Originally emailed 16 June 2004
“Focus on Family” Drops AT Book
Focus on the Family’s (FOF) website and radio shows reach millions of people every week. So it became a concern to Advocates for Children in Therapy (ACT) that FOF was selling a book by Attachment Therapists Gregory Keck, Ph.D., and Regina Kupecky, LSW, along with a glowing recommendation.
FOF was generous enough to review our concerns. The book, Parenting the Hurt Child, was removed from their online store. Spokesman for FOF, Shelly Smith, wrote ACT: “…we indeed do NOT endorse any particular form of treatment for Reactive Attachment Disorder, and it’s not our aim to make comments which might be construed as such.”
Letters of thanks can be sent to:
Ms. Shelly Smith
Focus on the Family
Office of the President
Colorado Springs, CO 80995
Keck and Kupecky run the Attachment and Bonding Center of Ohio, a registered member organization of ATTACh, the national organization for Attachment Therapists. Keck is also a past president of ATTACh. A chapter from their book Adopting the Hurt Child, entitled “Holding Therapy,” is on their website; it refers to abusive AT methods, with typical double-talk claiming “holding therapy” is not restraint: Excerpts:
“We have found that therapeutic holdings — not restraint — mobilize development.”
“Holding provides physical containment…”
“Holding the child or adolescent is accomplished by having him lie across the laps of two therapists and/or his parents. His right arm is behind the back of the lead therapist, who is sitting closest to the child’s head. His left arm is free, or may be restrained if he uses it to try to hit the therapist or to engage in self-stimulation such as scratching or fidgeting.”
“Eye contact is critical, and is enforced nearly all the time. The child is responsible for maintaining eye contact with the person with whom he is talking. When he doesn’t, the therapist uses either verbal or physical cues — such as turning the child’s head — to help him establish the connection he needs.”
“Some people refer to holding therapy as rage reduction therapy. We think that the term ‘rage reduction’ is a limited description of what holding encompasses. Of course reducing the child’s rage is a desirable and necessary outcome.”
“Not all children who have attachment issues operate out of a rage state, but for those who do, the releasing process helps to clear away the rubble so they can begin to experience other feelings. Emotions that they often attempt to ignore — sadness, hurt, and fear — can surface within a safe context, with safe people.”
“Holding produces emotional responses that are unlikely to occur in any other kind of therapeutic intervention.”
“Bay Area Skeptics” Article on Attachment Therapy
Pat Crossman, a social worker in Berkeley, California, has been following Attachment Therapy closely for several years. Her vast knowledge of the “reparenting” and TA movements have contributed much to the understanding of AT and its roots.
In “The Etiology of a Social Epidemic,” an article that appears in the current issue of BASIS, Crossman adds to the small but growing body of AT criticism. You can read this article on the Bay Area Skeptics’ website.
What’s the Latest Excuse for Abusing Kids with “Holding Therapy”?
Anorexia! Advice from the Bahá’ís:
There has been some success with Anorexic girls through Holding Therapy which appears to be re-parenting. There is an early and fundamental step in emotional growth mis-fired in many of those who suffer from Anorexia … [by] a woman who pioneered a very successful treatment program. Basically girls lived with her in groups and she appeared to re-parent them from babyhood … feeding them by hand, and so on. They were not allowed to “care” for themselves for a period of time. The success was long-term.
Caution: links may have aged since this AT News was first emailed.