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Exploring in Security: Towards an Attachment-Informed Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Paperback – 29 Oct 2009

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Product details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (29 Oct. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415554152
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415554152
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 1.2 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 388,182 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

I'm a retired UK National Health Service Consultant Psychiatrist and psychoanalytic psychotherapist. I now work in private practice seeing patients once a week, and am visiting Professor at the School of Psychology at the University of Exeter, where we set up a psychoanalytic psychotherapy Masters and now Doctoral programme, combining academic with professional training in psychoanalytic work, especially for those working in the public sector.
I live on a farm in beautiful North Devon --in the middle of nowhere! In some ways that cuts me off from the mainstream of psychoanalytic and psychiatric life -- but it also enables me to develop my own ideas and to get an overview of the field, which is sometimes harder when is in the thick of things.
My main interest has been in Attachment Theory and I continue to follow the Attachment literature and in my writing to bring Attachment ideas to bear on psychoanalytic thinking and practice. Working part-time means that I can go to my desk most mornings for an hour or two where I try to read and write, before attending to the garden, family life with my wife, the garden, music, running, and learning Spanish (our grandson lives in Peru).
A recent book, Exploring In Security, is an example of this -- it is also a rather personal book trying to encapsulate some of the things I've learned about the day to day practice of psychoanalytic psychotherapy. I wrote it by melding together material from a daily diary -- a sort of primitive blog -- with lectures and papers I've delivered over the past ten years or so, since my previous single-author book, The Search for the Secure Base.
Recently I've written quite a few papers for academic journals, usually arising out of lectures -- on The Superego, The place of Theory n Psychoanalytic work, Integrative approaches to Psychoanalysis, and Relational Psychoanalysis. I am currently interested in the topic of Intimacy, and I suspect my next book will explore that theme.
I've won a couple of awards recently: in 2009 I was awarded the New York Bowlby-Ainsworth award for contributions to Attachment Theory. In 2010 Exploring In Security: Towards an Attachment-informed Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy won the Canadian Psychological Association Psychoanalysis and psychodynamic psychotherapy Goethe award for the best book of the year.
2012 sees my radical re-write of Anthony Storr's classic The Art of Psychotherapy (Taylor & Francis), a practical guide to the business of trying to help troubled people with psychotherapy. For publication 2013: with my friend and colleague Arietta Slade I am compiling a 6 volume collection of the 120 best Attachment papers since Bowlby began the whole Attachment movement (SAGE); I am updating John Bowlby and Attachment Theory (Routledge), which was written 25 years ago; The Therapeutic Imagination: using Literature to deepen Psychotherapeutic Understanding (Routledge) shows how great literature can help us as psychotherapists with its prototypical characters and capacity to capture the essence of what it is to be human. Projects for the future include Selected Papers, and a new book looking at psychic change and how psychotherapy helps to to acheive it.

Product Description


"This is a stunning book, a tour de force. Both a brilliant scholar with an extraordinary reach, and a wise and deeply humane clinician, Holmes is unique in his ability to truly integrate the diverse voices of psychoanalysis and attachment research using the prism of the clinical process. This book is extraordinary for its complexity as well as its simplicity, because, finally, it is about the work of psychotherapy, which Holmes embraces in the most lively compassionate, and loving way. As soon as I finished it, I wanted to read it again." Arietta Slade, Professor of Clinical and Developmental Psychology, The City College and City University of New York, USA.

"This is an outstanding book. Jeremy Holmes, like an artisan weaving the weft and warp of a fine tapestry, eloquently interlaces attachment, psychoanalysis, and clinical practice, to create a convincing and accessible picture of the principles and practice of psychoanalytic psychotherapy. Long a leader in the field of psychotherapy, he draws on his broad knowledge of the literature, combining it with exemplary clinical understanding to show psychotherapy not only as an integration of both art and science but also as an effective method to help people in distress. For the practitioner this book is full of practice-orientated suggestions to be used in the consulting room; for the academically-inclined there is no shortage of discussion about the intrinsic psychological processes of therapy."  Prof Anthony W Bateman Consultant Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist, Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust and Visiting Professor, Psychoanalysis Unit, University College London.

