Client attachment, attachment to the therapist and client-therapist attachment match: How do they relate to change in psychodynamic psychotherapy?

Hadas Wiseman*, Orya Tishby

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: We examined the associations between client attachment, client attachment to the therapist, and symptom change, as well as the effects of client-therapist attachment match on outcome. Clients (n = 67) and their therapists (n = 27) completed the ECR to assess attachment. Method: Clients completed also the Client Attachment to Therapist scale three times (early, middle, and late sessions) and the OQ-45 at intake and four times over the course of a year of psychodynamic psychotherapy. Results: Clients characterized by avoidant attachment and by avoidant attachment to their therapist showed the least improvement. A low-avoidant client-therapist attachment match led to a greater decrease in symptom distress than when a low-avoidant therapist treated a high-avoidant client. Conclusions: These findings suggest the importance of considering client-therapist attachment matching and the need to pay attention to the special challenges involved in treating avoidant clients in order to facilitate progress in psychotherapy.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)392-406
Number of pages15
JournalPsychotherapy Research
Volume24
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Israel Science Foundation (ISF) [grant 178/07] to Hadas Wiseman and Orya Tishby.

Keywords

  • client attachment
  • client attachment to therapist
  • client-therapist matching
  • outcome
  • psychodynamic psychotherapy
  • therapeutic relationship
  • therapist attachment

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