Nancy Thomas

Nancy Thomas

Nancy L. Thomas is a leading proponent of Attachment Therapy and its parenting methods (a/k/a “Nancy Thomas Parenting”).

Thomas has no formal training in psychotherapy and no academic credentials. She calls herself variously a “Therapeutic Parenting Specialist,” a “secondary lay-therapist,” and “co-therapist” in Intensive Holding Therapy sessions. A former dog groomer, Thomas learned many of her methods working as a “therapeutic foster parent” under
Foster Cline at the Attachment Center at Evergreen (now Institute for Attachment and Child Development).

Thomas claims to have been trained and worked as a “co-therapist” with other Attachment Therapists as well, including Lloyd Boggs,
Neil Feinberg, William Goble, Deborah Hage, Daniel Hughes, and Michael Orlans. This is a clip of Neil Feinberg conducting an Attachment Therapy session; the person restraining the boy’s left arm is acting in the role of “co-therapist”:

Thomas was a part of Connell Watkins & Associates at the time Watkins killed
Candace Newmaker. Thomas also had strong ties to the infamous Cascade Center for Family Growth (in Utah), which is now closed.

Thomas’s parenting methods are based on isolation, deprivation, humiliation, and being non-communicative with the child. She claims her methods are effective not only for treating children with “Reactive Attachment Disorder” (actually Attachment Therapy’s unrecognized diagnosis
Attachment Disorder), but also for Asperger’s, Tourette’s Syndrome, and those who have been “ritualistically abused” by satanic cults. One of her online workshops carried this warning from the host (Foster Care & Adoptive Community): “PLEASE NOTE: Some of the strategies outlined in this workshop may be considered in-humane and unethical by many child protective agencies and can result in an investigation and loss of foster care license.”

Today, Thomas lectures widely and runs “therapy camps.” She claims to have “reached out to over 50,000 families around the world.” Thomas sells her books and tapes through her organizations — Families by Design and the non-profit (Stop America’s Violent Youth). Thomas materials also are sold by
Foster Cline’s Love and Logic. She also has been lecturing in Russia where as recently as 2017, she claims children are still being placed with her for her specialize parenting.

In 1989, Thomas and her young adopted daughter Beth participated in an HBO program called “
Child of Rage,” a documentary which characterized “Attachment Disordered” children as highly dangerous. The late Ken Magid was Beth’s Attachment Therapist. In 1992, “Child of Rage” was aired as an HBO drama by the same name. A clip from the documentary with Nancy Thomas speaking about “Attachment Disorder”:

As an adult, Beth Thomas has joined Nancy Thomas in promoting Attachment (Holding) Therapy, its parenting methods, and the unrecognized “Attachment Disorder” diagnosis, sounding very much like her adoptive mother. Beth Thomas sells her own DVD and lectures around the country. Beth Thomas is one of only two survivors of Attachment Therapy known to speak well of the practice as an adult; both market pro-Attachment Therapy materials and services.

In 2006, the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (APSAC) released its
task force report in the journal Child Maltreatment condemning Attachment Therapy, its parenting methods, and the “Attachment Disorder” diagnosis. The American Psychological Association’s Division 37 (Child Maltreatment) adopted the findings and recommendations of the APSAC report. This report refers to Nancy Thomas several times, for example:

At least one attachment therapy web site has argued that Saddam Hussein, Adolph Hitler, and Jeffrey Dahmer, among others, were examples of attachment disordered children who “did not get help in time,” (Thomas, n.d., b). These prognostications appear to fuel a sense of urgency about these children and have been invoked by some attachment therapists to justify application of aggressive and unconventional treatment techniques (Hage, n.d. (b)). However, it is critical to note that there is no empirical scientific support for the idea that children with attachment problems grow up to become psychopaths or otherwise prey on society.

...If the child is well-behaved outside the home, it is conceptualized as successful manipulation of outsiders, rather than as evidence of a problem in the current home or current parent-child relationship (Thomas, n.d.). Proponents of this viewpoint may describe the presenting problem as a healthy family with a sick child. This perspective may appeal to some. As Barth, et al. (in press) have noted, “attachment therapies may be attractive because by locating the blame for the child’s current difficulties with prior carers, they appear to relieve adoptive and foster parents of the responsibility to change aspects of their own behavior and aspirations.”

