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Title: Exploring clinical psychologists' attachment to their own personal therapists : implications for their clinical practice
Author: Gascon-Ramos, M.
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2020
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Background: Attachment theory has made significant contributions to clinical psychology and there is an interest increasing in attachment-informed approaches to therapy. Attachment research suggests that successful psychotherapy relies on therapists’ attachment security and their ability to reflect on the therapist-client attachment interplay. However, therapists with insecure attachment often struggle with lower reflective function (RF). Personal therapy (PT) can develop RF and attachment awareness in clinical psychologists (CPs). Aim: To study how reflecting about CPs’ relationships with their personal therapist contributes to their awareness and understanding of their own attachment and its implications for their practice. Methods: From a social constructionist approach, 12 CPs were interviewed. Thematic analysis was used to analyse interview transcripts. Results: Thematic analysis resulted in three main themes: constructing and understanding their own attachment; bringing in an emotional dimension into attachment; and the clinical implications of attachment awareness. Conclusion: Through PT, CPs’ increased their awareness about their own attachment. The idea of attachment security was deconstructed, in support of a range of attachment responses that CPs can reflect about when interacting with others. This forged a sense of robustness in the self from where to work relationally with clients, raising clients’ awareness about their relational needs in the TR.
Supervisor: Smithson, J. ; Weightman, E. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: attachment ; personal therapy ; psychotherapy ; qualitative ; thematic analysis