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Karen, R. (2018). Attachment Across Clinical and Cultural Perspectives: A Relational Psychoanalytic Approach. Edited by Sonia Gojman-de-Millan, Christian Herreman, and L. Alan Sroufe. New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2017, 261 pp.. Psychoanal. Rev., 105(2):237-248.

(2018). Psychoanalytic Review, 105(2):237-248

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Attachment Across Clinical and Cultural Perspectives: A Relational Psychoanalytic Approach. Edited by Sonia Gojman-de-Millan, Christian Herreman, and L. Alan Sroufe. New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2017, 261 pp.

Review by:
Robert Karen, Ph.D.

When I met John Bowlby in 1989, psychoanalysis and attachment theory were two separate realms. Bowlby was an analyst, perhaps still the most famous in the world thanks to his work on separation and loss in the 1940s and 1950s as well as his international best-seller, Childcare and the Growth of Love (1953), which grew out of it. But he was not and never had been loved by his own colleagues. He had been virtually drummed out of the British Psychoanalytical Society because of his views, and he no longer published in analytic journals. His main collaborator was the American academic psychologist Mary Ainsworth, a former member of his research staff, whose pioneering longitudinal study of children in the home and the Strange Situation procedure that followed it (more on this in the notes) had been responsible for putting Bowlby's attachment theory on the map. Bowlby still had an office at the Tavistock Clinic where he had worked since before the war, but the Tavistock had long ago become a stronghold of Kleinians, and there was little communication between him and them. None of this can be guessed from reading the wonderfully integrative book under review, which, among other things, demonstrates the more recent interpenetration of attachment and analytic views. Bowlby, although an outcast, remained a loyal analyst to the end; he would have been pleased.

Bowlby's (1940) first analytic paper, read before the British Psychoanalytical Society in 1939 and published in the International Journal of Psychoanalysis the next year, defined the intellectual ghetto he would long occupy. Called “The Influence of Early Environment in the Development of Neurosis and Neurotic Character,” it focused on issues of childcare and parental psychology that had been ignored by analytic authors.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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