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ERIC Number: EJ860137
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Oct
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 33
ISSN: ISSN-0022-0167
Experienced Therapists' Approach to Psychotherapy for Adults with Attachment Avoidance or Attachment Anxiety
Daly, Katherine D.; Mallinckrodt, Brent
Journal of Counseling Psychology, v56 n4 p549-563 Oct 2009
Interviews were conducted with therapists (N = 12) nominated by peers as especially effective in working with clients with adult interpersonal problems. Open-ended questions asked how these therapists would approach 2 adult clients described in brief vignettes as having high attachment avoidance or anxiety. A coding team used a grounded theory approach to identify 8 higher order themes in the interviews: Conceptualization, Client Defenses, Managing Boundaries, Markers of Progress, Therapist Reactions, Targeted Interventions, Corrective Relational Patterns, and Internal Representations and Models. These themes were integrated into an inclusive theoretical model based on the core concept of therapists' strategic management of "therapeutic distance." The distance necessary to engage clients initially is adjusted later in therapy to create a corrective attachment in the psychotherapy relationship that facilitates change. Therapists described how, after engagement, they gradually increase therapeutic distance for clients with attachment anxiety who must then manage resulting frustration while learning to function more autonomously. Therapists gradually insist on decreased therapeutic distance to help clients with attachment avoidance overcome their fears of intimacy. Therapists discussed the specific techniques they use to manage therapeutic distance. (Contains 1 figure and 2 tables.)
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: District of Columbia; Missouri; Oregon