Date of Award

2010

Level of Access

Campus-Only Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Interdisciplinary Program

Advisor

Tina Passman

Second Committee Member

Elizabeth DePoy

Third Committee Member

Sandra S. Butler

Abstract

This study was conducted in order to inform the promotion of equality of access to mental health services for persons with disabilities. Decades of research have established that good therapy alliances are associated with positive therapy outcomes. Analogue design was used to survey practicing clinicians about their alliance responses to either an able bodied or disabled body 'client" photo and identical case study. The survey employed the Working Alliance Inventory-Short Form (WAI-S) and additional demographic questions to examine the extent to which alliance and its component parts would be influenced by the presence of an atypical disabled body as compared to a non-disabled body. No direct relationship between alliance scores and the disabled body condition were established. However, findings revealed a significant positive relationship between the degree of experience a clinician had with disability as a professional and the strength of the alliance scored. Additional findings and limitations of the study are discussed. Suggestions for future research aimed at advancing equal opportunity for all individuals to participate in mental health services are articulated.

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