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Title: An attachment theory-informed thematic analysis of bereaved families' narratives
Author: Willcox, Rachel Sarah
ISNI:       0000 0004 6349 1193
Awarding Body: University of the West of England
Current Institution: University of the West of England, Bristol
Date of Award: 2017
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Attachment theory predicts that family bereavement leads even securely attached individuals to experience temporary attachment insecurity. Attachment in/security is displayed through the way narratives are constructed, and the Adult Attachment Interview posits particular indices of ‘narrative incoherence’ for narratives related to experiences of bereavement. This thesis explores bereaved families’ therapy narratives to see if they display signs of narrative incoherence or evidence of lack of resolution as predicted by attachment theory. The thesis also examines whether there is evidence of shifts and changes changes in the stories over time that could be understood as reflecting a move towards greater coherence. Families are dynamic systems and the stories told in family therapy are co-creations between family members and the therapists: the impact of the actions of family members and therapists on narrative coherence are also analysed. Five bereaved families’ narratives were recorded during the therapy intervention ‘Telling the Story’, at the beginning and towards the end of their family bereavement therapy. An Attachment Theory informed Thematic Analysis was carried out on the transcripts and identified four themes: Evidence of Unresolved Loss, Creating Incoherence, Creating Coherence and Evidence of Coherence. Results show that there is, as predicted by the Adult Attachment Interview, evidence of narrative incoherence, and additionally there are behavioural and systemic features that create further incoherence in the narratives. The results also show how coherence can be created and what features a more coherent family story includes. The findings have implications for bereavement therapy interventions, therapist training and methodological development. Limitations and suggestions for further research are also discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Couns.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: attachment ; theory-informed ; thematic ; analysis ; bereaved ; families ; narratives