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Invasive partners: An exploration of attachment, communication and family patterns

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Publication details

JournalJournal of Family Therapy
DatePublished - Feb 1996
Issue number1
Number of pages18
Pages (from-to)61-78
Original languageEnglish


Therapists' ratings on a sample of heterosexual couples receiving marital or partnership counselling were used to develop measures of 'invasive' behaviour by the adults concerned. We suggest that this behaviour stems from difficulties in attachment and is marked by a desire to stay close to the other person, difficulties in communication, difficulties in handling relationships between three people, and problems associated with the birth of a baby. A particular feature of this behaviour is that one or other partner attempts to restrict communication from the other, perhaps in order to avoid surprises which are perceived as a threat to the relationship. Invasiveness by wives was high in those couples who had had problems after the birth of a baby and significantly lower in those who had not. Implications for practice are discussed.

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