Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Psychological and Brain Sciences

Committee Chair

Murrell, Stanley A.

Author's Keywords

Therapeutic alliance; Symptom reduction; Interpersonal change; Time-limited interpersonal therapy


Interpersonal relations--Psychological aspects; Therapeutics


This study examined two questions related to interpersonal change as an outcome of Time-Limited Interpersonal Therapy (TLIPT). The first asked if clients experience both symptom change and interpersonal change when treated with TLIPT. The second explored factors that contribute to interpersonal changes in clients treated with TLIPT. The study examined a sample of 61 clients who identified interpersonal problems as a primary therapeutic issue and were treated with between 9 and 76 sessions of TLIPT. Repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) of the first question revealed that clients experienced significant reductions in measures of symptoms and interpersonal distress. Clients also experienced significant increases in therapist-rated interpersonal affiliation dimension (i.e., clients increased in friendliness and decreased in hostility) and self-rated interpersonal control (i.e., clients increased in dominance and decreased in submissiveness). Additionally, statistical trends suggested that clients experienced modest reductions in the self-rated and therapist-rated measures of interpersonal rigidity and extremity; modest increases in self-rated and significant other-rated affiliation; and modest increases in therapist-rated control. Analyses of the second question explored the role of early alliance, early symptom reduction, early stage and middle stage therapist and client complementarity in contributing to interpersonal change. ANOVA comparisons of those with high interpersonal changes and those with low interpersonal changes indicated that there were no statistically significant differences in these variables between the two groups. However, statistical trends indicate that higher early complementarity on the control dimension may be associated with reductions in interpersonal rigidity and increases on the control dimension; and that higher affiliation complementarity in the middle of therapy may be associated with increases on the affiliation dimension. Further analyses revealed that therapists and clients had significantly lower complementarity on the affiliation dimension in the middle phase of therapy than in the early phase of therapy. Implications for future research are discussed.