Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

2019 Edition
| Editors: Jay L. Lebow, Anthony L. Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Bowlby, John

  • Mary A. FisherEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_792


Bowlby, John


The father of attachment theory, John Mostyn Bowlby, was born in 1907 in London to Anthony Alfred Bowlby, a surgeon of renown, whose military service and medical practice frequently separated him from his family, and Mary Bridget Mostyn, whom Bowlby characterized as stable and sensible. The couple married and started their family unusually late in life, but as was customary among middle- and upper-class Edwardians, the rearing of Bowlby and his five siblings was conducted almost entirely by nursemaids. Minnie, the nursemaid who had daily charge of Bowlby, left the household when he was 4 years old, the effects of which may have inspired him to assert that the loss of a “loving nanny” in young childhood “can be almost as tragic as the loss of a mother” (Bowlby 1958, p. 7). After being sent to boarding school to avoid the threat of air raids on London, and later naval training as a cadet, Bowlby determined that a military path would offer him little...

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  1. Bowlby, J. (1958). Can I leave my baby? London: The National Association for Mental Health.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Mary Fisher Psychotherapy, PLLCSalt Lake CityUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Kelley Quirk
    • 1
  • Adam R. Fisher
    • 2
  1. 1.Colorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA
  2. 2.The Family Institute at Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA