Book Review: Why Love Matters by Sue Gerhardt, Routledge


Why love matters is about how affection shapes a baby’s brain.  It’s a great book that explains that love is essential to brain development in the early years of life. The book is well written and accessible.

It offers an interpretation of the findings from neuroscience, psychology, psychoanalysis and biochemistry.  Yet it is evidence based and full of interesting information and facts about the brain and its development.  It provides interpretations in that are grounded in psychodynamic psychotherapy.  The author is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist.  Essentially, many maladaptive patterns have their roots in early experiences.   I would have liked the author to have mentioned that change is possible and despite our past experiences we can change our beliefs and behaviours and therefore our emotional state in the here and now.   I still enjoyed the book immensely as it is written from the point that prevention is better than a cure.

What I found more interesting is the development of the higher brain capacities i.e. social, which develop in response to social experiences.  The author makes the point that it is appropriate to hold a baby rather than hold flashcards to him/her.  Further a baby can’t develop an orbitofrontal cortex on his/her own because it depends on the relationships with other people who are available.

I recommend this book to anyone interested in psychological health.

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