Resident and Counselor Relationships in a Court Affiliated Residential Treatment Setting

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Virginia Tech


While there is extensive research on attachment and the role attachment relationships play in human development, little to no research has applied the concept of alternative attachment figures to the role counselors play in a residential setting with adolescents. Furthermore, little research has explored the impact a counselor's own attachment style may have on his or her ability to foster secure attachment behaviors in clients. In order to explore each of these topics, the current study examined the relationship between female residents of a treatment facility and their counselors. Eight residents and three counselors were selected to participate in the study based on how long the residents had been in treatment. Each completed measure of attachment security as well as in depth qualitative interviews. Profiles were created for each of the counselor/resident dyads and relationship dynamics were compared to previous research in order to explore the therapeutic relationship in light of attachment. Therapeutic implications and areas of future research are also discussed.



adolescent, alternative attachment figure, residential, counselor, attachment