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Self-reported anxious- and avoidant-related attachment correlated to interpersonal problems by patients starting psychotherapy
Örebro University, School of Health and Medical Sciences, Örebro University, Sweden. Psychiatric Research Centre, Örebro, sweden.
Department of Psychology, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.
Örebro University, School of Health and Medical Sciences, Örebro University, Sweden. Psychiatric Research Centre, Örebro, Sweden.
Örebro University, School of Health and Medical Sciences, Örebro University, Sweden. Psychiatric Research Centre, Örebro, Sweden.
2012 (English)In: E-Journal of Applied Psychology, ISSN 1832-7931, E-ISSN 1832-7931, Vol. 8, no 1, p. 9-17Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Attachment theory is an encompassing theory for understanding human reactions to life stressors, such as loss and separation and interpersonal problems are common reasons for seeking psychotherapy. Psychotherapy may be an opportunity to revise insecure attachment and handle interpersonal problems. This study examined attachment styles and interpersonal problems in a clinical sample of psychotherapy patients (n =168) at the start of psychotherapy. The main aim was to study how self-reported attachment styles, measured by the Attachment Style Questionnaire (ASQ), correlated with interpersonal problems measured using the Inventory of Interpersonal Problems (IIP). Avoidant-related  and anxious-related  attachment scales correlated positively to the total IIP scores. Inconsistent with findings in nonclinical samples, specific interpersonal problems in the dominant and affiliative parts of the IIP correlated positively to both the anxious-related and the avoidant-related attachment scales. The findings imply that a challenge for the therapist, at the start of psychotherapy, is to balance providing security with encouraging exploration of feelings, thoughts, and behaviour in the patient’s interpersonal problems in current relationships. Exploring individual profiles of attachment styles helps to clarify motives in expressed interpersonal problems.

 

 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Hawthorn, Australia: Swinburne University of Technology, Faculty of Health, Arts and Design , 2012. Vol. 8, no 1, p. 9-17
Keywords [en]
Attachment style, interpersonal problems, patients, psychiatry, psychotherapy
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences Psychiatry
Research subject
Medicine
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-27143DOI: 10.7790/ejap.v8i1.261OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-27143DiVA, id: diva2:602694
Available from: 2013-02-02 Created: 2013-01-30 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Psychotherapy patients in mental health care:: attachment styles, interpersonal problems and therapy experiences
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Psychotherapy patients in mental health care:: attachment styles, interpersonal problems and therapy experiences
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Mona Wilhelmsson Göstas, School of Health and Medical Sciences, Örebro University, SE-701 82 Örebro, Sweden, mona.vilhelmsson gostas@orebroll.se Attachment styles are relevant to psychotherapy since they highlight the way a person handles interpersonal and emotional stress. This thesis aimed to examine how psychotherapy patients in the public mental health care system report attachment styles related to interpersonal problems and diagnosis before and after psychotherapy and to examine problems and changes and psychotherapy contract and process from patients’ experiences of cognitive behavioural oriented therapy (CBT) and psychodynamic oriented psychotherapy (PDT).

The studies are based on data from patients admitted to psychotherapy within the public psychiatric services in Örebro County Council. Studies I and IV were quantitative and used self-reports to examine attachment styles and interpersonal problems before and after psychotherapy. Studies II and III were qualitative interview studies examining patients experiences of problems, changes and psychotherapy process. The patients were diagnosed with mood disorders, anxiety disorders, adjustment disorders and personality disorders and reported insecure avoidant and anxious attachment styles that correlated positively with interpersonal problems when they started therapy. Psychotherapy with CBT or PDT enabled them to turn attachment styles into more secure ones and decrease interpersonal problems Patients aged between 26 and 39, patients who attended 11-25 sessions and patients diagnosed with a personality disorder reported greater changes in secure related attachment than others. Patients described their problems as emotions that could not be regulated, as cognitive disabilities and as problematic behaviours that implied a self-centredness. During the course of psychotherapy, the patients gained abilities to handle their problems. The perceived self-centeredness changed which increased their participation in their life-context.

Similarities across the therapy orientations showed that the creation of a new context was essential to pay full attention to the patient’s problems, and that the working method and cooperation with the psychotherapist made up a whole. To make the therapy effective, it is important to build up confidence in cooperation and secure base functions like offering predictability and shaping interventions according to the needs of the patient and their ability to use them.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro universitet, 2014. p. 91
Series
Örebro Studies in Medicine, ISSN 1652-4063 ; 103
Keywords
attachment styles, interpersonal problems, psychotherapy, psychiatric patients, qualitative analysis
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Research subject
Medicine
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-33935 (URN)978-91-7529-014-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-05-09, Hörsal C2, Campus USÖ, (Universitetssjukhuset), Södra Grev Rosengatan, 703 62 Örebro, 08:35 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2014-02-26 Created: 2014-02-26 Last updated: 2017-10-17Bibliographically approved

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Wilhelmsson Göstas, MonaEngström, IngemarKjellin, Lars

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