“Maybe it would’ve been better if you didn’t tell me you cared”: Attachment-Avoidance and the Relational Encounter


  • Javier F. Casado Pérez Portland State University


Interpersonal Practice, Schizoid Personality Disorder, Therapeutic Relationship


Schizoid personality disorder (SPD) has been described as the most challenging of the personality disorders, with literature scarce and what studies exist suggesting individuals diagnosed with SPD respond poorly to medicalized and manualized approaches. This article reviews what recent literature exists on SPD, and introduces alternative conceptualizations of the ‘schizoid’ personality not as disorder, but as a relational interpersonal style of attachment-avoidance. A humanistic-interpersonal approach is presented that emphasizes immediacy and focusing acutely on SPD’s most trying clinical challenge: the development of counselor-client proximity and relationship. This approach is dubbed the relationship encounter. A long-term relational and instrumental case illustration bridges existing literature on SPD with practitioner scholarship on interpersonal and existential practice. Themes suggest practitioners working with SPD may have some success by focusing on the relationship, rather than the prescribed symptoms of the diagnosis.

Author Biography

Javier F. Casado Pérez, Portland State University

Javier F. Casado Pérez Ph.D. NCC is Assistant Professor of Counselor Education in the Marital, Couples, and Family Counseling Program at Portland State University.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Javier F. Casado Pérez, 1900 SW 4th Ave. Portland, OR 97201 or j.casadoperez@pdx.edu. This manuscript has adhered to the ethical standards of the American Counseling Association.