CLIENT ATTACHMENT AS A PREDICTOR OF THERAPIST INTERVENTIONS, THE WORKING ALLIANCE, AND THE REAL RELATIONSHIP IN THE INITIAL, MIDDLE, AND FINAL PHASES OF PSYCHOTHERAPY
Jackson, John Lawrence
Hill, Clara E
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This study investigated client attachment style as a predictor of (a) therapist interventions in an early, middle, and late session of psychotherapy; (b) client and therapist post-session ratings of the working alliance over the course of therapy; and (c) client and therapist post-session ratings of the real relationship over the course of therapy. A total of 41 clients and 14 therapists completed measures prior to and throughout open-term courses of psychotherapy ranging from 8 to 106 sessions. Client attachment style was measured using the anxiety and avoidance subscale scores from the Experiences in Close Relationships scale (ECR; Brennan, Clark, & Shaver, 1998). Therapist interventions were coded by trained observers using the Psychotherapy Q-Set (PQS; Jones, 2000). A factor analysis of therapist interventions revealed four factors: Therapist Facilitative Approach (TFA), Therapist Psychodynamic versus Behavioral Interventions (TPB), Therapist Supportive Approach (TSA), and Therapist Process Comments (TPC). Client attachment avoidance was positively associated with Therapist Supportive Approach (TSA), such that therapists were more likely to use directly supportive interventions with clients who endorsed higher levels of attachment avoidance at the outset of therapy. Otherwise, client attachment ratings were not significantly associated to overall levels of therapist interventions or change in therapist interventions over the course of therapy. Neither client attachment anxiety nor avoidance significantly predicted initial levels, mean levels, or patterns of change in client or therapist ratings of the working alliance or the real relationship over the course of psychotherapy. The findings are discussed in the context of findings and methodological differences from other investigations of client attachment, therapist interventions, and client and therapist ratings of the working alliance and the real relationship. Implications for future research and clinical practice are also discussed.