In Her Own Words

— Life-Threatening —

  • I have had instances where a kid is so out of control that they refuse to stay. When that happens, I will sit on the child. I have had to do this with dogs as well, and they are generally more dangerous with their teeth and claws than children. … I pick a good book and read while I sit on a child and that really seems to upset them because they feel that I should be miserable like they are. Bonding & Attachment Workshop (Chatsworth, CA: Foster Care & Adoptive Community, Online Training Program, nd, 2 parts) [Material currently available for CEUs] onlinetext

  • [From a form Nancy Thomas wrote for parents to give respite workers]: My child should be responsible and ask for medication at the appropriate time, if not, please: Do not remind (just note it) [or] Do remind and assign an extra choreWhen Love is Not Enough (1997), pp. 109-110

  • Car Manners. …distraction needs to be dealt with. … A mature enough child in good weather might need to walk home. It is safest to follow at a distance in the car. Or the child could do push-ups on the side of the road until the specified amount is done correctly. When Love is Not Enough: A Guide to Parenting Children with RAD — Reactive Attachment Disorder
    (Glenwood Springs, CO: Families by Design, 1997), p. 41

Most Telling —

  • …[W]e disturb the disturbed.… Bonding & Attachment Workshop

  • In the beginning, rewards and bonuses should be food, clothing or necessities. When Love is Not Enough: A Guide to Parenting Children with RAD — Reactive Attachment Disorder (Glenwood Springs, CO: Families by Design, 2nd ed., 2005), p. 121

  • In the beginning, your child should learn to ask for everything. They must ask to go to the bathroom, to get a drink of water, EVERYTHING. When it starts to feel like they must ask to breathe, you are on the right track. When Love is Not Enough (1997), p. 52

  • …[I]t is the child’s job to make the parents happy with the child. When Love is Not Enough (1997), p. 52

  • [Respite “mom” Lori Wilson said] “You’ll open your God damned presents when I say you’ll open your God damned presents and not a minute before! Got it?” … I was awestruck with the level of power and presence this person had. I saw no fear. … [it was] a clear message of loving leadership. Dandelion on My Pillow, Butcher Knife Beneath: The True Story of an Amazing Family That Lived With and Loved Kids Who Killed [with Terena and Beth Thomas] (Glenwood Springs, CO: Families by Design, 2002), p. 42

  • If you don’t know if a parent’s a really awesome parent or not, we have a little test. You look at the child. If the child has their head and their arms and legs still attached, that’s it! It’s an awesome mom, an awesome dad. And you know, it’s just proof right there. Because if they weren’t an awesome mom and dad, they would have ripped the child’s head off by now, or at least an arm, you know. So if the child is still intact bodily, great folks, great folks. Healing Trust: Rebuilding the Broken Bond for the Child with Reactive Attachment Disorder (Glenwood Springs, CO: Families by Design, nd, 2 videocassettes)

On Attachment (Holding) Therapy —

  • A lot of people don’t want to be touched by strangers. It’s very invasive. We use that knowledge in therapy. Bonding & Attachment Workshop

  • In rage reduction therapy, the person doing the holding is the person in control and he is the aggressor. He holds the child and provokes the child into a rage on purpose. Bonding & Attachment Workshop

  • The rage that comes out continually with the child's behavior must be released in a therapeutic environment in order for everyone to be safe. This rage release often takes three to five hours. Feelings cannot be rushed or compressed into the typical 50-minute hour. — “The Difference Between Attachment Therapies and Traditional Therapies,” (21 Apr 2003, accessed 11 Jun 2007) onlinetext

  • Confrontive therapy is a real good alternative to the electric chair. There is nothing else that works on these children because these children need hours of draining the pain away so that they can heal. Bonding & Attachment Workshop

