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Compassion and Healing in Medicine and Society: On the Nature and Use of Attachment Solutions to Separation Challenges Hardcover – November 1, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-1421402208 ISBN-10: 1421402203 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 552 pages
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press; 1 edition (November 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1421402203
  • ISBN-13: 978-1421402208
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #188,260 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Greg Fricchione’s book presents scientific proof of what we intuitively know to be true: personal connections make us feel better. I hope all health care professionals will embrace the more compassionate, ‘attachment-based’ medical system that Greg advocates. The health of patients and their caregivers will benefit from genuine expressions of selfless love.

(Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, Carter Center Mental Health Program)

Greg Fricchione leads the reader back to the art of medicine, indeed to its increasingly imperiled core: empathy and effective engagement with patients.

(Steven E. Hyman, M.D., Former Director, National Institute of Mental Health, and Distinguished Service Professor, Harvard University)

The finest statement yet on the evolution of compassionate care and why it is so essential to the well-being of patients. Dr. Fricchione brings a lifetime of careful scientific study, clinical practice, and wisdom to a topic that is often the forgotten factor in healthcare reform and education. This book will help us understand ourselves, our needs as human beings and as patients, and what a truly healing relationship with a clinician is all about. May this become a true classic.

(Stephen G. Post, Ph.D., Stony Brook University)

Gregory Fricchione leads us on his quest to untie the Gordian knot inherent in such questions as, 'Who are we? How did we come to be like this?' His epic inquiry is conducted by the light of a dyadic lens, the 'separation challenge–attachment solution' that is foundational to our deepest pains, greatest longings, and, if his hypothesis holds, even our final joy. A masterwork of synthesis, it offers an epiphany in our search for meaning.

(Balfour M. Mount, OC, OQ, M.D., FRCSC, Eric M. Flanders Emeritus Professor of Palliative Medicine, McGill University)

A compassionate and scholarly tour de force. With great erudition Dr. Fricchione provides an explanation of the complex neurobiology of human attachment as well as case histories so vivid they make the reader cry. Here is wise advice on how modern doctors can still bring their hearts to the bedside.

(George Vaillant, M.D., Harvard Medical School)

It is not possible to give justice to such a large and complex project in a short review... enlightening and fascinating.

(Riadh Abed British Journal of Psychiatry)

About the Author

Gregory L. Fricchione, M.D., is a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and associate chief of psychiatry and director of the Benson-Henry Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital. He is coauthor of The Massachusetts General Hospital Handbook of General Hospital Psychiatry and The Heart-Mind Connection.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Bobrow on August 26, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
With Compassion and Healing in Medicine and Society, Greg Friccione has given us a rare gift. He has not only created a remarkably useful, erudite, and meaningful book, he has harvested the deep currents within himself to bring forth a masterwork of interdisciplinary synthesis that works not only because it is so well argued, but also because it is aligned with his deep aspiration to benefit medicine and humanity by expressing the truths that matter most to him. This he does skillfully and with loving care. His synthesis of science and spirit, and of elements of himself and his life work is a genuinely integrative offering, a tour de force of mind, heart and soul.

His ideas developed in the crucible of life and death, the "most spiritual place in the world" -- the bedside of patients facing serious illness and the potential of losing everything. In the face of such separation threats (made into opportunities) we humans are primed to seek healing connection with others and create a deeper sense of meaning - an attachment solution. Our brain has in fact evolved to do just this. Evolution utilizes natural selection but there is a bias, a selection preference. The law is still the survival of the fittest, but the fittest are those individuals and groups that find inclusive, connection-enhancing solutions to separation challenges.

Friccione demonstrates the explanatory power of this theory across diverse disciplines including biology, psychiatry, human development, neuroscience, philosophy, spirituality, and physics and cosmology (a bit).
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Format: Hardcover
The author seeks to support a hypothesis that would be fundamental to evolutionary theory with far reaching ramifications. He seeks to irrevocably connect the intuitive and scientific quest for truth by focusing on "meaning, knowledge and healing". His illustration throughout is medical practice. He reviews scientific literature to demonstrate his "attachement solutions to seperation challenges" as the key to all of evolution. It is a staggering or perhaps presumptive attempt. It will take the serious efforts of his peers to estimate how close he has come to success.
What he does do even for the simple reader like me is to uplift how vital Bowly's work on attachment theory really was.
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