An Attachment Perspective on Therapeutic Processes and Outcomes

Mario Mikulincer, Phillip R. Shaver, Ety Berant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

118 Scopus citations


Over the past decade, there has been an explosion of interest in clinical applications of attachment theory. In the present article, we briefly describe John Bowlby's model of therapeutic change, the therapeutic relationship, and the therapist's role in emotional healing. We then review empirical evidence for three key propositions in Bowlby's model. First, a client's sense of security during therapy is crucial for facilitating therapeutic work. Second, a therapist's own sense of security contributes to positive therapeutic outcomes. Third, attachment insecurities can be effectively reduced in therapy, and movement toward greater attachment security is central to achieving favorable therapeutic outcomes. In sum, research evidence confirms the importance of establishing what Bowlby called a safe haven and a secure base within a therapeutic relationship.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)606-616
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Personality
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2013


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