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Love matters. And we have the science to prove it.

Why Love Matters, 2nd Edition

Should I put my baby in a nursery?
Can we prevent anti-social behavior?
Will my depression be passed on to my child?

This new edition of Why Love Matters, by Sue Gerhardt, throws some fresh light on these perennially challenging questions by updating its popular and accessible account of how the brain develops in early life.  

Why Love Matters, 2nd Edition, explains why loving relationships are essential to brain development in the early years, and how these early interactions can have lasting consequences for future emotional and physical health. This second edition follows on from the success of the first, updating the scientific research, covering recent findings in genetics and the mind/body connection, and including a new chapter highlighting our growing understanding of the part also played by pregnancy in shaping a baby’s future emotional and physical well-being.

Why Love Matters is an accessible, lively, account of the latest findings in neuroscience, developmental psychology and neurobiology – research which matters to us all. It is an invaluable and hugely popular guide for parents and professionals alike. Read more...

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This book is a rare achievement. It succeeds in combining the most accessible and readable account of the neurobiology of early development I have come across with an impressive level of scholarship. Though written with a light touch this fascinating updated volume eloquently describes how very recent advances in neuroscience are being used to re-define and deepen our understanding of the relational origins of human nature, and how this knowledge can be used to address the early roots of many of the common problems that all societies are now facing. A best seller in the UK, Sue Gerhardt's book deserves to be more widely read in the USA.” - Allan N. Schore, Ph.D., Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, USA 

"A sensational read. Combining cutting edge research on the brain, parenting and emotional development with wonderful writing, this is popular science at its best. A page-turner of a book which packs a powerful and life-changing message and is a must-read for parents, policy-makers, childcare professionals, students and indeed anyone interested in a healthier and happier future." - Dr. Graham Music, consultant psychotherapist, Tavistock Clinic, London, and author of Nurturing Natures

"Why Love Matters is hugely important. It should be mandatory reading for all parents, teachers and politicians." - Rebecca Abrams, in The Guardian 


From the Foreword

by Steve Biddulph, psychologist and author of The Secret of Happy Children 

In the last ten years, helped hugely by the technology that allows us to look inside the working human brain, neuroscience has transformed what we know about how little children grow.

Alongside her work as a psychotherapist and specialist in mother and baby relationships, Sue set herself the task of reading and absorbing pretty much the whole field of developmental neuroscience, speaking to the researchers, synthesising it all with a view to discovering ‘How does this help real mums and dads, as well as teachers and policy makers and so on?’. She did this because she recognized that this knowledge would change everything. And she was right.

In short, our problems with kids’ lives and with our own lives have arisen because we have completely missed the importance of affection. We thought it was just something nice that parents did. But in fact, it’s the key to all mental health, intelligence and functioning as a human being.

Those moments of soothing, playfulness, touching and tickling, hugging and holding that happen between mother and baby, husband and wife, old people walking hand in hand, stimulate the brain and build connections that are the foundations of intelligence, people skills and being a decent and wonderful human being. All the enrichment, education, money and resources, courses and expensive schools won’t make up for having parents who were rushed, tense and had trouble settling with their baby or toddler and having a loving and fun time.

As a populariser myself, an explainer who realises it’s no good what the researchers discover if we can’t get the message out to everyone, I greatly admire what Sue has done. She has taken one of the most complicated fields in the world today and made it useful.


About the Author

Sue GerhardtSue Gerhardt has been a psychoanalytic psychotherapist in private practice since 1997. She co-founded the Oxford Parent Infant Project (OXPIP), a pioneering charity that today provides psychotherapeutic help to hundreds of parents and   babies in Oxfordshire and is now the prototype of many new ‘PIPs’ around the country. She is also the author of The Selfish Society (2012).