"The richness of this book lies in the way that Holmes uses and reflects on a diverse range of theory... Holmes does not take one theoretical perspective and build from this but rather interweaves and critically engages with analytic theorists in relations to his attachment based concepts. His aim, which he certainly fulfils, is to go not just beyond a conversation about theory but to develop a framework of psychoanalysis within the therapeutic community and build and develop both theory, and perhaps more importantly, practice in relation to therapeutic work."Journal of Analytical Psychology, Vol. 55, 2010

"Exploring in Security concentrates on clinical uses of attachment theory within individual psychotherapy. Like its predecessors, it rarely disappoints... As he writes about these clinical lessons, what he offers is rich, complex and balanced in ways that soften conceptions of new or old." - Chris Mace, British Journal of Psychiatry, Vol. 197, 2010

About the Author

Jeremy Holmes is a Psychiatrist and Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist and Visiting Professor at the University of Exeter, UK.  He has published prolifically in the field of Attachment Theory and psychoanalytic psychotherapy. Now retired from the NHS, he co-runs the postgraduate degree and qualifying course in psychodynamic psychotherapy at Exeter University, and has a small private practice. In 2009 he received the prestigious Bowlby-Ainsworth Award for his contributions to the field of attachment.

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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Roxy Wilding on 9 Feb. 2010
Format: Paperback
Jeremy Holmes, as always, writes with great experience and clarity. He explains the concept of mentalising and how it can affect attachment-based psychotherapeutic work. He links theory, research and experience and illustrates his concepts with clinical vignettes arising from a variety of different themes that practising therapists may regularly meet in their consulting rooms. A valuable tool for contemporary psychotherapy.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By M. Barnett on 16 Sept. 2010
Format: Paperback
A wonderful book - Jeremy Holmes wisdom, experience and compassion comes through all the vignettes. At last a succinct summary of a modern approach to an evidence based but deep and rich psychotherapy. If it is not compulsory reading on all training courses already, I hope it soon will be.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Steve1960 on 13 Sept. 2010
Format: Paperback
This book is a joy to read. Dr Holmes has brought the relationship and tensions between attachment and psychoanalytic theories to life with concise clinical examples. As a practitioner of Mentalization Based Therapy I found his explanations of Mentalizing/Mentalization were fresh, coherent and illuminating.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
A Clue to Understanding the Aggressive Personality Pattern 23 Sept. 2014
By Markus Youssef - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
One of the points discussed in this book which I think is worth highlighting addresses the reasons those who developed a disorganized attachment style, at birth and/or during childhood, grow up feeling convinced that they have to exert power over others. As I understand it, when bonding gets intertwined with aggression, the person will likely end up with this attachment style and grow up associating connection with aggression. As a result, they may frequently taunt or harass others. If their "I like messin' with ya" actions don't work, they might intensify their efforts and try to provoke you by using fear and stalking, etc. It seems they do these things so that they can feel that they matter to somebody, to feel important. It's also a way to not feel alone and to form some kind of connection by having an effect on others. "Humans cannot not relate. Without another there is no self."

Those with this pattern want others to take their place as the victim. They do to others what was taught/done to them and therefore avoid the painful awareness of what happened to them long ago. It's as if the following inner dialogue took/is taking place "Whoa, being me is way too painful and frightening. I don't want to be me and it seems I have no choice but to let my mind trick me into thinking that I am not the one who gets handed pain but rather the one who gives it. Being the aggressor really seems to satisfy my mammalian brain because it sends me fleeting hits of feel good chemicals. What about the real me you ask? I have disavowed my natural, beautiful, unique, empathetic me because it's too painful to be aware of what I had to go through. Is there any way you can make a deal between you, your awareness, your real self and the mammalian brain? I'll have a talk with my mammalian brain and see what it says."

One part of the healing journey is to put words to what's in the implicit memory system. By doing so, "meaning" can be found.

The author believes that understanding attachment theory and its four primary patterns/styles (secure, anxious/hyperactivating, avoidant/deactivating, disorganized) is a key component to understanding ourselves. The title of the book refers to the idea that when a child or adult has a secure attachment, they can then explore and self activate, create and individuate. With an insecure attachment, one will first, according to theory, go out in search for a secure base (theme of the author's book, The Search for the Secure Base) while the song, I Want to Know What Love Is, plays in the background.
theory and practice blended 30 Jun. 2014
By noll evans - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Intellectually and theoretically rich while practically valuable. Written very well and appropriately personal. Recommend to all clinicians and students, resolves the Bowlby /Freud separation .
interesting, full of clinical vignettes 10 Jun. 2013
By jk - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Engaging, interesting, enjoyable collegial voice, full of pertinent clinical examples that help make the authors' points. Even some humor on occasion. I enjoy reading this author's work.
Three Stars 14 May 2015
By Stuart Racey - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Succint and helpful but expensive for the amount of material.
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