Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice

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Volume 78 Issue 3 (September 2005), Pages 275-417

Self‐reported attachment styles and therapeutic orientation of therapists and their relationship with reported general alliance quality and problems in therapy (pages 363-377)

The aims of this study were to explore the relationship between therapists' self‐reported attachment styles and therapeutic orientation with the self‐reported general therapeutic alliance and therapist‐reported problems in psychological therapy.

A sample of 491 psychotherapists from differing therapeutic orientations responded to a postal questionnaire. The questionnaire contained standardized measures of therapeutic alliance quality, attachment behaviours, a checklist of problems in therapy, and a brief personality inventory.

Therapist‐reported attachment styles generally explained a significant additional proportion of the variance in alliance and problems in therapy, over and above variance explained by general personality variables. Self‐reported secure attachment style was significantly positively correlated with therapist‐reported general good alliance. Self‐reported anxious attachment styles were significantly negatively correlated with good alliance, and significantly positively correlated with the number of therapist‐reported problems in therapy. Therapeutic orientation independently predicted a small but significant amount of the variance in reported general alliance quality in addition to that explained by attachment behaviours.

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