Patients’ Individual Differences In Implicit And Explicit Expectations From The Therapist As A Function Of Attachment Orientation

Sigal Zilcha-Mano, Tohar Dolev-Amit, Hadar Fisher, Tsachi Ein-Dor, Bernhard Strauß

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Patients' attachment orientation was found to be an important predictor of the process and outcome of psychotherapy. The present study is the first to examine whether patients' attachment orientation toward significant others predicts their implicit and explicit expectations from the therapist, and whether this effect is moderated by the extent to which the therapist has become an attachment figure. In two studies (N = 308), we developed measures of implicit (lexical decision task) and explicit expectations from therapist, and tested the presence of individual differences in expectations as a function of the patients' attachment orientation, early and late in treatment. Whereas individuals higher on attachment anxiety did not report having fewer positive expectations from therapist early in treatment, they showed lower accessibility of positive expectations when measured implicitly. As treatment progressed, the extent to which the therapist has become an attachment figure may mitigate the adverse effects of pretreatment attachment anxiety. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)682-695
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Counseling Psychology
Volume68
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 American Psychological Association

Keywords

  • Anxiety
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Humans
  • Individuality
  • Motivation
  • Object Attachment
  • Professional-Patient Relations
  • Psychotherapy

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