Attachment in Couples Relationships

Course Leader: Dr Vânia Sousa Lima

Home Institution: Universidade Católica Portuguesa

Course pre-requisite: Psychologists/Psychology students

Course Overview
Within the attachment theory, as a developmental perspective,  this course is focused on the relations between attachment, intimate relationship representations and couples’ dyadic interaction. Implications for clinical assessment and intervention (with case illustrations) will be discussed considering the research in this field.

Learning Outcomes
By the end of this course students should be able to:

  1. Understand the life-span approach embedded in attachment theory, based on empirical research
  2. Identify and understand the specificities of attachment relationships in adult couples relationships (both at representational and behavioral levels)
  3. Reflect on the implications of attachment theory and research to clinical practice
  4. Recognize the contribution and specificities of research on couples’ relationships.

Course Content

  1. Attachment theory and research: a life-span approach
  2. Intimate Relationships and attachment in adulthood
  3. Representation and behavior in couples relationships: Clinical implications for psychological assessment
  4. Representation and behavior in couples relationships: Clinical implications for psychological intervention
  5. Future trends of research on attachment in couples relationships

Instructional Method
The syllabus of this course will be presented through an expository methodology. Students will be encouraged to participate in presenting questions and discussing the theoretical concepts and their implications, applying them to specific clinical and no-clinical cases/examples.

Required Course Materials
Course materials will be shared (and discussed) with students during the course.

Assessment will encompass one moment, considering:

  • A multiple-choice section directed to evaluate the theoretical domain (topics 1 and 2 of course content) – 40% of final grade
  • A written assignment directed to evaluate students’ ability to apply the course contents to clinical work and research) – 60% of final grade