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Resolving Attachment Injuries in Couples Using Emotionally Focused Therapy: A Process Study
Millikin, John W.
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The current study identified attachment injuries in couples and developed a preliminary model for the resolution of attachment injuries using Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT). An attachment injury occurred when one partner betrayed or broke the trust of the other in a specific incident and that incident became a clinically recurring theme or stuck-point of task resolution. Couples with attachment injuries were identified by an expert clinician and the researcher. Subjects were couples with moderate to mild distress. The attachment injuries were resolved using EFT, an empirically validated approach to couples therapy. The model (N = 3) was developed using task analysis. Audiotaped segments of "best sessions" of marker events were reviewed by raters to determine change events throughout the therapy process. A rational, conceptual map of expected change was compared to an empirically developed map. The marker events emerged at the assessment, de-escalation, and resolution phases of treatment. Pre- and post-tests measured overall resolution of the attachment injury and process measures identified in-session changes. The results of this study yield a proposed theoretical model of change for couples who sustain an attachment injury.
- Doctoral Dissertations