The Therapeutic Value of Intersubjective Systems Theory with an Adult Adoptee: A Case Study

Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Research Paper

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Graduate School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

Peter Buirski

Second Advisor

Tracy Vozar

Third Advisor

Christine DeVore


Intersubjective, Adoption, Transfer


Adoptees are overrepresented in mental health settings and adult adoptees have been found to be at an increased risk for anxiety disorders, substance use, and mood disorders compared to nonadoptees (Tieman, van der Ende, & Verhulst, 2005). Despite this, research pertaining to the therapeutic treatment of adult adoptees is scarce (Post, 2000; Smyer, Gatz, Simi, & Pedersen, 1998). The purpose of this paper is to use a case study of an adult adoptee to demonstrate the utility of Intersubjective Systems Theory (IST) to treat and adult adoptee. Additionally, the paper explores the impact of forced transfers on both adopted and non-adopted psychotherapy clients and suggests additional graduate training to better serve adopted psychotherapy clients.

Publication Statement

Copyright held by the author. Permanently suppressed.


29 pgs

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