  • CJ [Connell Watkins] lovingly pulled her over into her arms smiled and said, “Well sweetheart if you have special powers then just use those special powers to get up. … ”Beth’s little body began to writhe. She bit, she pinched, she clawed, she kicked, she hissed, she growled, she spit, she cursed and then she fought some more.… Dandelion on My Pillow, Butcher Knife Beneath (2002), p. 142

  • I hope each therapist is a member of ATTACh, the Association of Treatment and Training in the Attachment of Children. — “Attachment Therapy” (Glenwood Springs, CO: author, c2000, accessed 3 Sep 2005)
    [originally published at]onlinetext

Parents as “Co-Therapists” —

  • Martha Welch says to hold the child tightly to you and scream into his face and unload on the child. Bonding & Attachment Workshop

  • The mother holdings were astounding as mom’s held babies and let them rage in her loving and safe embrace… Dandelion on My Pillow, Butcher Knife Beneath (2002), p. 222

  • We have the moms share their feelings in therapy. So the therapist is using the mom’s venting in a therapeutic setting… Give Me a Break: Providing Respite for Families of Attachment Disordered Children
    (Glenwood Springs, CO: Families by Design, nd, 2 videocassettes)

  • To begin, the child sits on the parent’s lap with one arm wrapped around the parent’s back… When Love is Not Enough (1997), pp. 88-89

  • That winter, ACE [Attachment Center at Evergreen, now Institute for Attachment and Child Development] held a conference on a different type of holding therapy … held by Martha Welch, M.D., on couple holdings and mother holdings … The hotel conference room had a padded platform where mother’s held children in their laps and husbands held their wives. Simultaneously, four to eight holdings were occurring at one time and the emotional energy within the room was charged. I watched as the waiters and hotel personnel nearly dropped the trays of food and beverages as their eyes bugged out of their head in confusion and fear as the people on the platform screamed and yelled as they released their feelings. Dandelion on My Pillow, Butcher Knife Beneath (2002), pp. 221-222

Claims for Attachment Therapy —

  • Attachment therapy and holding therapy are the only therapies that have proven to be effective with Attachment Disordered children. When Love is Not Enough (1997), p. 21

  • Traditional therapy … it’s a total waste of time. Bonding & Attachment Workshop

  • Holding therapy has been documented by research to be highly effective. — “Goals of an Attachment Therapist” (Glenwood Springs, CO: author, c2000-2002, accessed 3 Sep 2005)
    [originally published at] onlinetext

  • Rage reduction therapy … works where no other method has proven effective with unattached children. Bonding & Attachment Workshop

What is Success? —

  • My definition of success is a child who is respectful, responsible, and fun to be around… When Love is Not Enough (1997), p. 2

  • [The child] … had taken on my Colorado accent. Her hand gestures were the same as mine … We were bonding well. Dandelion on My Pillow, Butcher Knife Beneath (2002), pp. 145

Strong Sitting —

  • The basic tool used to teach self-control is Power Sitting. — “Parenting children with attachment disorders,” in Terry M. Levy, ed., Handbook of Attachment Interventions (San Diego, CA: Academic Press, 2000), p. 72

  • Time starts when he is in position not when he announces that you may begin timing… When Love is Not Enough (1997), p. 50

  • If [a child] says, “I don’t know what it was you wanted me to do” I say, “Then you need to sit and think about it. It’s no problem. Take your time. I’m not in a hurry. You can take as long as you need to until you remember what it was that I said.” Bonding & Attachment Workshop

  • I don’t take anything from these kids. When they come in my house, I say, “Sit.” They go sit on a chair and I say, “Excuse me! I have heard that you do not appreciate your home — that includes the furniture. So, you sit on the floor in my house.” … they sit exactly where I place them, legs folded, eyes front, facing the wall (I am not an entertainment center). … I had a little girl the other day who took 10 and 1/2 hours. I said, “No rush!” It was the easiest day! I love it when they take really long. … That peanut butter and jelly starts looking real good after ten hours. Bonding & Attachment Workshop

  • Do not allow privileges until the sitting is correctly completed. … Three times each day for the first 6 months… — “Parenting children” (2000), p. 73

