AT News
Archived Issue
Originally emailed 26 August 2005

NASW Resolves to Oppose Restraint as Therapy

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) this month came out against the use of physical restraint in the treatment of children. Physical restraint is a key element of Attachment Therapy (AT), a bizarre and dangerous pseudo-psychotherapy used mainly on adopted and foster children. A large proportion of AT practitioners are social workers.

At NASW’s triennial meeting in Washington, DC, on August 7th, delegates unanimously declared the organization as “opposed to the physical restraint of children for purposes other than safety.” Delegates also noted that physical restraint of children for any other reason is a violation of their Code of Ethics.

The resolution was submitted by Utah’s delegation. Utah authorities have long struggled with social workers using and teaching Attachment Therapy and AT parenting techniques. Two children in Utah are known to have died in AT-related tragedies involving restraint:
Krystal Tibbets and Cassandra Killpack.

At least two cases of child death from AT-related restraint have been at the hands of social workers:
Candace Newmaker and Logan Marr.

“Our chapter has long been warning of the dangers and abuses of physical restraint,” says Alan Misbach, President-Elect of the Utah NASW.

Said Misbach, “Too many professionals, including social workers, have been seduced by the ‘quick fix’ that restraint-as-therapy promises. We welcome the help of our national organization in alerting the public, regulators, and our fellow professionals that any use of restraint by a social worker other than for immediate safety is unethical.”

The NASW joins a growing
list of professional organizations opposing the use of restraint except in safety emergencies.

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