Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2014 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

Attachment and Loss

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6086-2_9126

Children’s hunger for mother-love and presence is as great as children’s hunger for food (Bowlby 1969, p. xiii). This position was maintained by John Bowlby and his colleagues, particularly James Robertson and later Mary Salter Ainsworth. This premise undergirded their compelling work on instinctive behavior and the ontogeny of human attachment.

Bowlby and his associates focused on disturbances and separations in the early relationships between young children and their primary caretakers, most often mothers or mother-surrogates. Whereas psychoanalytic theory at that time connected psychopathology more with child fantasy and the internal events or process of the child, Bowlby and his associates connected psychoneurosis and other forms of emotional disturbance in the child primarily with rather external events. Bowlby undertook training at the British Psychoanalytic Institute and received supervision from Melanie Klein. In her reconstruction of attachment theory, Inge Bretherton relays...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Practical TheologyPerkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist UniversityDallasUSA