Effective Treatment Relationships for Persons with Serious Psychiatric Disorders: the Importance of Attachment States of Mind

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attachment states of mind, effectiveness of therapeutic relationships & client functioning, 25–62 yr old clients with serious psychiatric disorders & 25–58 yr old case managers


Participants were 54 clients with serious psychiatric disorders and 21 clinical case managers. Clients' serious psychiatric disorders included Axis I diagnoses, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. This study examined how attachment states of mind of both clients and case managers influenced the effectiveness of therapeutic relationships and client functioning. Client and case manager attachment states of mind interacted in predicting the working alliance and client functioning. Specifically, clients who were more deactivating with respect to attachment had better alliances and functioned better with less deactivating case managers, whereas clients who were less deactivating worked better with more deactivating case managers. These findings highlight the importance of clinicians and clients being matched in ways that balance their interpersonal and emotional strategies. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

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Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, v. 67, issue 5, p. 725-733