  • If they need to sit the entire week, it doesn’t matter, it’s just fine. It doesn’t hassle me. I kind of like having that sort of little decoration. Some people buy statues! If they sit the whole day, it gives me the day off. Bonding & Attachment Workshop

  • They can go to the bathroom as soon as they are finished with the 15 minutes of good sitting. I tell them to pee their pants … I love it when they have to go to the bathroom while they won’t sit.… Bonding & Attachment Workshop

Basic German Shepherd —

  • The basic skills — come, go, sit, stay — should be mastered, according to Dr. Foster Cline, by 18 months of age. They MUST be mastered before a child can possibly handle more involved tasks, such as chores and school. When Love is Not Enough (1997), p. 51

  • The dividing line between whether a child will stay in a family or going to have to go into residential care is if they will go to their room [when ordered]. Give Me a Break

Thomas Oxygenation Theories —

  • Strong Sitting. … The chest/lung area must be open (not caved in) to allow oxygen in for the brain to function effectively. When this position is maintained with no muscle movement it allows the brain to shift and function freely. — “Strong sitting — An inside look at this powerful tool” (Glenwood Springs, CO: author, c2000-2002, accessed 3 Sep 2005) [originally published at] onlinetext

  • Then if we get a “huh” or “I don’t know” or “I don’t care” — those three mean: “Please help me get some oxygen moving through my brain.…” Give Me a Break

Sugar —

  • Sugar is a part of bonding that can’t be eliminated. Bonding & Attachment Workshop

  • Human milk is the sweetest of all milks … Infant formulas made with no sugar are not beneficial to bonding. When Love is Not Enough (1997), p. 46

  • It takes about two months to completely overload a kid on sugar. I just did an experiment with a child who was deprived of sugar. He was stealing everything that wasn’t nailed down. I fed him ice cream three times a day. His morning bowl of cereal had an inch of sugar on it. Bonding & Attachment Workshop

  • Connell [Watkins] said to give him all the sugar I could get down him … I just poured the sugar down this kid for two months. Bonding & Attachment Workshop

  • I held and rocked Jose … I fed him ice cream even though it was right after breakfast. He needed sweetening up. Dandelion on My Pillow, Butcher Knife Beneath (2002), p. 136

No Sugar —

  • [From a form Nancy Thomas provides parents to give respite workers]: Do NO bonding activities with this child (loving eye contact, touch, smiles, sugar) … Sweets are a vital part of bonding and should only come from real parents, not earned, just given. This child is aware of this. Feel free to feed the rest of your family goodies so my child can see how other moms love their families. It will not harm my child. Do not deprive your family of their special things in front of my child. It makes RAD kids feel powerful and perpetuates the belief that adults are stupid suckers, easily manipulated. This keeps them from feeling safe which slows or halts the healing! When Love is Not Enough (1997), pp. 109-110

Control over Food —

  • And during therapeutic motivational respite, three meals a day the child is fed what we call “soup kitchen meals,” because … where do you think that child’s going to be? Yeah, probably prison. … “we thought we’d let you get used to it.…” Give Me a Break

  • So soup kitchen meals. And they start saying, “Um, boy, I don’t miss my mom, but I miss her food.” … That’s why we do it. It’s not to make them suffer. It’s not to torture them. Give Me a Break

  • I’ll say [to the child who eats little], “I just love having you. It saves me so much grocery money.” And when my husband serves the food, I make sure that they only get one little teaspoon of a bite. “There’s no sense in serving you a whole serving. We just have to give it to the dog…” Bonding & Attachment Workshop

  • In our county they have to have meals provided. They don’t have to eat them. They may have three peanut butter and jellys waiting for them. “They are there. As soon as you are ready, it’s okay…” Bonding & Attachment Workshop

  • They do not eat with the family. They do not eat my food. They eat peanut butter and jelly. … and they get them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. But if I’m out of bread, they get oatmeal. You want to be sure they get a balanced diet, and peanut butter and jelly on whole wheat bread with a huge glass of fresh milk is very balanced. Bonding & Attachment Workshop

  • I don’t worry about a child eating vegetables. Bonding & Attachment Workshop

  • If you teach them to cook, they need you even less. Bonding & Attachment Workshop

