AT News
Archived Issue
Originally emailed 21 September 2002

Utah Restraint Bill in the News

A legislative committee yesterday considered an anti-restraint bill for a fast-track through the Utah legislature next session.

Under consideration was Rep. Mike Thompson’s bill that failed to come to a vote in the last session after threat of a filabuster. The bill would effectively outlaw the major, abusive practices of Attachment Therapy (AT), such as “holding therapy” and “compression therapy.”

Psychologist Christopher Barden — famous for his part in undoing the “false memory syndrome” movement and as an expert witness for the prosecution in Colorado’s “rebirthing” trial last year — spoke at length to the committee. He helped legislators understand how AT fits into the mold quackery and how vulnerable and desperate parents become AT’s most vocal supporters.
The committee voted
unanimously to fast-track the bill!

Recent press coverage:

  • Jacob Santini, “Legislative panel backs measure that would ban ‘holding therapy,’” Salt Lake Tribune, 20 Sep 2002 link

  • James Thalman, “Lawmakers back plan to ban holding therapy,” Deseret News, 20 Sep 2002 link

Utah Therapists in Hot Water

At the same time detectives were investigating the death of little Cassandra Killpack, Utah regulators were taking a hard look at Utah’s most infamous nest of Attachment Therapists — the Cascade Center for Family Growth in Orem.

This week, numerous charges were made against Cascade’s co-directors, Larry Van Bloem and Jennie Murdock Gwilliam. The citations of ethical and professional violations reveal a depth of sadism in Attachment Therapy hitherto unimagined, even by AT observers. Should these charges stand at the Van Bloem and Gwilliam hearings, it is conceivable that criminal charges may follow.

Van Bloem is a leading national figure in AT, often speaking at AT national conferences. The Cascade Center is a newly certified “agency member” of the national AT organization: ATTACh. ATTACh has notably unspecific professional “standards” for certification. Even so, therapists at Cascade appear, from the state complaint, to have violated most of them, with bad conduct that well precedes their ATTACh certification.

Both of the below news accounts on this matter are quite good, with different details in each:

  • Geoffrey Fattah, “Orem clinic is accused of endangering children,” Deseret News, 19 Sep 2002 link

  • Ashley Broughton, “Use of controversial therapy brings more trouble for embattled center,” Salt Lake Tribune, 20 Sep 2002 link

Caution: links may have aged since this AT News was first emailed.