Exploratory Analysis of Pursue-Withdraw Patterns, Attachment, and Gender among Couples in Emotionally Focused Therapy

Patricia Huerta, Caitlin Edwards, Ronald Asiimwe, Morgan PettyJohn, Jennifer VanBoxel, Preston Morgan, Andrea K. Wittenborn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) is an empirically supported treatment for couples experiencing relationship distress. EFT therapists use the pursue-withdraw cycle to track and attend to couples’ patterns of interaction and attachment behaviors. However, the relationships between pursue-withdraw categorization and gender and attachment in clinical couples are underexplored. We examined the theoretical mechanisms associated with these relationships and analyzed data from an RCT evaluating EFT’s effectiveness addressing couples’ relationship satisfaction and depression. Our analysis indicated that study therapists categorized all men as withdrawers and women as pursuers. Conversely, the relationship between attachment and pursue-withdraw categorization was non-significant. Clinical implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-75
Number of pages19
JournalThe American Journal of Family Therapy
Volume51
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • EFT
  • attachment
  • clinical research
  • couple therapy
  • gender

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology

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