Love in the Age of the Internet: Attachment in the Digital Era

Editor : Linda Cundy

Love in the Age of the Internet: Attachment in the Digital Era

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Also by Linda Cundy

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This highly topical book explores the new technological environment we have created, and our adaptation to it, twenty-five years after the death of John Bowlby. In the space of just a couple of decades, the world has changed radically, and we are changing too: personal computers and smartphones mediate our lives, work, play, and love. Relationships of all kinds are now conducted through mobile phones, email, Skype and social network sites. Attachment theory is concerned with the impact of the external world on internal reality, where twenty-first century experiences encounter the powerful, primitive, and ancient instinct for attachment and survival.

This book is written by psychotherapists whose practice, with individual adults and couples, is informed by attachment theory. It contains theoretical, observational, and clinical material, and will be relevant to all psychotherapists, psychoanalysts, counsellors, and psychologists interested in the profound impact of digital and communication technologies on human relationships: the bond between children and parents in which the child’s sense of self develops, attachment between adult couples and within friendship groups and communities, and our relationships with ourselves. The particular kind of “love” between the practitioner and patient, increasingly influenced by new ways of communicating, is also examined. The implicit question posed is this: does digital technology enhance secure attachment or fuel insecurity, alienation, and psychopathology?

Reviews and Endorsements

‘Does the Internet damage our capacity to be intimate, or does it allow us to forge richer and broader attachments? Should therapists encourage the use of the telephone and Skype, or might such technologies destroy our ability to develop rich clinical encounters? Does a clinician ever have the right to Google a patient, or does this represent a contamination of the psychotherapeutic situation? And, above all, can love really flourish in the age of the Internet, or have our friendships become reduced to quick texts and e-mail exchanges? In this highly riveting new work, Linda Cundy and her colleagues explore these and many other vital questions of modern life with great psychological sensitivity and impressive intellectual dexterity. Rarely have I read such an engaging, thought-provoking, and well-written book; and I offer my congratulations to the authors for having produced a text that deserves to become essential reading not only for mental health professionals, but also for anyone who wishes to understand the challenges of intimacy more fully.’
—Professor Brett Kahr, Senior Clinical Research Fellow in Psychotherapy and Mental Health at the Centre for Child Mental Health in London; Honorary Visiting Professor in the School of Arts at the University of Roehampton; Trustee of the Freud Museum; and author of Sex and the Psyche

‘This is a timely and thoughtful exploration of how the digital revolution may be affecting our relationships and felt security as individuals and as a community, for better and for worse. Written accessibly, almost conversationally, the contributors consider the effects on brain activity and couple relationships of the hyper-stimulation generated by internet pornography, the impact of electronic communication and social media sites on how we form and maintain relationships, and the possibilities and pitfalls facing psychotherapists as they consider whether and how to engage with the virtual realities of an increasingly sophisticated technological world. Raising challenging questions, and offering some helpful advice, this book is an important addition to the as yet sparse library on the implications of the Internet for psychotherapeutic practice and love relationships generally.’
—Christopher Clulow, PhD, Senior Fellow, the Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships, London

About the Editor(s)

Linda Cundy is an attachment-based psychoanalytic psychotherapist with a private practice in North London. She has taught for two decades on counselling and psychotherapy courses and is also an independent trainer specialising in attachment, human development, and clinical practice. She is Course Director and lead tutor of the Post-Graduate Diploma in Attachment-based Therapy, and consultant to the Foundation Diploma in Attachment-based Counselling, both at the Wimbledon Guild. She is Chair of Hackney Bereavement Service, which offers face-to-face and real-time online bereavement counselling to residents of the London Borough of Hackney aged fifty and over. Trained as a counsellor in the 1980s, Linda worked for a number of years for ChildLine and for mental health services until retraining at the Bowlby Centre in the 1990s.

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