Counselors Explore their Attachment Strategies: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis

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This study explored participants' experiences of being interviewed with the Adult Attachment Interview as a means of supporting counselor self-awareness and fostering effective counselor-client working alliances. A sample of first-year counselor education doctoral students (n = 7) completed an AAI interview and feedback session. Participants completed five reflective journals over three weeks and explored their experiences in individual, semi-structured interviews. Data were analyzed according to interpretative phenomenological analysis protocol. Four superordinate themes emerged from the analysis: (a) reactions to the AAI interview process, (b) process with AAI feedback, (c) AAI and intrapersonal process, and (d) AAI and interpersonal process. Additionally, ... continued below

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Spellings, Maria December 2017.

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  • Spellings, Maria

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Description

This study explored participants' experiences of being interviewed with the Adult Attachment Interview as a means of supporting counselor self-awareness and fostering effective counselor-client working alliances. A sample of first-year counselor education doctoral students (n = 7) completed an AAI interview and feedback session. Participants completed five reflective journals over three weeks and explored their experiences in individual, semi-structured interviews. Data were analyzed according to interpretative phenomenological analysis protocol. Four superordinate themes emerged from the analysis: (a) reactions to the AAI interview process, (b) process with AAI feedback, (c) AAI and intrapersonal process, and (d) AAI and interpersonal process. Additionally, there were eight subordinate themes: (a) surprised by AAI interview process, (b) interview process sparked reflection, (c) initial reaction to AAI feedback, (d) evolving process of integrating AAI feedback, (e) AAI process increased awareness, (f) increased self-awareness increased self-efficacy, (g) awareness from AAI process prompted relational shifts, (h) impact of AAI on clinical work, (i) importance of relationships, (j) importance of self-awareness, and (k) mutual influence of personal and professional. Findings in this study suggest that the AAI is an effective tool in supporting counselor self-awareness regarding attachment strategies. Additionally, findings suggest multiple personal and professional benefits, such as increased awareness of conflict and stress management strategies. Limitations to the study and further discussion of the results are presented. Implications for clinical practice, counselor education, and future research are also included.

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  • December 2017

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  • Jan. 27, 2018, 7:36 a.m.

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Spellings, Maria. Counselors Explore their Attachment Strategies: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis, dissertation, December 2017; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1062852/: accessed September 24, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .