Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Schizophrenia-Treatment, Psychotherapist and patient, Therapeutic alliance, Therapeutic relationships, Schizophrenia


This study aimed to explore how one attempts to build a therapeutic alliance with someone who is living with a schizophrenia-spectrum disorder. Finding out more about how one attempts to form therapeutic relationship with a client who has symptoms of schizophrenia-spectrum may help provide more insight about the challenges that may arise in trying to connect to these individuals, what mental health workers have found to be barriers and how they attempted to mend any breaks in the relationship, thus adding to literature for further research. A narrative online survey link was emailed to all members on the United States list serve for the International Society for Psychological and Social Approaches to Psychosis (ISPS); snowball sampling was also used to recruit further participants. This study acquired 20 participants who answered open-ended questions aimed at professional experience with a specific client of their choosing. Findings supported the notion that forming therapeutic connection with those living with schizophrenia-spectrum diagnoses can present as challenging. Data looked at the different ways participants mentioned working with their clients, differences in clients with schizoaffective versus schizophrenia diagnoses, and how professionals sustained their efforts despite facing challenges. Further research is needed.




iv, 72 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2012. Includes bibliographical references (p. 56-63)