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J Marital Fam Ther. 2016 Apr;42(2):231-45. doi: 10.1111/jmft.12139. Epub 2015 Oct 29.

Changes in Relationship-Specific Attachment in Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy.

Author information

1
Emmrys, Dawe, Parlee Group.
2
Department of Psychology, Mount Allison University.
3
School of Psychology, University of Ottawa.
4
Ottawa Couple and Family Institute.
5
Greenbelt Family Health Team, Ottawa Couple and Family Institute.
6
The Ottawa Hospital.
7
School of Psychology and Department of Psychiatry, University of Ottawa.
8
Department of Psychology, The Ottawa Hospital.

Abstract

Emotionally focused couple therapy (EFT; Johnson, The practice of emotionally focused couple therapy (1st/2nd edition). Brunner-Routledge, New York, 2004) is an effective treatment of relationship distress (Johnson et al., Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 1999; 6, 67). However, less is known about EFT's impact on couples' relationship-specific attachment bond. Using hierarchical linear modeling with a sample of 32 couples, we examined session-by-session changes in couples' relationship-specific attachment anxiety and avoidance and pre- to posttherapy changes in their relationship-specific attachment behaviors. Couples significantly decreased in relationship-specific attachment avoidance, and those who completed a blamer softening significantly decreased in relationship-specific attachment anxiety. Couples' attachment behavior significantly increased toward security. Finally, session-by-session decreases in relationship-specific attachment anxiety and avoidance were significant associated with increases in relationship satisfaction across sessions. These results provide empirical support for the attachment-based assumptions of EFT. Video abstract accessible by clicking here.

PMID:
26511674
DOI:
10.1111/jmft.12139
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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