The therapeutic relationship in internet intervention can be measured

A study published in the current issue of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics analyzes the therapeutic relationship in internet intervention. It is well known that the quality of the therapeutic relationship during face-to-face treatment contributes at least modestly to an effective treatment outcome.

A recent study suggested that the patient evaluation of the therapeutic relationship in internet-based therapy is comparable to that of face-to-face treatments. However, there might be specific issues of a therapeutic relationship during internet interventions that have been neglected so far. According to the Authors, no instrument currently exists to measure internet-specific aspects of the therapeutic relationship during internet-based interventions.

The aim of the study was thus to describe sensitivity to change, associations with pre-treatment patient characteristics and associations with patient-reported of an instrument to measure the therapeutic relationship during an internet intervention. To do so, 98 psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis patients who participated in the treatment arm of two ongoing trials between July 2010 and May 2014, were asked to fill out a paper-and-pencil version of the Internet-Specific Therapeutic Relationship Questionnaire (ITRQ) together with the Dutch translation of the short form of the Working Alliance Inventory (WAI-S), after an instruction session of the treatment website and again at treatment completion.

Overall findings demonstrate the feasibility of the ITRQ as a new measure for internet-specific aspects of the therapeutic relationship and supports earlier findings for the therapeutic relationship as a possible predictor for treatment outcome. As the Authors point out, future research should replicate and extend findings in other patient samples, possibly reveal which patients need support in dealing with the internet-specific aspects of internet-based interventions and aid researchers and clinicians in their understanding of the therapeutic relationship during internet-based interventions.

Explore further

Study finds mending ruptures in client-therapist relationship has positive benefits

More information: Maaike Ferwerda et al. Measuring the Therapeutic Relationship in Internet-Based Interventions, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics (2015). DOI: 10.1159/000435958
Journal information: Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics

Provided by Journal of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics
Citation: The therapeutic relationship in internet intervention can be measured (2016, February 2) retrieved 23 October 2019 from
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Feedback to editors

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more