The effectiveness of emotionally focused couples therapy based on attachment injury resolution model on forgiveness among the injured women with marital infidelity

Document Type : Original


Department of Counseling, Faculty of Educational Science and Psychology, Shahid Chamran University, Ahvaz, Khuzestan, Iran


Attachment injury resolution model (AIRM) is a structured approach for treatment and improves the distressed relationship that focuses on stable interactive negative cycles which caused by deep emotional vulnerability. The current study was administered aimed to investigate the effectiveness of emotionally-focused couple therapy based on attachment injury resolution model on increase forgiveness among the injured women with marital infidelity. In this research, a single-case experimental design, type of non-concurrent multiple baseline designs was used. The statistical population consisted of 53 injured women with marital infidelity who referred to Bushehr counseling centers. The sample research consisted of 3 couples (6 individuals) among couples referred to these counseling centers that were selected by considering the inclusion and exclusion criteria and according to the results of the forgiveness scale (Rye et al., 2001) with purposeful sampling method. The protocol of emotionally focused couple therapy based on attachment injury resolution model was carried out in three phases of basic lines, intervention and follow-up. Data analysis were conducted by visual analysis, reliable change index and percentage improvement formula. The findings indicated that attachment injury resolution model had significant effect in increasing of forgiveness among injured women with marital infidelity during the therapy (%35.26 improvement) and follow-up (%45.93 improvement). Based on the research results, the emotionally-focused couple therapy based on attachment injury resolution model can be used as an effective intervention in reducing the injuries caused by marital infidelity.


