An Attachment Perspective on Therapeutic Processes and Outcomes
Article first published online: 21 FEB 2013
© 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Journal of Personality
Special Issue: Personality Psychology and Psychotherapy
Volume 81, Issue 6, pages 606–616, December 2013
How to Cite
Mikulincer, M., Shaver, P. R. and Berant, E. (2013), An Attachment Perspective on Therapeutic Processes and Outcomes. Journal of Personality, 81: 606–616. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-6494.2012.00806.x
- Issue published online: 4 NOV 2013
- Article first published online: 21 FEB 2013
- Accepted manuscript online: 20 JUL 2012 02:00AM EST
Over the past decade, there has been an explosion of interest in clinical applications of attachment theory. In the present article, we briefly describe John Bowlby's model of therapeutic change, the therapeutic relationship, and the therapist's role in emotional healing. We then review empirical evidence for three key propositions in Bowlby's model. First, a client's sense of security during therapy is crucial for facilitating therapeutic work. Second, a therapist's own sense of security contributes to positive therapeutic outcomes. Third, attachment insecurities can be effectively reduced in therapy, and movement toward greater attachment security is central to achieving favorable therapeutic outcomes. In sum, research evidence confirms the importance of establishing what Bowlby called a safe haven and a secure base within a therapeutic relationship.