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Story Wouldn't Fly With Theory's Founder

July 28, 1996

Regarding "Full of Woe" (July 12), I have been studying attachment theory for the past 20 years, and I can guarantee you that if John Bowlby, founder of attachment theory, could read your article he would roll over in his grave.

If he were alive, he would be aghast at the clinical practices of the psychotherapists quoted in your article. Mary Ainsworth, Bowlby's longtime colleague, who I am told is in semi-secluded retirement these days, would also be appalled at the total disregard for the tenets of attachment theory on the part of Michael Pines of ATTACH and others.

Attachment theory is essentially a theory of child development, which, among other discoveries, has noted certain developmental patterns in children based on early parental responsiveness. It is not meant to be used clinically to such an extreme extent, as Alan Sroufe of the University of Minnesota (also quoted in your article ) so accurately stated.

Sroufe has been longitudinally studying attachment in children since the early 1970s. He and other developmental researchers throughout the country, such as Jay Belsky at the University of Pennsylvania and Mark Greenberg at the University of Washington, are the experts in attachment theory and are the ones qualified to speak of its developmental and clinical (if any) ramifications.

L. CRAIK

Yorba Linda

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