Why Love Matters
How Affection Shapes a Baby's Brain
By Sue Gerhardt
Routledge – 2004 – 256 pages
Why Love Matters explains why love is essential to brain development in the early years of life, particularly to the development of our social and emotional brain systems, and presents the startling discoveries that provide the answers to how our emotional lives work.
Sue Gerhardt considers how the earliest relationship shapes the baby's nervous system, with lasting consequences, and how our adult life is influenced by infancy despite our inability to remember babyhood. She shows how the development of the brain can affect future emotional well being, and goes on to look at specific early 'pathways' that can affect the way we respond to stress and lead to conditions such as anorexia, addiction, and anti-social behaviour.
Why Love Matters is a lively and very accessible interpretation of the latest findings in neuroscience, psychology, psychoanalysis and biochemistry. It will be invaluable to psychotherapists and psychoanalysts, mental health professionals, parents and all those concerned with the central importance of brain development in relation to many later adult difficulties.
"Why Love Matters is hugely important. It should be mandatory reading for all parents, teachers and politicians." - The Guardian
"Sue Gerhardt's choice of title reflects the loving attention to detail that is the essence of this book… excellently researched and well-written book which deserves to be widely read by practitioners, researchers and parents." - Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice
"Sue Gerhardt has written a vitally important book - a must-read for every parent, teacher, physician and politician." - Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence
"I would like to add to that positive view and suggest that this book be on every reading list you offer to new parents, politicians, clients, colleagues, family and friends." - Jeannie Wright, British Journal of Guidance and Counselling
"Gerhardt's book offers perhaps one of the most concise arguments for why love and affection in early life truly do matter. Written with clear and direct language, this text can serve as a general resource for mental health professionals and parents alike." - Rachel Altamirano, Clinical Social Work Journal
Introduction. Part I: The Foundations: Babies and their Brains. Back to the Beginning. Building a Brain. Corrosive Cortisol. Conclusion to Part 1. Part II: Shaky Foundations and their Consequences. Trying Not to Feel. Melancholy Baby. Active Harm. Torment. Original Sin. Part III: Too Much Information, Not Enough Solutions. "If All Else Fails, Hug Your Teddy Bear". Birth of the Future. Bibliography.