Therapeutic alliance is a factor of change in arts therapies and psychomotor therapy with adults who have mental health problems

Evelyn Heynen*, Jesse Roest, Gemmy Willemars, Susan van Hooren

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The outcomes of relational therapies depend on the ability to create an open and cooperative alliance (task, bond, goal) between client and therapist. The present research investigated the influences of 17 weeks of arts therapies on the therapeutic alliance and symptom change for 164 adults with mental health problems using the Working Alliance Inventory-12 and the Brief Symptom Inventory. Results show that alliance scores increased over time during arts-therapies, and psychomotor therapy specifically for the task subscale. Furthermore, results show that there was a significant effect of the therapeutic alliance on symptom reduction (depression and anxiety) during treatment. Results indicate that participants who experienced the alliance as positive showed a higher decrease in depressive symptoms in the early phase and for anxiety symptoms in the later phase of the therapy. The present results give first implications of the role of the therapeutic alliance in arts-therapies and psychomotor therapy within adults with mental health needs. (C) 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-115
Number of pages5
JournalArts in Psychotherapy
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2017


  • Therapeutic alliance
  • Arts therapies
  • Mental health services

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