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Raicar, A.M. (2015). The Origins of Attachment: Infant Research and Adult Treatment (2014) by Beatrice Beebe and Frank M. Lachmann, published by Routledge. Att: New Dir. in Psychother. Relat. Psychoanal., 9(2):224-237.

(2015). Attachment: New Directions in Psychotherapy and Relational Psychoanalysis, 9(2):224-237

The Origins of Attachment: Infant Research and Adult Treatment (2014) by Beatrice Beebe and Frank M. Lachmann, published by Routledge

Review by:
Alexandra Maeja Raicar

This book is based on groundbreaking research into the non-verbal dimensions of mother-infant face-to-face communication at four months, and the authors' interpretation of their remarkable findings, applying them to projected attachment styles and to adult treatment.

This infant research was carried out over a period of two decades, including microanalysis (by twelve doctoral students over ten years) of videotaped second-by-second interactions of mothers and babies participating in the project. Each pair was filmed and minutely observed for five to ten minutes at play in a laboratory situation, showing how mothers and infants, from as early as four months, “co-create subtle and complex patterns” of inter-relating, with “trajectories to future attachment styles” (p. xviii).

The authors draw on a wealth of other mother-infant studies, and Beebe acknowledges two major influences on her own thinking: the late Joseph Jaffe for inspiring the “dyadic systems view” and Daniel Stern for “her love for the intricate process of mother-infant moment-to-moment communication” (p. xx). Learning from the minutiae of their own research, Beebe and Lachmann go on to focus in adult psychotherapy on a non-linguistic aspect of communication, which they describe as:

implicit and procedural … usually out of awareness. It conveys the affective quality of the relationship through such patterns as eye contact, body and head orientation, facial expression, vocal rhythm coordination of speech sounds and silences, hand gestures and touch.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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