Support Mom —

The parents need to be supported and encouraged. They are never blamed or questioned. Give Me a Break
The greatest thing [fathers] can do for the wounded child is to love the mother.…
— Focus on the Family syndicated radio program [with Bill Meyer & Janelle Mosley] (24 Nov 2003)
The title of “Mom” is a title of honor just about Queen. … No longer allow your subjects to treat you as mere mortals. You deserve to be treated with honor and respect because you hug the unhuggable, love the unlovable…
When Love is Not Enough (1997), pp. 34-35
Support Ideas

  • …Take Mom or Dad to lunch or dinner.
  • …Send flowers, chocolate or cards with move and a smile on it.
  • …Brings some dinner or baked goods
  • …Give [mom] a gift certificate for a massage, hair salon, restaurant
  • …Give her a stuffed animal filled with love for her inner child.
  • …Scratch her back, pat her shoulder
  • …Run errands to help lift the load.
  • …Remind her of her special traits and talents
  • …Absolutely, never show up without calling… — Notes and slides from Rebuilding the Broken Bond for the Child with Reactive Attachment Disorder (Glenwood Springs, CO: Families by Design, nd, accessed 3 Sep 2005) onlinetext

The “Awesome Mom” —

  • Just as we are to hold God in awe, I expect the children to hold me in awe. They call me an awesome woman. Bonding & Attachment Workshop

  • …[I]t is essential that the children hold a powerful parent in awe in order to bond. When Love is Not Enough (1997), p. 34

  • You’re an awesome person to live with this puke. Bonding & Attachment Workshop

  • It is much more powerful to have your munchkin physically looking up at you rather than you being in a lower position. … Children with attachment problems are not comforted by an adult “coming down to their level”. When Love is Not Enough (1997), p. 36

  • The child should learn to be respectful by walking beside or behind parents. … honoring parents as their leader… — “Parenting children” (2000), p. 86

Chores, Exercising & Alarms —

  • When I give them a job to do they are to do it fast and snappy and right the first time. If it’s not done right the first time, it doesn’t count. Then they don’t want to mess up — because it makes me happy instead of making me turn purple and scream. Bonding & Attachment Workshop

  • These kids can give with physical labor before they can give with love. Bonding & Attachment Workshop

  • The alarm on the bedroom door establishes a very clear physical limit for the child. When the alarm is working, day or night, the child can be controlled by being placed in the bedroom … There needs to be a very substantial consequence for opening the door after being told not to. In my house, for children over 5, it is 100 to 500 (depending on their age) pushups interspersed throughout the day for a number of days and no privileges until they are complete. When Love is Not Enough (1997), p. 53

  • A morning routine that helps with younger children (under 11) is for Mom to get dressed and use the bathroom, then turn the alarm off the child’s door and open it. At that point the child should be up and dressed with their bed made and room picked up. They do not come out of their room in the morning until those three things are done. — “Parenting children” (2000), p. 93

  • A few weeks later, as Terena, Will and Beth prepared for school, I turned the alarms off and let everyone else out for the day. Dandelion on My Pillow, Butcher Knife Beneath (2002), p. 163

Isolation & School —

  • Your child must realize that going to school is a privilege. When Love is Not Enough (1997), p. 66

  • Most of the time when my kids first come, they don’t go to school. They’re not allowed to. Bonding & Attachment Workshop

  • The homework is their problem. Bonding & Attachment Workshop

  • We do not let them play with the other children until they are connected to the mother. Give Me a Break

  • Another quick elimination of pity parties is to put sunglasses on your basset hound. Micky Mouse ones are best! When Love is Not Enough (1997), p. 31

  • There are lots of things you can do without an education. That corral out there is full of manure … And we have manure therapy. Bonding & Attachment Workshop

  • The schools actually call me and say, “We’ve got a child we’re getting ready to suspend. Can we give the parents your number?” “Yeah, please. We need the barn to be cleaned.…” Give Me a Break

“Attachment Disorder” —

  • When they have no bonding, they basicly [sic] need a cage. They don’t identify with you. They don’t care what you think. They don’t care if you’re happy or not happy, if the rug is done or not done. Bonding & Attachment Workshop

