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Sue Johnson: Changes in Relationship-Specific Romantic Attachment in EFT

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Published on Nov 9, 2015

Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (EFT; Johnson, 2004) is an effective treatment of relationship distress (Johnson et al., 1999). However, less is known about EFT’s impact on couples’ relationship-specific attachment bond. Using Hierarchical Linear Modeling with a sample of 32 couples we examined session-by-session changes in couples’ relationship-specific attachment anxiety and avoidance and pre to post therapy changes in their relationship-specific attachment behaviors. Couples significantly decreased in relationship-specific attachment avoidance and those who completed a blamer softening significantly decreased in relationship-specific attachment anxiety. Couples’ attachment behavior significantly increased towards security. Finally, session-by-session decreases in relationship-specific attachment anxiety and avoidance were significant associated with increases in relationship satisfaction across sessions. These results provide empirical support for the attachment-based assumptions of EFT.

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