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John Bowlby (1907-1990) has been described as "one of the three or four most important psychiatrists of the 20th century". In this book, Jeremy Holmes provides a focused and coherent account of Bowlby's life and work, based on his writings and those of the "post-Bowlbians", as well as interviews with members of his family and with psychoanalysts who knew him. Bowlby's "attachment theory" is one of the major theoretical developments in psychoanalysis this half-century. Combining the rigorous scientific empiricism of ethology with the subjective insights of psychoanalysis, it has had an enormous impact in the fields of child development, social work, psychology, psychotherapy and psychiatry. Jeremy Holmes examines the origins of Bowlby's ideas, and presents the main features of "attachment theory" and their relevance to contemporary psychoanalytic psychotherapy. He looks at the processes of attachment, and of loss, and reviews the recent experimental evidence linking secure attachment in infancy with the development of "autobiographical competence".
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