The objective of this study was to investigate the role of therapeutic alliance on suicide ideation as outcome measure in a brief therapy for patients who attempted suicide. Sixty patients received the 3-session therapy supplemented by follow-up contact through regular letters. Therapeutic alliance was measured with the Helping Alliance Questionnaire (HAQ). Outcome at 6 and 12 months was measured with the Beck Scale for Suicide Ideation (BSS). Therapeutic alliance increased from session 1 to session 3. Higher alliance measures correlated with lower suicidal ideation at 12 months follow-up. A history of previous attempts and depression had a negative affect on therapeutic alliance. The results suggest that in the treatment of suicidal patients therapeutic alliance may be a moderating factor for reducing suicide ideation.
Keywords: attempted suicide; suicidal ideation; therapeutic alliance; treatment engagement.