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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Abstract

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
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/48114
DOI:

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