Abusive Methods

Attachment Therapy almost always involves extremely confrontational, often hostile confrontation of a child by a therapist or parent (sometimes both). Restraint of the child by more powerful adult(s) is considered an essential part of the confrontation.

In addition to a loss of freedom of movement and autonomy, a child typically endures during therapy sessions:

  • Forced eye contact at close range


  • Shaking, bouncing or jerking the head

  • Screaming at him or her at close range

  • Knuckling the ribs

  • Relentless tickling

  • Being poked

  • Forced kicking for extended periods

  • Having an adult lie on him or her

  • Licking the face

  • Swearing at him or her (again at close range)

  • Having a hand held over the mouth

  • Looking under his or her clothes

  • Sitting on an arm or arms

  • Sitting on both legs

  • Pinching

  • Having hair pulled out

  • Being forced to repeat hateful things

  • Being told what s/he feels

  • Repeated accusations of lying

  • Hearing predictions that he or she is going to kill

  • Being deliberately scared and frightened

  • Told of events in infancy (or earlier) to evoke anger or resentment

  • Receiving believable threats of abandonment

  • Being blamed for all of a family’s problems

  • Elbows pressed hard into the abdomen

  • Disregarding all pleas for relief or to stop

  • Not being allowed to visit a bathroom

  • Belittlement and ridicule

  • Separating him or her from the parents

  • Demonization of the birth parents

  • Wrapping in a sheet to immobilize

  • Being directed to defecate or urinate in his or her clothes

A child does not receive:
  • genuine encouragement

  • empathy or understanding

  • recognition of personal dignity and autonomy

  • non-violent patterns after which to model his or her own behavior

  • reassurances of safety and reunion with parents

  • empowerment