Therapist attachment style
Master of Social Work
School for Social Work
Psychotherapists-Psychology, Attachment behavior, Psychotherapist and patient, Therapist attachment style, Earned secure attachment
This qualitative study explored psychotherapists’ self-reports of attachment styles in the context of clinical work. Previous literature reports mixed findings regarding the impact of therapist attachment style on therapeutic processes. Twelve participants responded to semi-structured, open-ended questions targeting their subjective attachment experiences in clinical relationships. The results concluded with 20 themes addressing participants’ experiences and management of attachment securities and insecurities. The themes included: therapist insecurity in the clinical relationship, coping tools for attachment insecurity, challenges setting boundaries with clients, working with client attachment styles, developing insecure parts into strengths (consisting of two sub-categories: flexibility due to experience with multiple styles, and therapist relatability to client insecurity), higher insecurity in early career therapists, systemic oppression, security in clinical work, dealing with rejection, problems with supervisor, coping tools for continuous secure therapists, dependency, and thoughts on insecure style therapists. Findings that were unexpected or important to the field are discussed and interpreted. This paper addresses limitations of the study, and recommends directions for future research.
Nesburg, Mallory, "Examining therapist attachment style in clinical work : an exploratory study" (2017). Masters Thesis, Smith College, Northampton, MA.
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