Encounters with John Bowlby: Tales of Attachment is an insightful, heartfelt and faithful homage to John Bowlby (1907-1990), the ‘father’ of attachment theory. The book unfolds as a touching and absorbing biographical journey into his life and work, where Bowlby is portrayed vividly through his individual, family and group attachment history, as well as his personal and professional development.
This is a thoroughly researched and unique volume: a creative hybrid of scholarly erudition and passionately-delivered real life experiences covering the entire field of attachment. The work is co-constructed from the privileged position of sitting at the feet of the founder of the theory, drawing on his lifelong research and knowledge. The reader can learn from and identify with stirring, true stories that illustrate the struggle to become attached, to survive, and to grow.
Encounters with John Bowlby will appeal to anyone who is interested in personal development and relationships. It will be of special interest to mental health professionals, psychotherapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses, social workers, psychoanalysts and group analysts, as well as other healthcare professionals, such as general practitioners and paediatricians. The text will also be useful to students undertaking doctoral courses or attending other courses related to attachment and John Bowlby.
‘Part festschrift, part eulogy, part love-letter, Ezquerro’s account of his mentorship with John Bowlby -- and his own journey to psychotherapeutic coming of age -- combines theoretical exposition with vivid anecdote in ways that are readable, personal, engaging, and very real. Like Bowlby himself, his story brings much-needed fresh air into the world of psychoanalytic discourse. Strongly recommended for all practitioners and students, who will find here a rare amalgam of common sense and inspiration.’ - Prof Jeremy Holmes MD FRCPsych, University of Exeter, UK
‘Arturo Ezquerro brings a contagious enthusiasm for life and relationships which makes Attachment Theory more real, attractive and palatable. My father would have been deeply moved by it.’ - Sir Richard Bowlby, medical and scientific photographer, and eldest son of John Bowlby.
‘A labour of love which gives a fascinating insight into the mind and ideas of the father of Attachment Theory.’ - Dr Colin Murray Parkes, OBE, MD, FRCPsych, DL. Author, Bereavement: Studies of Grief in Adult Life.
‘This marvellous book weaves the author’s professional journey into an account of his six years of affectionate supervision with one of the great developmental scientists of the twentieth century. Bowlby’s own biographical journey, and his single-minded determination to define ‘the nature of the bond’ move the narrative along, and move the reader too. The volume also gives compelling narratives on the history of psychoanalysis and the post war Tavistock Clinic.’ - Dr Sebastian Kramer, FRCPsych. Honorary consultant child & adolescent psychiatrist, Tavistock Clinic. Family therapist. Co-editor, The Politics of Attachment: Towards a Secure Society.
‘Reading this book has been a great pleasure and has taken me back 45 years to when John Bowlby was my tutor at the Tavistock Clinic. I soon realised his warmth and thoughtful passion… The volume is a warm and faithful tribute to Bowlby’s life’s work and to all those touched by the grip of attachment and separation.’ - Dr Marcus Johns, FRCPsych. Psychoanalyst, former Tavistock Clinic’s consultant, director of the London Child Guidance Training Centre, and editor of the Bulletin of the British Psychoanalytical Society.
‘Arturo Ezquerro has written an eloquent and moving account of the life and thought of John Bowlby whose recognition of the importance of childhood attachment has now become common wisdom, after being met initially with strong resistance in the psychoanalytic profession. Of all the fields of scientific enquiry psychoanalytic theory is perhaps the one most affected by the personality and experience of the propounder and one of the merits of this study is to place Bowlby’s thought intimately within its biographical and professional contexts. The latter appropriately include the author’s personal testimony to the quality of Bowlby’s mentorship and, if the most touching moments in the book are judiciously chosen quotations from patients, this seems very apt to its subject’s evident ability to listen.’ - Prof Michael Bell, English and Comparative Literary Studies, University of Warwick, UK. Author, The Sentiment of Reality: Truth of Feeling in the European Novel, and H. D. Lawrence: Language and Being.
‘This volume brings to life a great man and his ideas in a way that the best of biographies can. And while the book is at it, we learn as much about Bowlby’s ideas as about his warmth and passionate nature, to which so many of his students and co-workers became personally attached.’ - Prof Bob Hinshelwood, MD, FRCPsych, Centre for Psychoanalytic Studies, University of Essex, UK. Author, What Happens in Groups, Research on the Couch, and Psychoanalysis and History.
‘A book that, uniquely, combines scholarly erudition with passion; wisdom with compassion. It teaches us about the dehumanising effects of dogma and systems, and the healing potential of attachment.’ - Dr Paul Mallett, consultant psychiatrist and former Medical Director, Central and North-West London NHS Foundation Trust.
