This is an excellent book for an overview of Bowlby and his theories. This book is very readable and therefore much more accessible than many other more academic books. As a counselling student I would definitely recommend it to other students.
Jeremy Holmes has probably written more about Attachment theory than any other present day, albeit it retired.therapist. Much of his attachment to the theory is derived from his own observations through the prism of John Bowlby's theories which have never been entirely neglected . Jeremy is a child of the seventies when even in teacher training colleges the theories of Bowlby and Summerhill were being promoted - but it must be said that only the children of well to do parents benefited much from them - they were rather pie in the sky for most who attended state schools. . The history of psychoanalysis has been strangely aggressive towards those who dissent from it's various factions although Attachment theory has been saved from falling down the whole where so many ideologies end up by the work of such as Jeremy Holmes, But just as the personal histories of John Bowlby et al are acknowledged as influencing their perspective it must be equally understood that the personal histories of authors also need to be taken into account! Jeremy Holmes would probably agree - it does matter ,as those who are positions to influence provision of services. effect those in receipt of them . People need to be aware of the personal and contested views of those promoting them and that may not always remain relevant to them. Jeremy himself is from a background where he met some of the people included in the book as family friends, Anthony Storr went to the same Westminster School although J.H is from a secular Jewish background and Storr a Christian, J. Holmes was analysed as a young man by Rycroft - not your average environment but one which both enables and disables many men such as John Bowlby. Most returned to their own 'home' in academic institutions and the comfort of writing in the end but It also seems to lead to a need to create extended families whether by having relationships with clients in therapy or creating projects with children or belonging to a psychoanalytic community, Many children of therapists/analysts follow in the footsteps of their fathers, rather than mothers, the true individuation of their own selves may be compromised but does keep the project in 'the family'. Jeremy Holmes' book shows how it is still the case that the majority of practitioners at the top of hierarchies in the analytic community still come from a relatively small group with huge societal advantages , which with well intentioned but also personal aims - practices on a population of those less advantaged. The old argument of how this should be tackled remains - does a focus on attachment issues change lives for the better or keep people disenfranchised by perpetuating the' them '- who need instruction - and the same old' us' who give it. The revised book does become more clinical as Jeremy includes more on the developing models of neuro-psychotherapy ..does it give analysis more credibility or paradoxically undermine what has been the underpinning to psychotherapy - a human relationship bewteen human beings... history will judge. Jeremy will be giving another of his popular day events at the Welsh Psychotherapy Partnership in Cardiff - where it is advertised in rather fraught terms! 'the MAN is coming to Cardiff....another women was surprised by his 'gait of a much younger man! He is charismatic but not the second coming! - that sort of publicity trivialises what he is doing by travelling around the country to small psychotherapy events to spread the word about attachment theory. It is reminiscent of the way travelling preachers used to do the same around Wales - but Wales has moved on from those days. It is mainly women who attend therapy conferences, Jeremy is an attractive man and a charismatic speaker - but let's hope silliness by adoring fans will not spoil the events.
This book is really helpful as a precursor to the John Bowlby trilogy Attachment, Separation & Loss or even as a stand alone insight into the genius of John Bowlby.
It has a really good glossary of terms which I recommend you actually read through first as this will also be helpful when reading the narrative.
The book has four main aims: 1. Present Bowlby's theory of attachment 2. A historical perspective on the evolution of Bowlby's ideas 3. The implications of these ideas for psychotherapy interventions 4. The enigma of why these ideas have become mainstream and yet "psychoanalysis" has somehow "avoided" the recognition that his theory warrants...
An interesting theme is how "key" relating is... The relationship in psychotherapy is as important as the intervention - sometimes more so - and the need to "rebuild" normality when your world has been smashed to pieces by loss.
If you are studying psychotherapy then I would recommend this book before you delve deeper into the world of psychoanalysis.
If you are thinking about buying this book just because you're interested in attachment theory then it covers a very wide brief and is really helpful in putting some of his ideas into perspective. Especially where certain ideas have been "corrupted" for political or social gain.
Another really good bit of this book is the epilogue where the author Jeremy Holmes "wraps up" by writing a farewell letter to John Bowlby...
Well worth buying if you enjoy learning about why we do what we do...
Bowlby's theory has been promoted very successfully but is sometimes being used these days as a catch all to include psychoanalysis and neurobiology. Bowlby was one of a series of researchers who did not do the day to day looking after children = many who do find the focus on mothers yet again to be infuri\ating especially when most researchers/ those who set up studies and observations and indeed write books = are men. Bowlby did rather belong to another age when the structure of families was very different from present ,to map his theories onto present society can be a stretch too far but one which impacts on the way services are presented in family centres etc It is interesting to think about how relevant he is = or not nowadays
As a student at University I have found this book to be very helpful in reviewing the work of Bowlby in a more modern style. The author reviews all Bowlby's theories and puts some interesting views on the subject of Attachment into focus. I would recommend this to anyone looking to do essays on Attachment without reading Bowlbys own work as this summarises his lifes work with good referencing for further research .