Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice

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Volume 54 Issue 3 (September 1981), Pages 203-297

Attachment theory: Its relevance to the therapeutic alliance (pages 203-212)

Bowlby' concept of attachment is seen to be relevant to that part of the therapist‐patient relationship in analytic psychotherapy which enables the patient to remain in, and work in, the relationship despite his transference feelings, viz. the therapeutic alliance. The concept of attachment is felt to bring together under a common framework two aspects of the therapeutic relationship upon which many writers have individually commented, viz. that the interpretation is not the sole therapeutic factor and that there is a resemblance between the therapist‐patient relationship and the mother‐child relationship. Finally, the concept of attachment is seen to supplement that of dependence in the patient‐therapist relationship, and by doing so to emphasize the importance of the human relationship therein.

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