Allison R. T. (2017). Communication and parental infidelity: A qualitative analysis of how adult children cope in a topic-avoidant environment.  Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 58(3), 175-193. [link].
Brandon, T. M., Michelle, D., & Jaclyn, D. (2017). Do you have anything to hide? Infidelity-related behaviors on social media sites and marital satisfaction. Journal of Computers in Human Behavior, 66(1), 88-95. [link].
Brubacher, L. (2018). Attachment Injury Resolution Model in Emotionally Focused Therapy. In J. Lebow, A. Chambers, D. Breunlin (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy. Cham, Switzerland: Springer Science and Business Media. [link].
Burgess, M. M., Johnson, S. M., Dalgleish, T. L., Lafontaine, M. F., Wiebe, S. A., & Tasca, G. A. (2016). Changes in relationship-specific attachment in emotionally focused couple therapy. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 42(2), 231-245. [link].
Buss, D. M., & Abrams, B. (2017). Jealousy, infidelity, and the difficulty of diagnosing pathology: A CBT approach to coping with sexual betrayalJournal of Rational-Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy, 35(2), 150-172. [link].
Catalina, W. M. (2017). Emotion-focused couples therapy, person-centered & experiential psychotherapies. Journal of the World Association for Person-Centered and Experiential Psychotherapy and Counseling, 16(3), 236-255. [link].
Fitzpatrick, J., & Lafontaine, M. F. (2017). Attachment, trust, and satisfaction in relationships: Investigating actor, partner, and mediating effects. Pers Relationship, 24(3), 640-662. [link].
Franckowiak, M. (2017). Intimacy after Sexual Trauma: Clinical Perspectives (Master’s thesis). Available from Sophia, the St. Catherine University repository website: [link].
Greenberg, L., Warwar, S., & Malcolm, W. (2010), Emotion-focused couples therapy and the facilitation of forgiveness. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 36(1), 28-42. [link].
Guitar, A. E., Geher, G., Kruger, D. J., Garcia, J. R., Fisher, M. L., & Fitzgerald, C. J. (2016). Defining and distinguishing sexual and emotional infidelity. Current Psychology, 36(3), 434-446. [link].
Johanson, B., & Cheristensen, L. (2010). Educational research. Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed approaches. SAGE Publications. [link].
Johnson, S. M. (2008). Attachment and emotionally focused therapy: Perfect partners. In J. Obegi & E. Berant (Eds.), Clinical applications of adult attachment. New York: Guilford Press. [link].
Johnson, S. M., & Brubacher, L. L. (2016). Deepening attachment emotion in emotionally focused couple therapy (EFT). In: G. Weeks, S. Fife, & C. Peterson (Eds.), Techniques for the Couple Therapist: Essential Interventions (pp. 155-160). New York: Routledge. [link].
Kendall, P. C., Marrs-Garcia, A., Nath, S. R., & Sheldrick, R. C. (1999). Normative comparisons for the evaluation of clinical significance. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology67 (3), 285-299. [link].
Makinen, J. A., & Johnson, S. M. (2006). Resolving attachment injuries in couples using emotionally focused therapy: steps toward forgiveness and reconciliation. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 74(6), 1055-1064. [link].
Missirlian, T. M., Toukmanian, S. G., Warmar, S. H., & Greenberg, L. S. (2015). Emotional arousal, client perceptual processing, and the working alliance in experiential psychotherapy for depression. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 73(5), 861-871. [link].
Moller, N., & Vossler, A. (2015). Defying infidelity in research and couple counseling: a qualitative study. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 41(5), 487-497. [link].
Parker, M. L., & Campbell, K. (2017). Infidelity and attachment: the Moderating Role of Race/Ethnicity. Contemporary Family Therapy, 39(3), 172-183. [link].
Pereira, M., Taysi, E., Orcan, F., & Fincham, F. (2015). Attachment, infidelity, and loneliness in college students involved in a romantic relationship: the role of relationship satisfaction, morbidity, and prayer for partner. Contemporary Family Therapy, 36 (3), 333-350. [link].
Rokach, A., & Philibert-Lignieres, G. (2015). Intimacy, loneliness and infidelity. The Open Psychology Journal, 8(2), 71-78. [link].
Rye, M. S., Loiacono, D. M., Flock, C. D., Olszewski, B. T., Heim, T. A., & Madia, B. P. (2001). Evaluation of the psychometric properties of two forgiveness scale. Journal of Current Psychology, 20(3), 260-277. [link].
Rosie Shrout, M., & Weigel, D. j. (2018). Infidelity’s aftermath: appraisals, mental health, and health-compromising behaviors following a partner’s infidelity. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 35(8), 1067-1091. [link].
Skvortsov, A., & Romashchuk, A. (2015). Single case studies as a means for developing psychological theories. PsyCh Journal, 4(4), 231-242. [link].
Stavrianopoulos,  K. (2015). Enhancing relationship satisfaction among college student couples: An emotionally focused therapy (EFT) approach.  Journal of Couple and Relationship Therapy, 14(1), 1-16. [link].
Toplu-DemirtaƟ, E., & Fincham, F. D. (2018): Dating infidelity in Turkish couples: The role of attitudes and Intentions. Journal of Sex Research, 55(2), 252-262. [link].
Woldarsky, M. C., & Greenberg, L. S. (2014). Interpersonal forgiveness in emotion-focused couples’ therapy: Relating process to outcome. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 40(1), 49-67. [link].
Zuccarini, D., Johnson, S. M., Dalgleish, T. L. & Makinen, J. A. (2013). Forgiveness and reconciliation in emotionally focused therapy for couples: The client change process and therapist interventions. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 39(2), 148-162. [link].
References (in Persian)
Alavi, S., Amanelahi, A., Attari, Y., & Koraei, A. (2019). The effectiveness of emotionally focused couple therapy on emotional and sexual intimacy of incompatible couples. Family Counseling and Psychotherapy, 8(2), 25-46. [link].
Aminiha, A., Farahakhsh, K., & Esmaili, M. (2015). Qualitative inquiry in couple responses to disclosure of marital infidelity. Family Counseling and Psychotherapy, 5(3), 72-92. [link].
Arianfar, N., & Etemadi, O. (2016). Comparison of the Efficacy of Integrative Couple Therapy and Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy on marital intimacy injured by wife infidelity in Couples. Journal of counseling research, 15 (59), 7-37. [link].
Habibi, M., & Hajiheydari, Z. (2015). A Qualitative Study for Investigating the Reasons of Sexual Infidelity of Couples who have asked for Divorce in Family Court. Journal of Family Research, 11(2), 165-186. [link].
Rajabi, G., Naderi Nobandegani, Z., & Amanolahi, A. (2015). Effect of systemic- constructive couple therapy on mutuality in distressed couples. Family Counseling and Psychotherapy, 5(3), 1-21. [link].
Shivarani, M., Azadfallah, P., Moradi, A., & Eskandari, H. (2017). Narrative Exposure Therapy for Reducing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Iranian Betrayed Wives. Clinical Psychology Studies, 7(25), 85-106. [link].
Soodani, M., Dehghani, M., & Dehghanizadeh, Z. (2013). The Effectiveness of Transactional Analysis Training on Couple’s Burnout and Quality of Couple’s Life. Family Counseling and Psychotherapy, 3(2), 159-181. [link].
Zandipor, T., Azadi, S., & Nahidpor, F. (2011). A Study on the Relationship between Forgiveness, Personality Traits, Mental Health in Couples Who Referred to Hygiene Centers of Gachsaran. Quarterly journal of woman and society, 2(6), 1-18. [link].