Monday, February 25, 2008

What is an Attachment Therapist?

I am hoping to become an attachment therapist. I am beginning a masters program in counseling in May. But how is an attachment therapist different from any other therapist? The difference is huge. We went to many many other therapists with no change or success. Traditional methods do not work with RAD. I know that I, the mom, was often blamed for their issues. I was given "ideas" such as sticker charts, awards, positive reinforcement (not a bad thing) and more time away from them as possibilities. I even had some who thought the kids were fine and that I was making a mountain out of a molehill. This is because children with RAD are so good at turning on the charming behavior around anyone who is not mom. We finally called an attachment therapist who over the phone described my children to a T. SOMEONE WHO UNDERSTOOD. That was huge for us. Here are the differences between a regular therapist and an attachment therapist as listed according to Nancy Thomas at

"Attachment therapy uses the mother as the change agent to heal the broken bond between mother and child. Traditional therapy leaves the mother in the waiting room, not a part of the healing of the child. Attachment therapy focuses on building trust in the child toward the mother, traditional therapies deal with building trust in the child toward the therapist......

Therapists trained in attachment work confront issues with the child in a timely manner. Realizing the painful issues of the child’s abuse/abandonment/neglect/pain are carried inside the child every minute and every day of their life. Surgeons don’t wait until a tumor’s big enough to take it out. Attachment therapists don’t wait until the child’s childhood is over, family destroyed, months and years of learning opportunities wasted before dealing with vital issues. "

Here is a chart of the differences as listed according to


  • "Fix the Foundation"

  • Family is the primary healing resource.

  • If we trust the family with the child, then
    we should trust the family with the child's history.

  • Parents set behavioral goals.

  • Corrective Attachment Parenting.

  • "Giving Child the Words".

  • Not talking about the child's issues says,
    "What happened to you is so bad that even we
    grown-ups can't talk about it. It is less traumatizing
    to talk about the child's issues than to let the child live with the issues.
  • Quick to switch to different strategies.

  • "Heal the Pathology"

  • Limited use of auxiliary services. Wraparound
    often takes the child away from the family. Too many
    adults are involved in the child's life who are on a different
    page, working on behavioral goals without working on issues,
    often providing rewards the parents are not in favor of, the
    least skilled people provide the
    most amount of services (i.e., TSS)


  • "Build the House on a Cracked Foundation"

  • Child is seen alone by professional. Information is not always shared with family

  • Child assists in behavior goal setting

  • Token Economies

  • Wait for Child to talk about Issues

  • Continue with same strategies.

  • "Diagnose and medicate"

  • Overuse of Auxilary Services


Rachelle said...

You know so much, and are so darned smart already, I don't think you even need that degree. But go for it! You will be awesome!

Brenda said...


Aww. Thanks. I don't think the state licensing board would agree : )

Renee said...

Brenda - You will be fabulous! I have to wonder if you couldn't turn in this weblog for course credit.

Brenda said...


Thanks. I suppose if we had to do some type of a project they might let me count it.