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Attachment in Later Life: Lost in a dark wood and in search of a guide: a lecture with Jeremy Holmes

In later life – do attachment principles still apply. Drawing on clinical, observational and personal experience, Jeremy will explore the psychodynamic ’tasks’ of the second half of life.

During this talk, Jeremy will touch on:

  1. the ‘reverse Oedipus’ and the challenge of letting go
  2. the evolutionary role of grandparents (literal and metaphorical) as culture-bearers
  3. what attachment research tells us about old age, adaptive and maladaptive
  4. Dante and Jung’s map of pathways to graceful endings.

Professor Jeremy Holmes MD FRCPsych was for 35 years Consultant Psychiatrist/Medical Psychotherapist at University College London (UCL) and then in North Devon, UK, and Chair of the Psychotherapy Faculty of the Royal College of Psychiatrists 1998-2002. He is visiting Professor at the University of Exeter, and lectures nationally and internationally. In addition to 200+ peer-reviewed papers and chapters in the field of psychoanalysis and attachment theory, his books include John Bowlby and Attachment Theory, (2nd edition 2013),   The Oxford Textbook of Psychotherapy (2005 co-editors Glen Gabbard and Judy Beck),  Exploring In Security: Towards an Attachment-informed Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy (2010, winner of Canadian Goethe Prize) , The Therapeutic Imagination: Using Literature to Deepen Psychodynamic Understanding and Enhance Empathy (2014), Attachment in Therapeutic Practice (2017, with A Slade), and The Brain Has a Mind of its Own: Attachment, Neurobiology and the New Science of Psychotherapy (2020). He was recipient of the Bowlby-Ainsworth Founders Award 2009. Gardening, Green politics and grand-parenting are gradually eclipsing his lifetime devotion to psychoanalytic psychotherapy and attachment.