Study Shows Pressley Ridge's ABLE Tool Accelerates Working Alliance Between Client and Behavioral Health Provider

PITTSBURGH, Sept. 18, 2021 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — With the support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Pressley Ridge’s Social Research and Innovation Center (SRIC) is analyzing relationships between social service providers and clients through a series of research studies. A recent study tested Pressley Ridge’s Alliance Building: Learning to Engage (ABLE), a model for developing and tracking provider-client relationships, also known as working alliances. Pressley Ridge realizes that these alliances (with individuals, groups, teams, etc.) are at the center of everything we do. ABLE encourages providers to open the lines of communication and collaboration with the individuals they serve with a series of prompts. Alongside these prompts is a mobile application that providers use to save client feedback and monitor the strength of their alliances over time.

In the research study, one group of providers used ABLE with their youth clients and another group did not. Results from the study revealed that youth-provider pairs who used the ABLE feedback tool developed a strong working alliance faster than youth-provider pairs who did not use the tool. At three months into treatment, youth using the ABLE feedback tool reported significantly stronger, more healthy working alliances than youth who were not using the ABLE feedback tool with providers.

The results of this study, which were recently published in the Journal of Child and Family Studies, are significant to the child welfare field where services are often brief or condensed by design. In addition, working alliance experts stress the importance of forging a strong working alliance early in treatment, citing benefits such as improved client outcomes and reduced mental health issues. Having a tool available that hastens the development of the working alliance is useful to all clinicians but may be particularly supportive to those providing brief treatment.

“The working alliance is an important piece of knowing how well we connect with people to ensure we are positively impacting our communities, youth, and families,” said Susanne Cole, President and CEO. “ABLE was developed to be applicable to a wide-variety of individuals, services, and systems within the human services field, and we are pleased to now have proof that this method expedites the path to stronger, healthier client-provider relationships.”

Pressley Ridge is currently sharing the results with staff and examining how the ABLE intervention might support working alliance-building efforts. The organization will continue to explore how employees create and maintain healthy working alliances with youth and families. For more information about this work, please contact Michael Valenti, Senior Research Coordinator ([email protected]).

About Pressley Ridge
Pressley Ridge provides individuals and families with hope and support through life’s challenges. Each year, 9,000 children and families are strengthened through community-based mental health services, foster care and adoption, specialized education and supportive services for transition-age youth. Our more than 70 programs all share a common goal of establishing stable, healthy families and life-long connections that result in a successful, happy life. Pressley Ridge was founded in 1832 and remains headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A legacy of successful outcomes has allowed the organization to expand services to communities in Central Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia and Delaware.

Media Contact

Dacia Moran, Krol Media Associates, 4127603594, [email protected]


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