  • They frequently tap into the unconscious feeling of their own infant rage… — “Parenting children” (2000), p. 92

  • Mild AD is one of the most severe forms of emotional disturbance. Give Me a Break

  • Interrupting a mother is one of the rudest things that these children do. Give Me a Break

  • They’re not affectionate on the parents’ terms. Give Me a Break

  • There are over a 1/2 million children in the foster care system of the United States today. I would surmise that most of them have Reactive Attachment Disorder.… — “Support: Where do I find it?” (Glenwood Springs, CO: author, c2000-2002, accessed 3 Sep 2005) [originally published at] onlinetext

  • Mom is the target. … and they will try to make her look like the bad guy. Give Me a Break

  • …[T]hey’re up late nights thinking, “Ahh, plan B — we’ll do that tomorrow.” Give Me a Break

  • So be careful. These kids will try to smooze you over. … And the reason they do it is to con and manipulate you. They want to feel smarter than you are, and more powerful than you are… Give Me a Break

Sexuality —

  • When your daughter begins to act like a B-in-H (bitch in heat) … to push your daughter into penis collecting simply forbid her to have sex. When Love is Not Enough (1997), p. 81

  • We have horses that we have the children ride. It’s the same movement that a baby gets bouncing up and down. It’s also very sexual and for girls who’ve been sexualized we find that we can replace the neighborhood boys with a horse. It’s more socially acceptable and less expensive than pregnancy. Bonding & Attachment Workshop

  • Share with your daughter the thought that girls who apply heavy makeup, lots of black around the eyes and neon lips are advertising that their bodies are available for sexual use (whores). When Love is Not Enough (1997), p. 78

Sensitivity —

  • [Y]ou may share with her … that you are glad she is not as ugly as some other girls that need to start wearing makeup… When Love is Not Enough (1997), p. 78

  • [I]n almost every family picture this one child looks weird… Bonding & Attachment Workshop

  • She had an absolutely lovely, silver-gray, nine inch, round rock. I questioned, “umm what have you got there?” She said “This is my new friend.” I thought “Whoa! Fruitcake!” Dandelion on My Pillow, Butcher Knife Beneath (2002), p. 136

  • [Interviewing boy:] How are you on a scale of emotion disturbance at this point in your life? Are you a little bit disturbed, medium disturbed, severely disturbed? Captive in the Classroom (Glenwood Springs, CO: Save America’s Violent Youth, 1999, videocassette)

  • If you are TELLING the child to do something for themselves or the family, DO NOT USE “PLEASE.” You will say “I want you to clean your room, Got it?” When Love is Not Enough (1997), p. 38

Abandonment —

  • [The boy’s] family had left him with us nearly a year ago … we decided he had earned a visit back home. Dandelion on My Pillow, Butcher Knife Beneath (2002), p. 166

  • And that’s the carrot that we have in respite! “You want to see your mom, you do it my way.” … I don’t tell [mom] the kid’s freaked out. She knows. Give Me a Break

  • Q [by prosecutor]: So how about threats to the child of a specific nature that you are going to take them away from their parent if they don’t do exactly what they’re told?
    A: For some reason, that one seems to help them. — Testimony in People of Colorado vs. Connell Jane Watkins (Golden, CO: Colorado District Court, 16 Apr 2001), (Colorado Court of Appeals, Case No. 01CA1313, Transcript on Appeal, 19:72-111), p. 93

  • What you need to say is, “Sweetheart. … If you really loved your mom and were going to miss her, you wouldn’t be at my house! Your mom would be so filled with your love she wouldn’t want to be away from you to have a rest. … She’d be taking you to the park to have some fun.…” Give Me a Break

  • Some kids are just easier to love some place else.… Give Me a Break

  • Throwing temper tantrums in stores is another really fun one we do. … You walk straight out of the store and get in your car and go. You don’t say a word. … And the respite provider takes him.… Give Me a Break

  • [Instruction for respite workers]: “Please do not share this information with my child, as far as when the parents are coming back to pick up the child.…” [Children with abandonment issues] need to learn to trust that their mother will come back. Give Me a Break

