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On October 31, 2022, Michael Wheaton, assistant professor of psychology, alongside  colleagues, published new research in the journal Psychotherapy Research titled, “Quality of the therapeutic working alliance as a factor in intensive residential treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder.” Their work explores how alignment (or misalignment) of perceptions might influence outcomes by focusing on meetings between cognitive-behavioral specialists and their patients who were receiving intensive residential treatment (IRT) for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). 

Using data from a naturalistic sample of patients with OCD who were receiving treatments at IRT facilities, Wheaton and his colleagues found that patient and clinician ratings of the quality of their working alliance were weak, yet significantly correlated. Patients’ ratings of the working alliance predicted treatment outcomes, but therapists’ ratings did not. Additionally, a lack of agreement between patient and client ratings was associated with worse treatment outcomes.