Jennifer McIntosh PhD is a clinical child psychologist, family therapist and research consultant. However the reason she has risen to prominence is for directing several research projects for the Australian Attorney General's Department, including three notable studies that went against the evidence in favour of Shared Parenting legislation.
Yet in June 2011 Dr McIntosh was made the 'guest editor' for a Special Issue of the Family Court Review on the theory of attachment which drew the spotlight on her own abilities to advise the Australian government about these reforms.
In particular, concern was expressed about her reliance on the work of Dr John Bowlby. Although his book 'Maternal Care and Mental Health'(1951), which was abridged into 'Child Care and the Growth of Love'(1953) went on to be a best seller and was translated into over a dozen languages, his view of child development is now considered by mainstream experts as a 'sociological artefact'.
In a damning review of the opinions expressed by Dr McIntosh, Michael Lamb calls the Special Issue a, 'Wasted opportunity to engage with the literature on the implications of attachment research for family court professionals'. He says,
'The Family Court Review Special Issue edited by McIntosh provided a misleadingly narrow view of attachment theory and of previous attempts to explore the implications of that theory and related research for family court professionals. For example, the editor chose to interview professionals whose opinions seemed likely to accord with hers, and when they dissented, she failed to explore the implications. She thus represented Bowlby's notion of monotropy as though it was an established and accepted fact; neither the research (which shows the idea to be incorrect) nor Bowlby's own later disavowal of the idea were addressed, although the implications are profound. More generally, the extensive relevant scholarship was ignored and unrepresented, leaving the unchallenged focus on the editor's own research and on opinions that accord with her own. As a result, the Special Issue became a platform for opinion, rather than a forum for critical examination of the literature'.
The implication is that if Dr McIntosh truly believes in this obsolete interpretation of the attachment theory, How can she be qualified to advise the Attorney General or parents and their children?
Michael E. Lamb, professor and head of the Department of Social and Developmental Psychology at the University of Cambridge, specializes in the study of social and emotional development, and the determinants and consequences of adaptive and maladaptive parental behaviour. He was also the head of the section on social and emotional development of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in Washington DC for seventeen years. He is the author of numerous books and academic articles, including 'The Role of the Father in Child Development', which is now in its fifth edition (Wiley, 2010).
Ref; McIntosh, J. E. (2011), Guest editor’s introduction to special issue on attachment theory, separation, and divorce: forging coherent understandings for family law. Family Court Review, 49: 418–425
Ref; Lamb, M. E. (2012), A wasted opportunity to engage with the literature on the implications of attachment research for family court professionals. Family Court Review, 50: 481–485
"Very many thanks for sending me a copy of your interesting and informative guide on 'even Toddlers Need Fathers'. I much appreciate your drawing my attention to it"
Professor Sir Michael Rutter, 13 March 2002
"It was thoughtful of you to enclose a copy of your book 'even Toddlers Need Fathers' and Her Majesty has noted your concerns"
Buckingham Palace, 26 July 2006
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Lord Justice Thorpe, Vice President of the UK Family Division, 30 July 2004
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The former Home Secretary, and dad, David Blunkett, 22 March 2005