Core conflictual relationship theme – guided psychotherapy: Initial effectiveness study of a 16-session manualized approach in a sample of six patients


Correspondence should be addressed to Dr Josée L. Jarry, University of Windsor, Windsor, Ontario, Canada N9B 3P4 (e-mail:



This study examined the effectiveness of a manualized, 16-sessions, core conflictual relationship theme (CCRT)-based treatment.


Treatment effects were assessed for statistical and clinical significance in a pre- and post-therapy design.


Six patients seeking help mostly for interpersonal difficulties received CCRT-based psychotherapy. The therapists were six supervised doctoral students. An average of four assessment sessions and one goal-setting session preceded 16 sessions of psychotherapy consisting mainly of interpretive work focused on one CCRT. Patients completed measures of general and treatment specific outcome indicators at the beginning and the end of therapy. Alliance measures were completed by patients after each session.


The alliance was strong and the treatment had high credibility. Parametric and non-parametric tests showed that patients significantly improved on the general measures of self-esteem, symptomatic distress, anxiety, and depression, as well as on the treatment specific measures of interpersonal functioning, use of immature defences, and CCRT-associated subjective discomfort, with large effect sizes.


These preliminary results suggest that this manualized, CCRT-based, treatment produces general and approach specific improvements. Replication is needed to ascertain its effectiveness with a larger sample size and within a controlled design.