21 Facts About Attachment therapy


Attachment therapy is a pseudoscientific child mental health intervention intended to treat attachment disorders.

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Attachment therapy is primarily based on Robert Zaslow's rage-reduction therapy from the 1960s and 1970s and on psychoanalytic theories about suppressed rage, catharsis, regression, breaking down of resistance and defence mechanisms.

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Attachment therapy is a treatment used primarily with fostered or adopted children who have behavioral difficulties, including disobedience and perceived lack of gratitude or affection for their caregivers.

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The common form of attachment therapy is holding therapy, in which a child is firmly held by therapists or parents.

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Control over the children is usually considered essential, and the Attachment therapy is often accompanied by parenting techniques which emphasize obedience.

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Attachment therapy parenting expert Nancy Thomas states that attachment-disordered children act worse when given information about what is going to occur because they will use the information to manipulate their environment and everyone in it.

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Attachment therapy therapists believe that reenactments of aspects of infant care have the power to rebuild damaged aspects of early development such as emotional attachment.

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In contrast to traditional attachment theory, the theory of attachment described by attachment therapy proponents is that young children who experience adversity become enraged at a very deep and primitive level.

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Some attachment therapy sites predict that attachment-disordered children will grow up to become violent predators or psychopaths unless they receive the treatment proposed.

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Where the Attachment therapy fails to achieve this the fault is attributed to the child's conscious choice to not be a family member, or the child's inability to perform as family material.

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Attachment therapy behaviors used for the diagnosis of RAD change markedly with development and defining analogous behaviors in older children is difficult.

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Attachment therapy prospered during the 1980s and 1990s as a consequence of both the influx of older adopted orphans from Eastern European and third world countries and the inclusion of reactive attachment disorder in the 1980 Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders which attachment therapists adopted as an alternative name for their existing unvalidated diagnosis of attachment disorder.

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Attachment therapy cites the large number of formerly institutionalized domestic and foreign adoptees in the US and the apparently higher risk of disruption of foreign adoptions, of which there were 216,000 between 1998 and 2008.

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In 2012, first-hand accounts from a survivor and a number of professionals provided evidence that the coercive Evergreen model of holding Attachment therapy had been systematically used to treat children in Local Authority care within a programme in North West England.

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Matthew Speltz of the University of Washington School of Medicine states that the roots of attachment therapy are traceable to psychologist Robert Zaslow and his "Z-process" in the 1970s.

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Attachment therapy believed this would lead to a breakdown in their defense mechanisms, making them more receptive to others.

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Practitioners of holding therapy added some components of Bowlby's attachment theory and the therapy came to be known as attachment therapy.

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Hughes' website gave a list of attachment therapy techniques, repeated by the APSAC Task Force from an earlier website, which he stated do not or should not form part of dyadic developmental psychotherapy, which the Task Force took as a description of attachment therapy techniques.

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Two studies on dyadic developmental psychoAttachment therapy have been published by Becker-Weidman, the second being a four-year follow up of the first.

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Prior and Glaser state Hughes' therapy reads as good therapy for abused and neglected children, though with "little application of attachment theory", but the advocacy group ACT and the Task Force place Hughes within the attachment therapy paradigm.

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In March 2007, attachment therapy was placed on a list of treatments that have the potential to cause harm to clients in the APS journal, Perspectives on Psychological Science.

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