Control —

  • Begin to feel that when the kids are coming home from school you’re ready to get out the boxing gloves because you’re going another round and you’re going to win, again. Bonding & Attachment Workshop

    NO SECOND CHANCE Healing Trust notes & slides

  • “Would you trust Pee Wee Herman with your life or would you rather trust Arnold Schwarzenegger?” … I had to be Arnold… Dandelion on My Pillow, Butcher Knife Beneath (2002), p. 160

Eye Contact —

  • The only time they will make good eye contact is when they want something. … when we’re doing a holding or snuggle time, I will hold them so that I can turn their little head and sometimes I get right into their face. If they won’t give me the eye contact, I’ll have them do 10 pushups… Bonding & Attachment Workshop

  • “If you look into your child’s eyes and you say, “You’re okay, Babe. You got me. You’re lucky.” Bonding & Attachment Workshop

  • It is recommended to discontinue conversation when eye contact is broken. — “Parenting children” (2000), p. 86

Requests —

  • For some children with a case of jabber mouth, I withdraw their talking privilege. All they are allowed to say 7 things: “Yes, Mom” or “Yes, Dad”. Thank you, Good night, May I please have a drink?, May I please go to the bathroom?, May I please be excused from the table? … When Love is Not Enough (1997), p. 50

  • Disturbed children are not allowed to ask for hugs. … it is on the healthy parent’s terms only. When Love is Not Enough (1997), p. 45

  • When given directions it is unacceptable for the child to ask “why?” or “what?” NEVER answer these questions. When Love is Not Enough (1997), p. 37

  • When asking for things such as for water or bathroom use, (YES! They have to ask!!!) the correct request is, “May I please have a drink?” … ”I have to go to the bathroom really bad” is not even close to respectful communication. When Love is Not Enough (1997), p. 38

  • …I was just waiting for some kid to say, “why” to me. It happened in the hallway of a high school … I don’t usually do things in public because I don’t like to embarrass them, but this was just too perfect an opportunity and I had waited so long. And the high school kids all backed up and went, “Whoa!” Her instructions were: you pick them by the front of their shirt, pull them up so they have really good eye contact, you get right in their face — like an inch — and you say, “’Cause I said so, that’s why!” in a whisper. Bonding & Attachment Workshop

More on Parenting —

  • With drugs, kids go into a rehab program the very day you find out. … With the drinking, I’d tell them to go ahead and do it. Bonding & Attachment Workshop

  • When your child runs, call the police, then order pizza. … Let the police find the child. … [then] have the child taken to the prearranged, trained home for a few days/weeks. When Love is Not Enough (1997), p. 84

  • The child is then allowed to play with the Legos until one toe or one toy crosses the set boundary or one sound is spoken. — “Parenting children” (2000), p. 84

  • Attachment-disordered children with trust issues often insist on having a night light and the door left open as a control attempt. This should not be an option for a child over 5. — “Parenting children” (2000), p. 81

  • One night I had a child who had been throwing quite a few fits. I decided I was going to throw an even bigger fit… Bonding & Attachment Workshop


  • Sometimes we have to regress the unattached child back to one year of age to work him through problems. Bonding & Attachment Workshop

  • We … ended the [Holding Therapy] session with me rocking her in my arms, feeding her a bottle of sweet milk… Dandelion on My Pillow, Butcher Knife Beneath (2002), p. 71

  • Especially if I’m snuggling up a teenager. … they will do everything that they can to sabotage it. And I need to be aware that this is their emotional heart medication, and I AM going to give it to them no matter how bad they think it tastes, because their heart has to have my love to heal. Healing Trust

“Satanic Ritual Abuse” —

  • Most of them actually worship the devil and pray to the devil. Bonding & Attachment Workshop

  • The infantile rage they often internalize that first year … makes them fascinated with destruction, fire, blood, gore and evil. They often identify with the devil. When Love is Not Enough (1997), p. 20

  • I had one little boy who was in a ritualistic cult. … He had been a cannibal and had taken part in the rituals. He knew how to worship Satan, full blown.… Bonding & Attachment Workshop

