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Klyman, C.M. (2014). The Origins of Attachment: Infant Research and Adult Treatment (Relational Perspectives Book Series), by Beatrice Beebe and Frank M. Lachmann, Routledge, New York and London, 2014, 256 pp.. Psychodyn. Psych., 42(4):706-711.
(2014). Psychodynamic Psychiatry, 42(4):706-711
The Origins of Attachment: Infant Research and Adult Treatment (Relational Perspectives Book Series), by Beatrice Beebe and Frank M. Lachmann, Routledge, New York and London, 2014, 256 pp.
Review by: Cassandra M. Klyman, M.D.
Being invited to review The Origins of Attachment was a privilege and a profitable enterprise. Its clinical worth is inestimable as attested to by the skilled therapists who, as part of the volume, review the findings of the authors' research in relation to their own vivid clinical experiences. Certainly I did the same. These elegant and meticulous analytic microdissections of split-screen videos, 2.5 minutes in length, between mothers and their month-old and then year-old first-borns are represented by a few pages of line drawings that are highly evocative and give rise to discussions of adult cases by the authors and their invited discussants. When we reach the end of the book, we have been exposed to a study of the evolution of the pleasure/pain, approach/avoidance paradigms of psychoanalysis and psychology in the context of object relations, specifically intersubjectivity.
Significantly the camera and its slowed, timed replay reminds us what neuroscientists have been demonstrating for some time now, that our implicit responses are not prompted by what we consciously perceive. There is an apperception that occurs milliseconds before we raise our mitt to catch the “fly” ball; we remove our hand from the stove before we recognize it is hot. The hand is quicker than the eye. We learn here that our requirement for homeostasis of our arousal system, while likely formed in utero, is what mothers and we, as therapists, must attend to.
Sigmund Freud's wistful hope in the “Project” (1895) that future research would bring clearer understanding about mental states has come to some fruition via the advances of technology of the last two decades. Neuroimaging has done much to expand our knowledge about the integration of neural systems with immunology, hormones, and the external world. Video technology here provides us with a valuable tool to understand how gaze, head orientation, and the shape of the mouth (from pursed lips to wide smile), touch, and rhythms of vocalization most likely interact with the innate mirror neurons of mother and baby to establish a trajectory of attachment style.
As a candidate I had the opportunity to be taught by Selma Fraiberg and Daniel Stern who were pioneers in studying mothers' and infants' visual interactions. I watched those sad movies that were made by Spitz and Bowlby in the nursery.
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