Care, Control, or Both? Characterizing Major Dimensions of the Mandated Treatment Relationship

Current conceptualizations of the therapeutic alliance may not capture key features of therapeutic relationships in mandated treatment, which may extend beyond care (i.e., bond and affiliation) to include control (i.e., behavioral monitoring and influence). This study is designed to determine whether mandated treatment relationships involve greater control than traditional treatment relationships, and if so, whether this control covaries with reduced affiliation. In this study, 125 mental health court participants described the nature of their mandated treatment relationships using the INTREX (Benjamin, L., 2000, SASB/ INTREX: Instructions for administering questionnaires, interpreting reports, and giving raters feedback (Unpublished manual). Salt Lake City, UT: University of Utah, Department of Psychology), a measure based on the interpersonal circumplex theory and assesses eight interpersonal clusters organized by orthogonal axes of affiliation and control. INTREX cluster scores were statistically compared to existingdata from three separate voluntary treatment samples, and structural summary analyses were applied to distill the predominant theme of mandated treatment relationships. Compared with voluntary treatment relationships, mandated treatment relationships demonstrate greater therapist control and corresponding client submission. Nonetheless, the predominant theme of these relationships is affiliative and autonomygranting. Although mandated treatment relationships involve significantly greater therapist control than traditional relationships, they remain largely affiliative and consistent with the principles of healthy adult attachment.