Working alliance for clients with social anxiety disorder: Relationship with session helpfulness and within-session habituation

Sarah A. Hayes, Debra A Hope, Melanie M. VanDyke, Richard G. Heimberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Scopus citations


It has been suggested that a strong working alliance encourages clients to take risks during therapy (Raue, Castonguay, & Goldfried, 1993). This encouragement may be important for clients who fear negative evaluations as they engage in risk-taking elements of therapy. This study examined the relationship between working alliance, session helpfulness and measures of emotional processing in 18 clients undergoing cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) for social anxiety disorder. Results indicate a positive correlation between client-rated, but not observer-rated, working alliance and session helpfulness. Moderate levels of working alliance were associated with higher initial anxiety and deeper within-session habituation. Overall, a strong alliance was associated with clients engaging with the session and finding the session helpful. Implications for the use of CBT for social anxiety are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34-42
Number of pages9
JournalCognitive Behaviour Therapy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 20 2007



  • Cognitive behavior therapy
  • Emotional processing
  • Exposure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology

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