The Secure-Base Hypothesis: Global Attachment, Attachment to Counselor, and Session Exploration in Psychotherapy

McGill University.
Journal of Counseling Psychology (Impact Factor: 3.23). 10/2008; 55(4):495-504. DOI: 10.1037/a0013721
Source: PubMed


This study explored J. Bowlby's (1988) secure-base hypothesis, which predicts that a client's secure attachment to the therapist, as well as the client's and the therapist's global attachment security, will facilitate in-session exploration. Volunteer clients (N = 59) and trainee counselors (N = 59) in short-term therapy completed the Experiences in Close Relationship Scale (K. A. Brennan, C. L. Clark, & P. R. Shaver, 1998) as a measure of adult global romantic and peer attachment orientations; the Client Attachment to Therapist Scale (B. Mallinckrodt, D. L. Gantt, & H. M. Coble, 1995) as a measure of attachment to counselor; the Working Alliance Inventory (A. O. Horvath & L. Greenberg, 1989) as a measure of working alliance; and the Session Evaluation Questionnaire-Depth Subscale (W. B. Stiles & J. S. Snow, 1984) as a measure of session depth. In line with Bowlby's hypothesis, the findings suggest that session depth is related to the client's experience of attachment security with the counselor and that counselor global attachment moderates the relationship between client global attachment and session exploration. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved).

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    • "In addition, researchers have found that it is the interaction between therapist and client attachments that is important to study (Marmarosh et al., 2014; Mohr et al., 2005; Romano et al., 2008); however, we did not measure client attachment and were not able to examine how client and therapist attachments together relate to ruptures and repairs. Prior researchers have found that therapists and clients do not share the same perceptions of ruptures in treatment (Safran et al., 2011). "
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    ABSTRACT: Although extensively discussed in theoretical papers, empirical studies of therapist attachment and perceptions of ruptures and repairs are lacking. The present study examined the relationship between therapist attachment anxiety and avoidance and their perceptions of rupture tension, effort, and repair. Twenty-two novice therapists completed a measure of adult romantic attachment and a measure to assess perceptions of ruptures and repairs following the eighth session with their first clients. Results revealed that there was a strong positive correlation between therapist attachment anxiety and effort spent focused on perceived ruptures and a moderate positive correlation between attachment anxiety and rupture tension. There was no significant relationship between attachment anxiety and perceived repairs of ruptures. Attachment avoidance was not significantly correlated with either perceptions of the ruptures or repairs. Therapists who were higher on anxiety and avoidance, more fearful therapists, reported the most ruptures. Limitations and implications of the findings are presented. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved).
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