The life and works of John Bowlby

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The life and works of John Bowlby

1907 - 19907

John Bowlby was born in 1907. After his graduation he pursued his new found interest through volunteering at two progressive schools, the second a small analytically- oriented residential institution that served about 24 maladjusted children, aged 4 - 18 years. Two children there had an enormous impact on him. One was a very isolated, remote and affectionless teenager with no experience of a stable mother figure. This child had been expelled from his previous school for stealing. The second was an anxious boy of 7 or 8 who trailed Bowlby around and was known as his shadow. An additional major influence on Bowlby was John Alford, one of the other volunteer staff at the school. It was with him that Bowlby spent many hours discussing the effect of early experience, or lack of it, upon character development. Also very influential to Bowlby were two social workers that he met at the London child guidance clinic, Christoph Heinecke and James Robinson.

These two persons shared his ideas about the importance for healthy development of a Childs early family experience.

Throughout this period, Bowlby felt very strongly that the psychoanalysis was putting far too much emphasis on the Childs fantasy world and far to little on actual events. This was expressed in an interesting paper 'the influence of early environment in the development of neurosis and neurotic character'.

In 1945 bowlby became head of the children's department at the Tavistock clinic. In order to highlight the importance of the parent - child relationship, he promptly renamed it the department for children and parents. Bowlby was deeply interested in finding out the actual patterns of family interaction involved in both healthy and pathological development.

In 1948, after obtaining his first research funds, Bowlby...