The flip side of collaborative alliance: a single-case study

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Francesca Locati *
Pietro De Carli
Margherita Lang
Laura Parolin
(*) Corresponding Author:
Francesca Locati |


The present single case study explored whether a positive collaboration may conceal some of the patient’s dysfunctional interpersonal schemas, hence reflecting a non-authentic collaboration. In particular, we reasoned that conceiving collaborations only as adaptive relations may prevent a comprehensive insight of the therapeutic relationship itself. To explore this possibility, we used an intersubjective approach that emphasizes the integration of specific and non-specific factors in an interdependent way. In particular, we assessed different constructs (i.e. therapeutic alliance, technical interventions, defense mechanism, therapeutic relationship) of the therapeutic process and combined them through statistical methods able to investigate the micro- and macro-analytic processes that define each interaction. Results of a single case study (Sara) showed that the collaborative functioning may hold back many critical aspects, that hardly conciliate with the classic positive definition of collaboration. These findings, therefore, indicate that Sara’s collaborative alliance works mainly as a pseudo-alliance.

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