MA Counselling Psychology thesis defense

Grad Important Dates
Trinity Western University
Board of Governors’ Hall, RSC
7600 Glover Road
Langley, BC V2Y 1Y1

Integrating Attachment Processes in an Adopted Child with Lifespan Integration Therapy: A Hermeneutic Single Case Efficacy Design

by:  Carlee Lewis

Supervisor:  Dr. Janelle Kwee

Second Reader:  Dr. Marvin McDonald

External Examiner: Dr. Joanne Crandall (A Child’s Song)

Exam Chair:  Dr. Bart Begalka


Insecure and disorganized parent-child attachment in middle childhood is considered by many psychologists as irreversible and unchangeable.  However, psychopathology in this stage of development is often tied to attachment disruptions, especially experienced in adopted children.  A newly researched therapy, Lifespan Integration (LI), is meant to address attachment processes in both children and adults, thus helping to reduce child psychopathology outcomes associated with disrupted attachment.  In this study, the efficacy of Lifespan Integration for addressing attachment processes with adopted children in middle childhood was investigated.  A Hermeneutic Single Case Efficacy Design (Elliott, 2002, 2015) was used to gather quantitative and qualitative data from an adoptive parent-child dyad who were experiencing Lifespan Integration therapy (LI) for the first time.  The research participant, a 12-year-old male, received 10 sessions of weekly LI therapy sessions, and data was collected before, during, and after the therapy process.  The adoptive mother was present throughout therapy and used as a resource in facilitating a more secure attachment.  Client change and the contribution of LI to client change were argued by expert case developers, and adjudicated by three expert adjudicators, who concluded that change occurred and that this change was due to LI Therapy.  Changes in internal attachment processes and the attachment bond between the parent and child of this dyad were observed.  This case provides evidence that attachment disruptions can be repaired in middle childhood and that attachment processes can be targets in interventions beyond early childhood.