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Brown, K. (2016). A Little like Jazz …. Att: New Dir. in Psychother. Relat. Psychoanal., 10(3):277-278.

(2016). Attachment: New Directions in Psychotherapy and Relational Psychoanalysis, 10(3):277-278

Conference Report

A Little like Jazz …

Kate Brown

Reflections on The Bowlby Centre Conference marking twenty-five years since the death of John Bowlby. Held in London, 19th-21st September 2016 at the Freud Museum, Institute of Child Health and The Anna Freud Centre in collaboration with the Bowlby Centre.

This international conference was organised to celebrate the work of John Bowlby, and focused on how John Bowlby revolutionised our understanding of human relationships. The conference was well attended by a broad spectrum of delegates, yet for some had something of the feeling of a family reunion. This sense of family reunion should not be considered an accident, since much of what was being discussed was about the theme of separation and reunion. Bob Marvin gave a masterful account of his use of the Circle of Security approach, showing videos of interactions of children moving away from their caregiver or attachment figure, and then how the pair responded upon reunion.

Throughout the conference there was use of video material of parent-child interaction including parent-infant psychotherapy, from Amanda Jones and the use of the Strange Situation Test showed the spectrum of interactions and the differences between securely attached bonds, and those that are not. The focus of attention went from minute millisecond details, such as the sound of a heart-beat, or the tiny movements of milk formula in a baby's bottle—to the familial—and then to the wider political arena, including concern about the plight of migrants and the impact of attachment theory on government policies and mental health treatment. The conference was of interest to a broad range of psychotherapists or researchers at any stage of their career and had wide inter-disciplinary appeal.


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