Q: I have identified some behavioral issues with my child and have sought help at a local agency. The agency suggested that he receive attachment therapy. What is this?
A: The term attachment therapy can take on a range of meaning. Be aware of what is meant in your case before agreeing to this therapy. Recommending attachment therapy suggests that your child is and never was, appropriately attached. The diagnostic criteria for unhealthy attachment includes children who:
First of all, is this describing your child? All children have some of these behaviours at different stages of their childhood. If you think your child is delightful at times, keep in mind that attachment therapists refer to children as ‘artificially charming and engaging’ negating the possibility of any good relationships.
If your child is deemed to have attachment issues, true attachment therapy employs some very irregular techniques for dealing with it. They are based on 4 core beliefs:
Attachment therapists regularly use restraint and both physical and psychological methods to reach desired results. Painful and uncomfortable holding techniques are used to render the child powerless until they accept authority.
Unless your child cannot be managed in a home setting attachment therapy is rarely or never needed. My approach is to help the parent find techniques that are gentle yet effective. Each plan is to maximize your parenting success and to have happy and secure children.