PATIENTS’ SELFOBJECT NEEDS IN PSYCHODYNAMIC PSYCHOTHERAPY: How They Relate to Client Attachment, Symptoms, and the Therapy Alliance

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Abstract

Eighty-three patients in psychodynamic psychotherapy completed the Selfobject Needs Inventory (SONI), a measure of adult attachment, a measure of working alliance, and the Symptom Checklist-Revised between the third and fifth sessions of therapy. Replicating previous nonclinical research, a positive correlation was found between avoidance of selfobject needs and adult romantic attachment avoidance. In addition, the results revealed a positive relationship between hunger for mirroring and attachment anxiety and hunger for mirroring and self-reported symptoms. As expected, there were negative correlations between avoidance of twinship needs and symptoms and avoidance of idealization and symptoms. When selfobject needs were pitted against attachment in hierarchical regression, only attachment anxiety and avoidance contributed significant variance in the prediction of symptoms. We did not find any significant relationship between selfobject needs and the early alliance. Post hoc hierarchical regression analysis revealed that selfobject needs contributed significant variance in the prediction of the therapy bond and attachment anxiety and avoidance did not. Implications of the current research are discussed along with recommendations for future study.

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