Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A mixed methods investigation of themes of relationship and attachment styles of trainee therapists at a university in Southern California
by Elliott, Grant, Ph.D., Capella University, 2011, 123; 3474106
Abstract (Summary)

Considerable research suggests that the relational elements of the client/therapist interchange are key predictors of therapeutic change. Attachment theory provides a valid and reliable theoretical tool to investigate intra-psychic relational constructs. While there is a growing body of inquiry that looks at attachment features from the client’s perspective, or from the attachment perspective of both client and therapist, there is a paucity of research that examines this phenomenon solely from the perspective of the therapist. This mixed methods study administered a self-report attachment measurement, the Experience of Close Relationship-Revised (ECR-R) to a group of trainee therapists, a subset of whom were subsequently interviewed regarding their subjective experience of relationship with their clients. Sixty-seven trainee therapists were administered the ECR-R. From this group, 15 were interviewed regarding their experiences as a therapist. These 15 were selected based upon their ECR-R scores (five each from each scoring category: elevated anxiety, elevated avoidance, non-elevated anxiety/avoidance). It was expected that themes derived from these interviews would show a difference in quantity between groups (more expressions of anxiety/discomfort among the elevated groups and more expressions of security/comfort among the non-elevated group). A qualitative thematic examination of interview transcripts did yield meaning units that could be categorized into the overarching themes of anxiety/discomfort and security/comfort. While on average, the expected findings were observed (elevated groups averaged more anxiety/discomfort expressions; non-elevated participants averaged more security/comfort expressions) a chi-square analysis showed that these observed differences were not statistically significant.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Kostere, Kim
Commitee: Glazer, Hilda, Small, Linwood
School: Capella University
Department: Harold Abel School of Social and Behavioral Sciences
School Location: United States -- Minnesota
Source: DAI-B 72/12, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational psychology, Counseling Psychology
Keywords: Attachment, Client, Relationship, Therapist, Trainee
Publication Number: 3474106
ISBN: 978-1-124-89782-0
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