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Title: How, if at all, is therapeutic alliance experienced by individuals attending the STEPPS group programme?
Author: Shakesheff, Megan
ISNI:       0000 0004 5992 0346
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2016
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Objectives. The aim of this study was to gain service users’ perspectives on whether therapeutic alliance, if at all, featured as part of their experience of the Systems Training for Emotional Predictability and Problem Solving (STEPPS) group programme. Design. A qualitative, semi-structured interview-based study to explore service users experiences of therapeutic alliance within their treatment. Methods. Seven individuals diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), who were attending STEPPS groups, were interviewed as part of the study. Results. Three themes were identified from the data using thematic analysis: ‘A process of identification and feeling understood, ‘Building camaraderie’ and ‘Recognising positive change’, processes that map directly onto the concept of therapeutic alliance. Group members sought out opportunities to relate to one another, a process which was facilitated by the content and structure of the treatment. Therapeutic bonds were built within the group, and these positive relationships appeared to increase mutual engagement and commitment to see the treatment through. As part of this experience, participants noticed positive changes within themselves, which they attributed to attending the STEPPS programme. Conclusion. Service users experiences outlined within this study suggest that therapeutic alliance featured in the STEPPS treatment. Whilst STEPPS focuses on being a skills based programme, the relationships formed between all group members emerged as an important mechanism from which change was made possible. Further research is required to build on these findings and investigate the extent to which therapeutic alliance affects treatment outcome and drop out within this treatment package for individuals with BPD.
Supervisor: Draycott, Simon Sponsor: Surrey and Borders Partnerships Trust
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available