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Attachment – History, Models and Culture

5. Language and Attachment

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This lecture highlights elements of language, including the secure base script, and their roles in attachment. Professor Holmes then calls on philosophy, demonstrating how Grice’s principles of effective communication interlink with attachment theory. Later in this lecture, the discussion moves on to psychotherapy and how the attachment type of both a patient and therapist can impact conversation. Language is then described as a series of speech acts, whereby it can call others to action, in addition to simply conveying information.


In this course, Professor Jeremy Holmes discusses attachment theory, starting with its history in lecture one. Lecture two elaborates on how attachment theory and modern evolutionary theory are linked. This lecture highlights key figures in its development, such as Viktor Frankl and Phillip Shaver. In lecture three, Professor Holmes outlines how attachment has been measured, including Mary Ainsworth’s ‘Strange Situation’ and Mary Main’s ‘Adult Attachment Interview’. Lecture four focuses on the role of caregiver sensitivity in attachment, reviewing the Grossman model of parental attachment roles. The fifth lecture brings in language, considering the role it plays in attachment through the lens of Grice’s principles of effective communication. The sixth and final lecture explores attachment theory across different cultures, addressing the field’s historical focus on WEIRD participants, and Margaret Mead’s challenge to John Bowlby’s founding theories.


Jeremy Holmes is a visiting professor of psychology at the University of Exeter. He is a consultant psychiatrist and a psychoanalytic psychotherapist who specialises in attachment theory. He has authored a number of books on attachment theory, which explore its history, as well as bringing it together with modern psychoanalytical theory.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Holmes, J. (2021, October 13). Attachment – History, Models and Culture - Language and Attachment [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Holmes, Jeremy. "Attachment – History, Models and Culture – Language and Attachment." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 13 Oct 2021,

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