AN ATTACHMENT APPROACH TO PSYCHOTHERAPY WITH THE INCEST SURVIVOR

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Abstract

By focusing on the nature of the parent-child relationship, attachment theory provides a framework for understanding the wide array of symptoms and interpersonal problems exhibited by adult survivors of incest. While the relevance of attachment theory to the therapeutic process has been explored in general, there have been few systematic descriptions of the four main categories of adult attachment (secure, preoccupied, dismissing, and fearful/ unresolved) with respect to their anticipated effects in the therapy relationship. Based on current research on adult attachment and clinical impressions of incest survivors, this article presents the probable therapeutic issues (including transference and counter transference) associated with each attachment category as well as suggested therapist strategies for dealing with clients from each attachment category. Case studies are included.

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