliance with a mean score of 5.78 and a standard deviation of 0.83. Relationships of treatment outcomes and measurements of the working alliance were varied, with some reporting low to moderate associations (n = 8) and others reporting none (n = 4). Discussion: The overall high measurements of the working alliance in current literature indicate that good working alliances can be established between therapist and patient in internet-based treatment with only text-based communication. Findings are mostly consistent with those of an older review from 2012. The relationship of the working alliance with outcome measures of treatment seems to suggest only limited importance of the alliance for treatment outcomes, but meta-analyses need to evaluate this further.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
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