‘A vivid, original and personal account of a great man. John Bowlby’s attachment theory is now widely known and accepted. What is less well known is the intense struggle Bowlby had to convince his critics, especially the psychoanalytical establishment, and the hurt this occasioned him. This book gives a highly readable account of the group and institutional politics surrounding the emergence of the theory, alongside Bowlby’s own personal relationships and his profound influence on the author. In all our work, we strive to achieve some form of psychological integration. This book pulsates with that striving – and achieves it, with respect and love for its subject.’ - Dr Morris Nitsun, PhD. Consultant psychologist, and training analyst, Institute of Group Analysis. Author, The Anti-Group, The Group as an Object of Desire, and Beyond the Anti-Group.
‘Arturo Ezquerro has meticulously researched the origins of Attachment Theory and tracked the course of its development with the same qualities of persistence and rigour that he learned from John Bowlby, his much loved mentor. Ezquerro leaves no stone unturned in an almost detective-like investigation of Bowlby's biography and sources of influence, resulting in a story of the first order in which all the pieces eventually come together. This book transforms a 'theory' into a lived experience that is comprehensively informative, and a pleasure to read.’ - Liza Glenn, consultant psychologist, Jungian analyst, and senior trainer, Institute of Group Analysis.
‘This book is a masterpiece of clarity: a most readable scholarly exposition of Bowlby and his works. I can strongly recommend it to general practitioners and all professionals in primary care.’ - Dr Clare Gerada, director of clinical governance for Primary Care; medical director, NHS Practitioners Health Programme; and former president, Royal College of General Practitioners.
‘A lovely blend of a personal reminiscence of John Bowlby and a history of how attachment theory developed. Arturo Ezquerro gives rich and privileged memories from Bowlby’s family and close colleagues, as well as vivid illustrations from his work as a child & adolescent psychiatrist and group analyst. The volume raises key questions about psychoanalysis and its development as a theory of the mind and as a treatment method. I really did enjoy reading this unique book.’ - Dr Gwen Adshead, FRCPsych. Consultant forensic psychiatrist, and group analyst. Co-author, A Matter of Security: Attachment Theory, Psychiatry and Psychotherapy.
‘This wonderful book is essential reading for everyone whose work is involved with families. John Bowlby's attachment theory is portrayed in a very real, moving and sensitive way. I found it pivotal to my role in understanding the grief of parents when a child died.’ - Jenni Thomas, OBE. Founder, Child Bereavement Trust. Awarded for lifetime achievement and educational merit, British Medical Association.
‘A touching, beautifully crafted, new biographical profile of John Bowlby – inspiring, eloquent and powerful.’ - Carlos Durán, linguist and author.
‘A great reading experience which has brought the figure and work of John Bowlby alive and real in a way I can use in my work. This is a book that no-one interested in Bowlby and attachment will want to be without.’ - Dr Ray Haddock, MB ChB, MMedSc, FRCPsych. Consultant medical psychotherapist, group analyst, and systems-centered practitioner and consultant.
‘An eminently readable and captivating journey into John Bowlby and the entire field of attachment – a huge learning experience.’ - Jacqueline Fogden, group analyst, psychotherapist and former head-teacher.
‘Shrink unwrapped: A telling yet affectionate portrait of John Bowlby, the man – a joy to read.’ - Bryan Rimmer, Fleet Street writer.
‘I couldn’t stop reading… This book is an encouragement to become attached, to grow and to love – a truly uplifting experience.’ - Anthony Stone, consultant psychotherapist.
'"Encounters with John Bowlby" brings to life the context, development and applications of attachment theory, in a way that is accessible, enjoyable and enlivening.’ - Kate White, senior supervisor and teacher, The Bowlby Centre. Editor, Attachment: New Directions in Psychotherapy and Relational Psychoanalysis.
‘This very special book covering Bowlby’s life and work is a timely and delightfully clear reminder of how crucial attachment research is to both our understanding of ourselves and the care of future generations. Highly recommended to all professionals and public, and to those in positions of authority.’ - Dr Felicity de Zulueta, FRCPsych. Emeritus consultant psychiatrist in psychotherapy, former director of the Trauma Unit, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and senior clinical lecturer, King’s College London.
Acknowledgements Foreword. Sir Richard Bowlby Preface. Dr Marcus Johns Introduction 1. An Encounter with John Bowlby 2. An Outline of John Bowlby’s Pilgrimage 3. John Bowlby at War and the Psychoanalytic Controversial Discussions 4. John Bowlby and the Tavistock Clinic 5. Genesis of Attachment Theory 6. Cross-Fertilization in the Development of Attachment Theory 7. The Group as an Adaptive Attachment 8. Authority and Attachment in Adolescence 9. Attachment on the Edge 10. Attachment as Recovery from Child Sexual Abuse 11. Professional Sexual Abuse: A Perversion of Attachment 12. The Wit and Wisdom of John Bowlby: Personal Reflections Appendix References Index