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date: 22 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter reviews John Bowlby’s attachment theory and examines how client attachments influence individual, couple, and group therapy treatments. Bowlby (1988) specifically emphasized how the individual counseling relationship provides a new secure attachment experience for clients that offers them the opportunity to internalize more positive working models of themselves and others. Similarly, in couple counseling, therapy challenges automatic negative expectations that hinder intimacy, and it facilitates each partner in becoming a secure base for the other. Group therapy, like the other modalities, encourages members to examine their internal representations of themselves and others in the group, and the group becomes a secure base from which to examine automatic thoughts and emotions that often hinder intimacy. The chapter includes an extensive review of the empirical work applying attachment theory to these three therapeutic modalities, and it concludes by addressing future research and clinical implications.

Keywords: attachment, secure base, counseling, group, couple, individual, transference, countertransference

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