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Psychother Res. 2010 Nov;20(6):702-11. doi: 10.1080/10503307.2010.518635.

Client attachment orientations, working alliances, and responses to therapy: a psychology training clinic study.

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Department of Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology, Western Michigan University, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49503, USA.


The authors examined the associations between client attachment orientations, working alliance, and progress in therapy. Ninety-five clients at two university-based training clinics completed measures of adult attachment, attachment to therapist, and working alliance immediately preceding the third counseling session with therapists-in-training. A standardized measure of progress in therapy was administered at intake, third counseling session, and termination. Hierarchical linear modeling findings indicated that stronger working alliances and secure attachment to therapist were significantly associated with greater reductions in client distress over time. Higher levels of adult attachment anxiety were significantly associated with greater distress ratings at the outset of treatment. Directions for future research and suggestions for developing therapeutic relationships in the context of specific client attachment orientations are discussed.

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