"Every reader will find this book about attachment enlightening."
--Dr. Sue Johnson, author of Hold Me Tight
"Does a magnificent job of revealing how attachment manifests at the workplace, in friendships, religion, and even politics.”
--Amir Levine, M.D., author of Attached
A revealing look at attachment theory, uncovering how our early childhood experiences create a blueprint for all our relationships to come
Attachment theory is having a moment. It’s the subject of much-shared articles and popular relationship guides. Why is this fifty-year-old theory, widely accepted in psychological circles, suddenly in vogue? Because people are discovering how powerfully it sheds light on who we love--and how.
Fascinated by the subject, award-winning journalist and author Peter Lovenheim embarked on a journey to understand it from the inside out. Interviewing researchers, professors, counselors, and other experts, as well as individuals and couples whose attachment stories illuminate and embody the theory's key concepts. The result is this engaging and revealing book, which is part journalism, part memoir, part psychological guide--and a fascinating read for anyone who wants to better understand the needs and dynamics that drive the complex relationships in their lives.
* What it means to be securely and insecurely attached
* How our early childhood experiences create a blueprint for future relationships--and how to use those insights to gain self-awareness and growth
* Why anxious and avoidant attachment types tend to attract each other, and how to break the negative cycle
* How anyone can work to become "earned secure" regardless of their upbringing and past relationships.
Lovenheim (In the Neighborhood), a journalist and writing professor, brings together personal exploration and social analysis for a thoughtful but overly inward-focused look at the implications of attachment theory. Developed by British psychiatrist John Bowlby, it posits infants as "hardwired to search for and attach to a competent, reliable caregiver," with the success or failure of that endeavor having lifelong effects. Lovenheim describes first learning about the theory from an academic colleague and being inspired to undergo a diagnostic Adult Attachment Interview (and thus identifying his own anxious, as opposed to secure or avoidant, attachment style). Lovenheim is insightful if repetitive in chapters applying different attachment personality types to adult relationships, such as between best friends or romantic couples. However, Lovenheim's account of experiencing a crisis in a section on attachment theory and religion wanders into self-indulgent territory, and the "10 Lessons of Attachment" given in the epilogue comes off as a half-hearted attempt to add a self-help component to the text. Lovenheim's focus on himself as subject conveys less universality than seemingly intended and fails to connect the reader deeply to the author's personal stake in an academic school of thought.