Why Love Matters explains why loving relationships are essential to brain development in the early years, and how these early interactions can have lasting consequences for future emotional and physical health. This second edition follows on from the success of the first, updating the scientific research, covering recent findings in genetics and the mind/body connection, and including a new chapter highlighting our growing understanding of the part also played by pregnancy in shaping a baby’s future emotional and physical well-being.
The author focuses in particular on the wide-ranging effects of early stress on a baby or toddler’s developing nervous system. When things go wrong with relationships in early life, the dependent child has to adapt; what we now know is that his or her brain adapts too. The brain’s emotion and immune systems are particularly affected by early stress and can become less effective. This makes the child more vulnerable to a range of later difficulties such as depression, anti-social behaviour, addictions or anorexia, as well as physical illness.
Table of Contents
Part 1: The Foundations: Babies and their brains 1. Before we meet them 2. Back to the beginning 3. Building a brain 4. Corrosive Cortisol. Conclusion to Part 1. Part 2: Shaky Foundations and their Consequences 5. Trying Not to Feel 6. Melancholy Baby 7. Active Harm 8. Torment 9. Original Sin. Part 3: Too Much Information, Not Enough Solutions 10. ‘If all else fails, hug your teddy bear’ 11. Birth of the Future.
Dr Sue Gerhardt has been a psychoanalytic psychotherapist in private practice since 1997. She co-founded the Oxford Parent Infant Project (OXPIP), a pioneering charity that today provides psychotherapeutic help to hundreds of parents and babies in Oxfordshire and is now the prototype of many new ‘PIPs’ around the country. She is also the author of The Selfish Society (2012).
"This book provides an interesting and eminently readable account, compressively set out, with a clear description, assisted by case studies, as to how the interaction between automatic physiological responses and biochemical reactions function to help maintain a good state." – Nicola Miller, in Seen and Heard
"For a reader acquainted with psychology, this truly is an all-encompassing book on early human development and presents fascinating links between genetic expression and socio-cultural and environmental influence. " – Michael Fiorini, International Journal of Psychotherapy
"This book is a rare achievement. It succeeds in combining the most accessible and readable account of the neurobiology of early development I have come across with an impressive level of scholarship. Though written with a light touch this fascinating updated volume eloquently describes how very recent advances in neuroscience are being used to re-define and deepen our understanding of the relational origins of human nature, and how this knowledge can be used to address the early roots of many of the common problems that all societies are now facing. A best seller in the UK, Sue Gerhardt's book deserves to be more widely read in the USA." – Allan N. Schore, Ph.D., UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine
"A sensational read. Combining cutting edge research on the brain, parenting and emotional development with wonderful writing, this is popular science at its best. A page-turner of a book which packs a powerful and life-changing message and is a must-read for parents, policy-makers, childcare professionals, students and indeed anyone interested in a healthier and happier future." – Dr. Graham Music, consultant psychotherapist, Tavistock Clinic, London, and author of Nurturing Natures
"With the knowledge summed up in this superb book, we can ensure that our child and every child gets close to the very limits of human potential." – Steve Biddulph, from the foreword
Praise for the first edition: "Why Love Matters is hugely important. It should be mandatory reading for all parents, teachers and politicians." – Rebecca Abrams, in The Guardian
"Sue Gerhardt writes in an easy-to-read, page-turning way and makes complex science tangible, relevant, popular and accessible." – Martine Horvath, Eye on Education
"The book is successful in conveying the important message about the role which early relationships play in the formation of the brain and is a useful tool for parents, professionals and students… An informative, enjoyable and motivating read." – Gemma Roxanne West, Student Play Therapist for BAPT Magazine
"Bolstering the work of the best-selling 2004 edition is this trade-meets-specialist publication that itnersects neuropsychology with attachment theory to emphasise the foundational importance of scure attachement through one-on-one primary care. The book is the product of impressive literature review and synthesis to further Gerhardt's argument... What is striking about Gerhardt's contribution is the volume of evidence she amasses and the wholistic, arguably 'whole-brained' approach she adopts. Perhaps most compelling, however, is the reported extent of the attachment disturbances... [A] courageous and mmeticulously argued, highly elucidating call to take the care of our most vulnerable dependents more seriously, and install good, present, securely attached love at the centre of our plan to help children live well." - Susie Elliot, researcher, Psychotherapy and Counselling Journal of Australia