Therapist Attachment, Emotion Regulation and Working Alliance within Psychotherapy for Personality Disorder

Burt, Sally (2013) Therapist Attachment, Emotion Regulation and Working Alliance within Psychotherapy for Personality Disorder. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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    Personality disorder is characterised by intense emotional experiences, unstable
    patterns of relating to self and others, and risky behaviour. Alliance ruptures and
    premature drop-out is common within psychotherapy for personality disorder, which
    frequently limits the effectiveness of treatment. Research has shown that some
    clinicians are better able to facilitate the development of a therapeutic alliance than
    others. However, there is a clear lack of research exploring therapist factors which
    influence the alliance.
    The present study examined the relationship between therapist attachment style,
    therapist emotion regulation and working alliance within psychotherapy for
    personality disorder. Psychological therapists (N = 44) were recruited from specialist
    personality disorder services and a personality disorder conference. Participants were
    asked to complete three questionnaire measures of their personal attachment style
    (on the dimensions of attachment anxiety and attachment avoidance), their emotion
    regulation capacity, and their alliance with one of their clients with a primary
    diagnosis of personality disorder.
    Results showed that neither therapist attachment anxiety nor attachment avoidance
    were significant predictors of working alliance. However, therapist emotion
    regulation was a significant predictor of working alliance, explaining 13.2% of the
    variance in alliance scores. As hypothesised, higher levels of emotional
    dysregulation were associated with poorer working alliance.
    The findings are discussed in relation to relevant theory, previous research and
    models of psychotherapy for personality disorder. Since the current study is the first
    to investigate these therapist factors within psychotherapy for personality disorder,
    directions for further research and potential clinical implications are discussed.

    Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
    Faculty \ School: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Norwich Medical School
    Depositing User: Mia Reeves
    Date Deposited: 12 Mar 2014 14:48
    Last Modified: 12 Mar 2014 14:48

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