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Clulow, C. (2017). Handbook of Emotions (Fourth Edition), edited by Lisa Feldman Barrett, Michael Lewis, and Jeanette M. Haviland-Jones, Guilford Press, 2016. Cpl. Fam. Psychoanal., 7(2):229-230.

(2017). Couple and Family Psychoanalysis, 7(2):229-230

Handbook of Emotions (Fourth Edition), edited by Lisa Feldman Barrett, Michael Lewis, and Jeanette M. Haviland-Jones, Guilford Press, 2016

Review by:
Christopher Clulow, Ph.D.

The life of emotions plays a central role in attracting the attention of psychotherapists of all persuasions, whether working with individuals, couples, families, or groups. The affective link connecting subject and object is a primary focus of psychoanalytic psychotherapists drawing on object relations theories. Why, then, can I bet with reasonable confidence that no-one reading this Journal will have heard of the Handbook of Emotions, never mind dipped into it, despite twenty-three years having passed since its first edition made an appearance in print?

Part of my confidence comes from appreciating the reality that even within disciplines—in this case, psychology—there are professional silos separating academic researchers from clinical practitioners, and dividing different schools of thought, each of which provides a window on phenomena that all are attempting to shed light on. Yet this is an interdisciplinary collection of chapters that provides a revealing overview of concepts and models that have been generated in understanding emotions. Academic psychology has joined forces with biology, neuroscience, philosophy, history, sociology, and even economics to shed light on a complex phenomenon that influences most, if not all, aspects of human (and animal) life.

The book is organised in seven sections. Part 1 draws on interdisciplinary perspectives to describe different contexts within which the study of emotions needs to be understood. Part 2 focuses on biological perspectives that link human emotions with those of our evolutionary predecessors.

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