We had a constant battle'. The role of attachment status in counselling psychologists' experiences of personal therapy: Some results from a mixed methods study

Rosemary Rizq, Mary Target

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There has been curiously little empirical investigation into the experiences of psychotherapeutic practitioners undertaking a mandatory training therapy. We present results from a mixed-methods study designed to explore the way in which counselling psychologists’ attachment status and levels of reflective function intersect with how they experience the therapeutic relationship within their personal therapy. Participants were interviewed twice: once using Main and Goldwyn’s (1990) Adult Attachment Interview (AAI); and subsequently using a semi-structured interview format, analysed via interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA), to explore experiences of personal therapy. Meshing results from both sets of data showed that insecurely-attached participants experienced their personal therapy differently from secure or earned-secure participants, and were more troubled by a perceived disparity of institutional and interpersonal power within the therapeutic relationship. Results are considered in terms of the power dynamics within training therapy, and implications for training and future research in this neglected field are briefly discussed. © 2010, published by Taylor & Francis. This is an author produced version of a paper published in Counselling Psychology Quarterly, uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self- archiving policy. The final published version (version of record) is available online at the link below. Some minor differences between this version and the final published version may remain. We suggest you refer to the final published version should you wish to cite from it.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-27
JournalCounselling Psychology Quarterly
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 8 Dec 2010

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