John Bowlby

The Making and Breaking of Affectional Bonds
A Secure Base

Routledge 2005 [1979]
A book review by Danny Yee © 2008 http://dannyreviews.com/
These two volumes, first published in 1979 and 1988, bring together a range of lectures and talks by psychiatrist John Bowlby. Most were delivered to professional audiences, but nothing in them assumes a technical background. They have been edited to reduce repetition and in some cases augmented with linking material.

Bowlby's work has many strands, but a few are central to these essays. One is attachment theory, which argues that children form a core attachment to a primary caregiver, who provides a secure base for exploration, and separation from whom produces anxiety. Elements of this persist throughout life, and a need for secure relationships is normal. As well as its role in child development, Bowlby draws out the implications of attachment theory for psychopathology and for understanding responses to separation and loss.

Another recurring strand consists of arguments that psychoanalysis is, or should be, a science. This is most convincing by demonstration, with Bowlby himself drawing on ethology, anthropology, cognitive science, evolutionary biology, and actual observation of children and parents. And there are a number of papers which offer advice for clinical practice.

Bowlby is a significant figure in the history of psychology and these volumes make a decent introduction to his work. The material covered should have broad appeal, most obviously to parents and educators.

August 2008

External links:
The Making and Breaking of Affectional Bonds
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A Secure Base
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Related reviews:
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- books published by Routledge
%T The Making and Breaking of Affectional Bonds
%A Bowlby, John
%I Routledge
%D 2005 [1979]
%O paperback, references, index
%G ISBN 0415354811
%P 212pp

%T A Secure Base
%A Bowlby, John
%I Routledge
%D 2005 [1988]
%O paperback, references, index
%G ISBN 0415355273
%P 204pp