Why Love Matters: How affection shapes a baby's brain 2nd Edition
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"This book provides an interesting and eminently readable account, compressively set out, with a clear description, assisted by case studies, as to how the interaction between automatic physiological responses and biochemical reactions function to help maintain a good state." – Nicola Miller, in Seen and Heard
"For a reader acquainted with psychology, this truly is an all-encompassing book on early human development and presents fascinating links between genetic expression and socio-cultural and environmental influence. " – Michael Fiorini, International Journal of Psychotherapy
"This book is a rare achievement. It succeeds in combining the most accessible and readable account of the neurobiology of early development I have come across with an impressive level of scholarship. Though written with a light touch this fascinating updated volume eloquently describes how very recent advances in neuroscience are being used to re-define and deepen our understanding of the relational origins of human nature, and how this knowledge can be used to address the early roots of many of the common problems that all societies are now facing. A best seller in the UK, Sue Gerhardt's book deserves to be more widely read in the USA." – Allan N. Schore, Ph.D., UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine
"A sensational read. Combining cutting edge research on the brain, parenting and emotional development with wonderful writing, this is popular science at its best. A page-turner of a book which packs a powerful and life-changing message and is a must-read for parents, policy-makers, childcare professionals, students and indeed anyone interested in a healthier and happier future." – Dr. Graham Music, consultant psychotherapist, Tavistock Clinic, London, and author of Nurturing Natures
"With the knowledge summed up in this superb book, we can ensure that our child and every child gets close to the very limits of human potential." – Steve Biddulph, from the foreword
Praise for the first edition: "Why Love Matters is hugely important. It should be mandatory reading for all parents, teachers and politicians." – Rebecca Abrams, in The Guardian
"Sue Gerhardt writes in an easy-to-read, page-turning way and makes complex science tangible, relevant, popular and accessible." – Martine Horvath, Eye on Education
"The book is successful in conveying the important message about the role which early relationships play in the formation of the brain and is a useful tool for parents, professionals and students… An informative, enjoyable and motivating read." – Gemma Roxanne West, Student Play Therapist for BAPT Magazine
"Bolstering the work of the best-selling 2004 edition is this trade-meets-specialist publication that itnersects neuropsychology with attachment theory to emphasise the foundational importance of scure attachement through one-on-one primary care. The book is the product of impressive literature review and synthesis to further Gerhardt's argument... What is striking about Gerhardt's contribution is the volume of evidence she amasses and the wholistic, arguably 'whole-brained' approach she adopts. Perhaps most compelling, however, is the reported extent of the attachment disturbances... [A] courageous and mmeticulously argued, highly elucidating call to take the care of our most vulnerable dependents more seriously, and install good, present, securely attached love at the centre of our plan to help children live well." - Susie Elliot, researcher, Psychotherapy and Counselling Journal of Australia
About the Author
Dr Sue Gerhardt has been a psychoanalytic psychotherapist in private practice since 1997. She co-founded the Oxford Parent Infant Project (OXPIP), a pioneering charity that today provides psychotherapeutic help to hundreds of parents and babies in Oxfordshire and is now the prototype of many new ‘PIPs’ around the country. She is also the author of The Selfish Society (2012).
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Sue Gerhardt’s Why Love Matters is an important book that addresses the crucial issue of what we need to recognize if we are to be more understanding of ourselves and each other and promote the health and well-being of future generations. This is a topic that should interest everyone because in one way or another we all contribute to what happens. The book presents evidence based on scientific research that supports the crucial role of relationships in the early development of healthy self-regulation. It describes how the ability to experience emotions with clarity and behave in constructive ways is rooted in what transpires in our immediate social context long before we have any awareness of what is happening. The book is well written and the presentation is entertaining covering not only the science but also providing vivid illustrations from the author’s clinical experience as well as from literature, film, and biography. The book underscores that it is during an individual’s most vulnerable months; namely prenatal life, infancy, and toddlerhood, that relationships have the most profound and enduring impact on our development. This is because during early life the brain is forming and becoming rapidly organized into functional systems whose structure and dynamics are not solely shaped by genetics. Exposure and experience drive genetic expression during time-limited sensitive periods and ultimately help determine whether our responses to environmental challenges or stressful circumstances will be more or less adaptive across situations.
It must be acknowledged that the idea of time-limited windows of opportunity to promote maximum well-being is not a comforting notion. Unfortunately, the idea is supported by lots of evidence which is not to say that one cannot point to exceptions where individuals subjected to adverse circumstances emerge with admirable qualities. Such resilient individuals are not the norm and often they have benefited from some unexpected relationship. It is also the case that biological arguments are not readily embraced by many well-intentioned individuals who find such arguments to be dangerously deterministic explanations for human behavior and contrary to notions of voluntary choice and responsibility for one’s actions. However, dismissing the ideas put forth in this book would only serve to perpetuate societal neglect of children and families who are in need of well-timed support if they are to avoid adverse outcomes such as susceptibility to academic failure, depression, violence, criminality, and/or addiction. Here some may perceive that the author is casting blame when in fact she is clarifying what needs to be recognized if we want to be supportive in ways that are effective. Investing in the early years is simply the right thing to do and besides that it is estimated to be less costly than the alternatives. Again this is an important book with a message that perhaps is not entirely reassuring or easy to accept but one that is profoundly enlightening!
Top international reviews
It also helped me to understand a lot about the origin of my own emotional-self, by realising how & what possibly impacted who I'm now by the way I was raised myself.
The book does get way too scientific, a little boring and a little difficult to read at some parts, but you can just skip those and you will still won't miss much and learn a lot!
I have recommended this book to many of my friends.
There is a systematic explanation of parent-infant and parent-child relationship; how that affects the brain development; how that in turn affects attachment behaviour, sense of self; and how that affects the personality structure of the child and the adult.
There is an underlying emphasis in Gerhardt's approach on affect regulation as a central aspect of the attachment bond, through which this book gives a very exciting perspective on attachments. I highly recommend this to any psychotherapy student who wants to gain a deeper understanding of Attachment Theory including and beyond attachment styles.
I would recommend thus to all new parents but also to anyone involved in policy making - it could save society a lot of money and give future generations a chance of greater emotional well -being that would last for centuries to come.
I can not recommend this book enough. It also made me understand the reasons behind some of my own behaviour and feelings.
The author does not claim that she has the answer to all questions but clearly gives enough proofs to demonstrate that her judgement is right (always supporting her ideas and discoveries to discoveries that other researchers made) and that LOVE DOES MATTER.