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Understanding Attachment


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"Clear, concise and engaging, Jean Mercer's Understanding Attachment is a trustworthy guide for any reader who wants to learn about what the author calls the most important way of thinking of emotional development. Mercer goes back more than a century to describe psychoanalysts' and ethologists' contributions to understanding infants' intense relationships to their caregivers...After describing what we know about attachment and how we know it, Mercer ventures beyond the limits of research findings to suggest the implications of attachment theory for contemporary infants, young children, and parents...She challenges makers of public policy, lawyers and judges, the child care community, and parents to make the effort to truly understand attachment-- and to use new knowledge on behalf if all young children and families." -- Emily Fenichel, Editor, Zero To Three Journal

About the Author

Jean Mercer is Professor of Psychology in the Division of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Richard Stockton College and President of the New Jersey Association for Infant Mental Health. She is also co-author of Attachment Therapy On Trial (Praeger, 2003).


"A useful companion to Mercer's Attachment Therapy on Trial, written with Larry Sarner and Linda Rosa with Gerard Costa (CH, Dec'03, 41-2488), this book will be especially valuable for those unfamiliar with attachment theory and research. Mercer provides a concise and jargon-free summary of attachment theory and successfully reveals how developments in the assessment of attachment promoted the evolution of attachment theory to what it is today....Recommended. Lower-/upper-division undergraduates; technical students; practitioners; general readers." - Choice
"Secure attachments are a matter of both nature and nurture, the individual and the environment. Some of the most nurturing parents in the world will have insecure children, and some secure children will survive the most erratic and troubled parents. That said, Mercer's recommendations for creating attachment-friendly daycare practices and interventions, based on the child's changing developmental needs, are sensible. Attachment, like grass, will emerge through even the tiniest of cracks. Whether we then water those tendrils or trample on them is our choice." - Times Literary Supplement (London)

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