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Edward John Mostyn Bowlby (1907–1990) was a pioneer in the field of attachment theory. His three-volume exposition of attachment, separation, and loss continues to impact both the fields of psychology and religion. John Bowlby depicted the infant as a “relational self” and elaborated on the significance of the maternal attachment. The term “mother figure” meant “that person to whom a child directs his [her] attachment behavior by preference” (Bowlby 1973, p. 22). By understanding the child as a connected self or a self-in-relation, John Bowlby contributed to the ongoing resistance to a cult of individualism or autonomy. He broke with psychoanalytic theory in his emphasis on the impact of real life events on the internal world of the infant in contrast to the role of fantasy as determinant of the infant’s unconscious realm.
Psychology and Religion: Attachment theory as developed by John Bowlby has offered a major theoretical framework for researchers in the psychology of religion. This...
- Bowlby, J. (1940). The influence of early environment in the development of neurosis and neurotic character. The International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 21, 1–25.Google Scholar
- Bowlby, J. (1969). Attachment and loss: Attachment (Vol. 1). New York: Basic.Google Scholar
- Bowlby, J. (1973). Attachment and loss: Separation, anxiety and anger (Vol. 2). New York: Basic.Google Scholar
- Bowlby, J. (1980). Attachment and loss: Loss, sadness and depression (Vol. 3). New York: Basic.Google Scholar
- Bowlby, R., & King, P. (2004). Fifty years of attachment theory: Recollections of Donald Winnicott and John Bowlby. London: Karnac.Google Scholar