Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)


Social Work

First Advisor

Philip AuClaire


Social Work


Previous research indicates that the therapeutic alliance is a main factor in determining successful outcomes of psychotherapy. The goal of this study was to expand the understanding of not only the therapeutic alliance, but also how other contributing factors such as empathy, experience of the therapist, therapeutic modality, client’s level of motivation, personality, and symptomology increase positive therapeutic outcomes. The present study explored the following research question: What are the key factors to producing successful therapeutic outcomes in individual psychotherapy? This is an exploratory study with a qualitative research design. The findings of this study appear to correlate closely with the literature reviewed. The therapeutic alliance remains a key component of creating successful outcomes in psychotherapy. Empathy also continues to be an integral factor to not only forming the alliance, but also increasing a client’s ability to feel validated and understood. It appears that experience does not always increase the odds of creating successful outcomes in therapy, and no one type of therapeutic modality is superior to another. The findings also concur that a client’s level of motivation, personality characteristics, and symptomology do play a role in their therapeutic outcomes.

Included in

Social Work Commons