Family Dysfunction, Alexithymia, and Client Attachment to Therapist

    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid


Alexithymia involves problems differentiating affective states such as fear, sadness, or anger; difficulty expressing feelings; and a tendency to rely on external cues rather than internal experience for making decisions. This study examined alexithymia as a possible mediator by which dysfunctional family environment in childhood affects adult clients' attachment relationship to their therapist. Clients (N = 61) completed measures of dysfunctional family structure (Family Structure Survey), alexithymia (Toronto Alexithymia Scale), and their counseling relationship (Client Attachment to Therapist Scale). Findings suggest that fear of separation was associated with both alexithymia and poor client attachment to therapist. Parent–child role reversal was associated with problems in identifying feelings. Role reversal and marital conflict were both associated with problems in client attachment to therapist. Results suggest that alexithymia may be a significant mediator of the relationship between family dysfunction and client attachment to therapist.

Related Topics

    loading  Loading Related Articles