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Interpersonal problems, attachment styles and outcome in brief dynamic psychotherapy

Author(s): Horowitz LM, Rosenberg SE, Bartholomew K


The Inventory of Interpersonal Problems (IIP) has been used to identify dysfunctional patterns in interpersonal interactions. Interpersonal problems can be organized in 2 dimensions, and the 2-dimensional space can be divided into 8 equal sectors (octants). Subscales of the IIP describe each of these octants. The instrument has been used to identify (1) interpersonal problems that are discussed most often in a brief dynamic psychotherapy and (2) problems that are treated most easily. The results show that problems in the "exploitable" octant improve most frequently, whereas problems in the "dominating," "vindictive," and "cold" octants do not improve as readily. Attachment styles in adulthood were examined (following a model proposed by J. Bowlby), and different attachment styles were found to correspond to different types of interpersonal problems. Finally, these variables were related to the ability to describe other people clearly. This article also discusses implications for brief dynamic psychotherapy.

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