There is substantial evidence that the strength of the therapeutic alliance in couples therapy is predictive of successful treatment outcome. However, little research has examined the factors that predict a strong therapeutic alliance in couples therapy. With evidence indicating that attachment styles play an important role in the development of healthy adult relationships, it was hypothesized that the attachment styles of partners in couples therapy would predict the development of a strong therapeutic alliance. Data from 115 heterosexual couples seen at a university-based MFT clinic in the southeastern region of the U.S. were used to test this hypothesis. Using multiple regression, results generally found that attachment styles generally predicted the therapeutic alliance among women, but there was only limited support among men. The results of the study suggest the importance of couples therapists being aware of attachment issues, especially among women, as they relate to the establishment of a strong therapeutic alliance.
College and Department
Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Family Life; Marriage and Family Therapy
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Bills, Shawn A., "The Effect of Attachment on the Therapeutic Alliance in Couples Therapy" (2013). Theses and Dissertations. 3774.
avoidant attachment, anxious attachment, therapeutic alliance, couples therapy