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The role of personality factors and attachment status in the selection and training of psychological therapists: A psychoanalytic approach

Shmueli, Aviya; (2003) The role of personality factors and attachment status in the selection and training of psychological therapists: A psychoanalytic approach. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis investigated the role of personality and attachment organisation in the selection and training of psychological therapists from a psychoanalytic perspective. Six studies were therefore planned following an initial review of both the clinical and empirical literatures. The empirical literature was shown to increasingly recognise the significance of the individual therapist but to have neglected the therapist as a variable in psychotherapy research. The clinical literature indicated a history of failed attempts to arrive at empirical measures that could aid assessors in their difficult task. The available literature was therefore resplendent with measures that lacked coherent grounding in theory and adequate empirical operationalisation. Subsequently, the central tenets of attachment theory were reviewed and recent developments in methodology, namely the development of the Adult Attachment Interview, shown to have the theoretical grounding and empirical properties required for use in examining the selection and training of psychological therapists. Four studies subsequently assessed the selection of therapists using measures of attachment, personality, and other aspects of functioning such as theoretical orientation. Uniquely, measures were obtained on both applicants and assessors. The first study focussed upon the applicant, assessing whether successful application was a function of non-attachment related aspects of the applicant alone. The second study focussed upon the person of the assessor independent of the applicant whilst the third study focussed upon the 'fit' between applicant and assessor. The fourth study examined the attachment status of both applicant and assessor as a predictor of applicant success in application. Overall, the empirical results were found to broadly support the existing qualitative literature. Additionally, the results indicated that applicant selection was related to the interaction of attachment organisations of both the applicant and assessor. The training of therapists was examined using ratings of competency by supervisors correlated against measures of both attachment and personality. Once again aspects of attachment organisation were noted to be associated with increased competency although a direct relationship between security and competency was suggested rather than proven. Both attachment organisation and personality were associated with ratings of competency. A pilot prospective study showed that secure attachment alone predicted psychologists' subjective sense of reward in working with patients across all degrees of disturbance. The studies limitations were discussed and future recommendations made.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: The role of personality factors and attachment status in the selection and training of psychological therapists: A psychoanalytic approach
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10099368
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