Love, Fear and Health


Love, Fear and Health: How Our Attachments to Others Shape Health and Health Care

Robert Maunder & Jonathan Hunter, University of Toronto Press, 2015

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“What an excellent book!  Fascinating, humane, scientifically sound, clinically innovative, and gracefully written.  While relying on attachment theory research for important applications to the healthcare field, it opens up topics for further research.  It reads quickly and effortlessly because of its lucid prose, engaging author self-disclosures, and efficiently presented, highly instructive case examples.  I thoroughly enjoyed it – as an attachment researcher, sometimes patient negotiating today’s healthcare maze, and a fan of good stories about complex real beings.”

Phillip R. Shaver, Distinguished Professor of Psychology, Department of Psychology, UC Davis

Co-editor of The Handbook of Attachment and The APA Handbook of Personality and Social Psychology, Co-author of Attachment in Adulthood

Love, Fear, and Health is brilliant.  Every healthcare professional concerned with the psychological well-being of his or her patients should read it.   More generally, I recommend this lucid and humane book to anyone concerned to understand why some people are happy and healthy, and others are not.”  

David Naylor MD, D. Phil, FRCPC, Professor of Medicine, President Emeritas and former Dean of Medicine, University of Toronto

“Popular medical science at its very best, Maunder & Hunter’s brilliant book defies superlatives: readable, accessible, amusing, and profound. They show how the evidenced-based science of Attachment is the key that unlocks the puzzle of chronic illness and illness-promoting behaviours, and how, through understanding the lure and dangers of the ubiquitous ‘weak force’ of insecure attachment, both can be ameliorated. Personalised medicine is focused here on the chemistry of the doctor-patient relationship pointing the way to a healthcare revolution. Hyperbole aside, this is in one of those rare books destined to be essential reading for doctors and health workers, at all levels, worldwide, and for years to come.”

Jeremy Holmes MD FRCPsych MRCP, Professor of Psychology, University of Exeter, UK

Author of The Search for the Secure Base and Exploring in Security: Towards an Attachment-Informed Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy

This is an excellent introduction to a way of understanding problematic interactions in healthcare, providing a clear map and approach for clinicians. Authors Robert Maunder and Jonathan Hunter … draw from their extensive clinical experience to ground their approach in real-life encounters.

This book is well constructed, building on previous chapters as the evidence and more detail accumulates. It never strays far from its clinical roots; there is always an apt clinical example told with compassion and often humour… The authors do well to compress and summarize a vast literature and make it into a fascinating story that moves from the individual to the health system at large.

This book is written to appeal to a wide clinical audience, including physicians, nurses and other care providers. The understanding this book promotes could go far in improving the care all clinicians offer to their patients.

Barry Gilbert MD FRCPC, Psychiatrist, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

UT Medicine Magazine

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4/5 Stars: Using attachment theory, a useful window is opened into habitual behaviours, hidden motives and the lack of positive change. Love, Fear and Health offers an alternative view of why we do the things we do, even when we know it is bad for us long term – for example, why a qualified dietitian can remain inactive and overweight. Free from jargon, with some humour thrown in for good measure, the text is easy to read, and each section provides several examples and a useful summary… the book could help healthcare workers to better meet their patients’ needs and ultimately improve their health.

Angela Davis, Clinical Nurse Specialist

Nursing Standard

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For several decades Maunder and Hunter have been doing research on health care , and they have translated their findings into programs of teaching and clinical work. In their book they extend this work, making two striking proposals.

One proposal is that clinical care… is based on relationships between providers and patients, and that these relationships can work better when providers know about potential attachment problems in those for whom they care.

A second proposal derives from demands on the health system made by some of its most habitual users. These users typically have chronic illnesses and, as Maunder and Hunter say, they are sometimes colloquially referred to as “frequent flyers”; they use as much as 20 percent of all healthcare resources. This use is based not only on genes and germs…

Overall, this book is an engaging one that healthcare workers of all kinds will find interesting, informative and helpful. The rest of us, who sometimes are patients, will also find this book worthwhile, and in reading it may even recognize issues in ourselves and in those we know.

Keith Oatley, novelist, cognitive psychologist and author of The Passionate Muse: Exploration of Emotion in Stories

Literary Review of Canada

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