AT News
Archived Issue
Originally emailed 31 August 2005

Mercer Publishes on Medscape

Brutal Practices Get Wide Exposure

We’re happy to report that Jean Mercer’s recently published article on “coercive restraint therapies” (a/k/a Attachment Therapy, Holding Therapy, Compression Therapy, Corrective Attachment Therapy, Dyadic Synchronous Bonding, Cuddle Time, and more) is getting a lot of attention. Mercer, a professor of psychology at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, examines these brutal practices and their associated abusive parenting methods — and how these contrast with standard care. Her work is helping mental health professionals and authorities identify Attachment Therapy-related abuse.

You can read
Mercer’s paper online for free on Medscape (after registering):

“Coercive Restraint Therapies: A Dangerous Alternative Mental Health Intervention” by Jean Mercer, PhD, Medscape General Medicine. 2005;7(3) ©2005 Medscape, posted 08/09/2005.


Physicians caring for adopted or foster children should be aware of the use of coercive restraint therapy (CRT) practices by parents and mental health practitioners. CRT is defined as a mental health intervention involving physical restraint and is used in adoptive or foster families with the intention of increasing emotional attachment to parents. Coercive restraint therapy parenting (CRTP) is a set of child care practices adjuvant to CRT. CRT and CRTP have been associated with child deaths and poor growth. Examination of the CRT literature shows a conflict with accepted practice, an unusual theoretic basis, and an absence of empirical support. Nevertheless, CRT appears to be increasing in popularity. This article discusses possible reasons for the increase, and offers suggestions for professional responses to the CRT problem.

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