Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

Living Edition
| Editors: Jay Lebow, Anthony Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Attachment Theory

  • Sue M. Johnson
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-15877-8_215-1

Name of Theory

Attachment Theory.

Introduction

In the last several decades, attachment theory has provided couple and family therapists and researchers with a map for understanding love and bonding in couple and family relationships. The science of attachment has grown tremendously and now has a large base of research support from the fields of social psychology, development, and neuroscience.

Prominent Figures

British psychiatrist John Bowlby (1907–1990) outlined the basic theory of attachment: a developmental understanding of personality with a focus on emotion regulation in his trilogy on Attachment and Loss (1969–1982).

Mary Ainsworth helped Bowlby create the Strange Situation research paradigm where a mother leaves a baby alone with a stranger for a few minutes and the babies’ responses are coded on reunion. This allowed the normative and individual differences principles of attachment to be outlined.

Since the late 1980s, adult attachment has been outlined by North American...

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References

  1. Bowlby, J. (1969). Attachment and loss (Vol. I). New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  2. Bowlby, J. (1973). Attachment and loss (Vol. 2). New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  3. Bowlby, J. (1982). Attachment and loss (Vol. 3). New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  4. Burgess-Moser, M., Johnson, S. M., Dalgleish, T., Lafontaine, M., Wiebe, S., & Tasca, G. (2015). Changes in relationship specific romantic attachment in emotionally focused couple therapy. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 42, 231–245.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Coan, J. (2016). Towards a neuroscience of attachment. In J. Cassidy & P. Shaver (Eds.), Handbook of attachment: Theory, research and clinical applications (3rd ed., pp. 242–272). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
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  9. Greenman, P., & Johnson, S. M. (2013). Process research on EFT for couples: Linking theory to practice. Family Process, Special Issue: Couple Therapy, 52, 46–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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  12. Johnson, S. M. (2004). The practice of emotionally focused couple therapy: Creating connection. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  13. Johnson, S. M., & Best, M. (2003). A systemic approach to restructuring adult attachment: The EFT model of couples therapy. In P. Erdman & T. Caffery (Eds.), Attachment and family systems (pp. 165–192). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  14. Johnson, S. M., et al. (2013). Soothing the threatened brain. Leveraging contact comfort with emotionally focused therapy. PLoS One, 8, e79314.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  15. Mikulincer, M., & Shaver, P. (2007). Attachment in adulthood: Structure, dynamics and change. New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
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  17. Rogge, R. D., Cobb, R. J., Lawrence, E., Johnson, M. D., & Bradbury, T. N. (2013). Is skills training necessary for the primary prevention of marital distress and dissolution? A three year experimental study of three interventions. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 81, 949–961.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Simpson, J., Collins, A., Tran, S., & Haydon, K. (2007). Attachment and the experience and expression of emotions in romantic relationships: A developmental perspective. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 92, 355–367.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy, The University of OttawaOttawaCanada

Section editors and affiliations

  • Kelley Quirk
    • 1
  • Adam R. Fisher
    • 2
  1. 1.Colorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA
  2. 2.The Family Institute at Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA