Encephale. 2014 Nov 4. pii: S0013-7006(14)00245-0. doi: 10.1016/j.encep.2014.10.021. [Epub ahead of print]
[Relationship between defense mechanism and therapeutic alliance.]
[Article in French]
Laconi S1, Cailhol L2, Pourcel L3, Thalamas C4, Lapeyre-Mestre M3, Chabrol H5.
1Octogone, centre d'études et de recherches en psychopathologie, pavillon de la recherche - Bureau R31, université Toulouse II-Le Mirail, 5, allées Antonio-Machado, 31058 Toulouse cedex, France. Electronic address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
2CSSS Saint-Jérôme, 175, rue Durand, QC J7Z2V4 Saint-Jérôme, Canada; Institut universitaire de santé mentale de Montréal, 7401, rue Hochelaga, Montréal, Québec H1N 3M5, Canada.
3Service de pharmacologie, faculté de médecine de Purpan, 37, allées Jules-Guesde, 31073 Toulouse cedex, France.
4Inserm, CIC 9302 Toulouse, pavillon Riser, hôpital Purpan, CHU de Toulouse, place du Dr-Baylac, TSA 40031, 31059 Toulouse, France.
5Octogone, centre d'études et de recherches en psychopathologie, pavillon de la recherche - Bureau R31, université Toulouse II-Le Mirail, 5, allées Antonio-Machado, 31058 Toulouse cedex, France.
The therapeutic alliance can be defined as a collaborative relationship between the patient and the practitioner. It represents an essential component of the psychotherapeutic process (Ambresin et al., 2007; Cungi, 2006; Martin et al., 2000). Some authors suggest that a good alliance can have a favorable impact on the therapeutic success (Barber et al., 2000; Hubble, Duncan, & Miller 1999; Horvath & Luborsky, 1993; Horvath & Symonds, 1991). This alliance can be influenced by psychological and behavioral factors (Cungi, 2006) Thus, some defense mechanisms could prevent change or, on the contrary could facilitate adaptation (Ambresin et al., 2007) and have an impact on the therapeutic success (Muris & Merckelbach, 1996). However, the relationship between therapeutic alliance and defense mechanisms represents an insufficiently explored field (Ambresin et al., 2007; Cungi, 2006). The aim of the present study was to examine the relationship between therapeutic alliance and twenty defense mechanisms in a sample of French psychiatric patients, by differentiating results in men and women. We also examined the positive and the negative therapeutic alliance.
Sixty patients aged from 18 to 58 (M=41.50; SD=11.03) completed the French versions of the Defense Style Questionnaire-40 (DSQ-40) and the Helping Alliance questionnaire-II (HAq-II).
Therapeutic alliance was significantly associated with each defense style: mature (0.62), neurotic (0.45) P<0.01and immature (0.27) p<0.05. The mature defense style was a significant predictor of therapeutic alliance (R2 adj=36, F=12.39, β=0.65, P<0.01) and of positive therapeutic alliance (R2 adj=36, F=12.34, β=0.62, P<0.001). Among women, positive therapeutic alliance was significantly associated with all mature defenses, three neurotic defenses (reaction formation, pseudo-altruism, idealization) and four immature defenses (splitting, denial, somatization, passive aggression). Among men, three mature defenses were associated (anticipation, humor, sublimation), four neurotic (reaction formation, pseudo-altruism, idealization and undoing) and two immature (somatization and denial). The negative therapeutic alliance, in our total sample, was associated with two immature defenses (denial and dissociation). Among men, displacement was the only defense associated with negative alliance, among women no defenses was significant.
These results highlight the relationship between therapeutic alliance and some defense mechanisms, like some authors have suggested (Ambresin et al., 2007; Bond & Perry, 2004; Bond, 2004). Moreover, some defenses appeared to be more associated with a positive or a negative therapeutic alliance, and could depend on the patient gender.
The present study confirms the importance of taking into account the gender in the study of defense mechanisms, and to increase our knowledge about the relationship between therapeutic alliance and defense mechanisms.
Copyright © 2014 L’Encéphale, Paris. Published by Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.
Alliance thérapeutique; Defense mechanisms; Mécanismes de défense; Therapeutic alliance