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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Susan Richardson, MA, PsyD (Private Practice)
Description: This book is a theoretical expansion of Bowlby's attachment theory to examine romantic love in the context of three dynamics: attachment, caring and sexual behavior. It is the outgrowth of a birthday party/conference in honor of Dr. Phil Shaver, a pioneer in this theoretical development.
Purpose: This is a review of the current thinking, research, and direction of the field of study Dr. Shaver initiated with his 1987 article on romantic love viewed as an attachment process. The book's contributors were speakers at a 2004 conference on the subject and their included work here is a representation of their presentation. The book certainly meets the objectives of the editors and all involved in the conference, but its audience is fairly limited.
Audience: It is written mainly for academics interested in attachment theory. It is appropriate for graduate psychology courses on attachment theory. The authors also feel it would be useful for clinicians working with couples, but it is essentially an academic work.
Features: The book begins with a highly personal account of the inception of the conference and a lively description of Dr. Shaver who is credited with being a pioneer in this theory. Subsequent chapters are structured around the dynamics of the interplay of romantic love with attachment, caregiving and sex. The book concludes with a very interesting chapter written by Dr. Shaver about future directions of these ideas as well as commentary on content from other writers.
Assessment: Although some of the writers fail to make their ideas compelling, most do a good job of advancing a theory. This book will be well regarded in a graduate classroom, but links to more practical clinical applications are still needed for clinical practitioners to appreciate this book.