I would imagine in years to come that this will be one of those books that are seen in the offices of various clinicians, catching dust on the shelf - waiting to be opened by someone. I’m realizing I don’t keep books in my office because people are the only thing I’m reading when I’m in there, original usage of the word read not the Urban Dictionary definition lol. The title of the book captures everything you need to know about its content, “Attached……The New Science of Adult Attachment”. Let’s take a swim through the pages.
Of all the books that I talk to my clients about, this one is top shelf. The authors put what can be confusing psychobabble into laymen terms and gift wrap what for some is a semester learned of attachment theory into less than 500 pages. Impressive considering the scientific accuracy, connection to the current times, and ease towards reading. In fact this happens to be one of the books I encourage my clients in relationships to read WITH their partner/s. It’s insightful, straight to the point and again I highlight that it is relevant to the times we live in. I have found that the textbooks, journal articles and research studies that primed me for my profession carry an archaic vibration that I find easy (thank goodness) to translate, but only from my own decoding capabilities. “Attached” makes attachment theory easy for those who are not engrossed in professions or studies of human behavior, and has tangible applications for the reader based on the books structure.
What happens when you get activated? Why do you physically avoid your crush when you actually desire them? Shall you text back immediately or will it make you appear needy? Do you mind appearing needy? Etc Etc Etc In this day and age when ghosting is prevalent, monogamous relationships are no longer sine qua non & social media’s influence on Generation X (and generations to follow) has increased the expectations of instant gratification, how do some of the early theorists stay alive and prevalent while the times are changing? Shall they turn into ghosts or remain ancestors to theories that have laid the foundation of how we view and study human behavior? I must say, I am a big fan of attachment theory. The work of Mary Ainsworth vis-à-vis John Bowlby (Tavistock Clinic alums seem to be everywhere!) goes back to Africa, Uganda specifically. Ainsworth studied the child rearing practices and all that comes with mothering in the first 2 years of a childs life entirely informed by observation and limited linguistic connection to the people she interacted with. When her findings were released she was not met with enthusiasm and a concentration and criticism towards how to conceptualize “attachment” clouded her innovative work and findings essentially by a room filled with men (cough cough patriarchy is that you hiding over there?) Yet she was able, with the support of John Bowlby, to expand on his work into what is today’s generally accepted model of maternal-infant attachment and it’s long lasting, sometimes irritating if you’re not securely attached, prevalence on adult behaviors. I loop back around to the book at hand, “Attached” and the knowing that is felt, thought and carried out when a person is attached to another.
I am hopeful that there will be an expansion of experiments observing and documenting early maternal-infant dynamics to include non-traditional aspects of “mothering”, that will integrate into the cemented foundation of attachment theory. We are living in a world filled with nannies, grandmothers as primary caretakers, older siblings as caretakers, children birthing children and various shadow parenting practices. “Attached” was a good read, I reference it often and I’d highly recommend it to anyone wanting to know a bit more about themselves.