Toward Security: Attachment Disturbance in Adult Psychotherapy

Nanika C Coor, Pace University


Research shows that early childhood relationships affect later relationships across the lifespan, in various configurations of familial relationships and social networks. The theory of infant-caregiver attachment has been applied to many areas of subsequent research, including that of adult attachment, and attachment-based psychotherapy. This study examines a clinical case, illustrating the therapeutic process and the subjective experience of both patient and therapist through the lens of attachment theory. An analysis of the clinical data suggests that the therapist's own attachment style may have impacted the treatment. The patient gained awareness and insight, and began to recognize her own attachment needs; however the therapist could have placed more explicit emphasis on collaborative nature of the work, and could have highlighted the patient's underlying emotional needs. A focus on the patient's resistance and fear surrounding the discussion of attachment anxieties may have better facilitated a change in her internal working models to a more secure attachment orientation.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Coor, Nanika C, "Toward Security: Attachment Disturbance in Adult Psychotherapy" (2014). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI3580286.



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