  • Blood, fire and gore … all ritualistic abuse is followed by this preoccupation. A doctor who I worked with … said that they implant in their mind through something like hypnosis for them to come back to the cult at a certain age — usually about 14 or 15 — the time when they impregnate them so that they can use the fetuses for some of the ceremonies. This is planted into the unconscious of the small child so that when she reaches that birthday, she will start to seek them out. … so if you suspect this, check it out. Bonding & Attachment Workshop

Other Junk Science —

  • Bonding begins at conception … an unwanted pregnancy can damage the developing child. Babies do know what the mother is thinking and feeling during pregnancy. When Love is Not Enough (1997), p. 6

  • The pathology [of Attachment Disorder] is very deep. You see a difference in the brain scans… — Focus on the Family (2003)

  • …[T]hat first year of life, a child has a need. They call for help. Somebody needs to come and meet that need. And they learn to trust. That second year of life, the child wants something … Somebody needs to be there to set limits … So these two cycles need to be completed in order for children to have proper attachment. Give Me a Break

  • Unattached kids can’t float. I’ve never found one that could float. It’s really neat the way they sink. Bonding & Attachment Workshop

  • Our human milk … is very, very sweet. It’s like Eagle Brand Condensed milk.… Healing Trust

  • You hug with the flat of your hands against the back of the child and the child’s hands must be flat against the back of the mom. If the hands are in contact with each other, the love is turned back in and around rather than in through them and into their heart. Bonding & Attachment Workshop

  • The mineral water was the same temperature and had similar properties to the fluid around the unborn child in utero. Having the moms hold their child while they floated in this magical mineral water connected them on a deeper level. Dandelion on My Pillow, Butcher Knife Beneath (2002), p. 144

  • Three years later, when he was respectful, responsible and fun to be around most of the time another brain scan was taken; his brain had healed and was functioning normally! Dandelion on My Pillow, Butcher Knife Beneath (2002), p. 180

  • Movement stimulates the part of the brain that helps us to … heal our bodies. Hospital studies have shown patients having hospital beds that rock had less secondary infections and more rapid healing. When Love is Not Enough (1997), p. 45

  • Some famous people with Attachment Disorder that did not get help in time: Adolph Hitler, Saddam Hussein, Edgar Allen Poe, Jeffrey Dahmer, and Ted Bundy. When Love is Not Enough (1997), p. 5

Therapeutic Respite —

  • So the first goal for the relief parents is to make the real parents look good in the child’s eyes. You want to make sure this kid hates your guts. … I make the real parents look good by being a Witch (with a capital B). I’m really good at it and now it’s fun. Bonding & Attachment Workshop

  • They need appreciation training! I recommend they go to a trained respite home where they can work for everything just like an adult has to do. Minimum effort provides soup kitchen rewards. Maximum effort provides a trip home!… When Love is Not Enough (1997), p. 31

  • So when they tell me all the stuff mom and dad have done, I say, “What was it you did to make them do that?” Give Me a Break

  • It’s really important that the healthy children in the house have the authority to tattle. Unattached children do not have that authority. I don’t listen to them… Bonding & Attachment Workshop

  • It’s not good for them to hassle me and not pay me back. To pay me back the children can rub my back … Sometimes, I teach them to rub lotion on the mom’s feet… Bonding & Attachment Workshop

  • The child works on their life. They’re doing chores. They’re writing papers about their feelings. During therapeutic motivational respite, there’s no playtime. Give Me a Break

Medical Care —

  • And they don’t get sick. We get very excited when one of them gets sick and pukes all over because it’s a sign that he is getting better. You have to trust to allow your resistance to get low enough to get sick. Bonding & Attachment Workshop

  • When they come up with an illness, I’m always empathetic even though I know it’s 100% an act. Bonding & Attachment Workshop

  • High tolerance to pain is an understatement. … These children will overreact to a scratch but have no reaction to a broken leg. They do this to get at us. Bonding & Attachment Workshop

  • I found the children with Attachment Disorder don’t feel their bodies… Dandelion on My Pillow, Butcher Knife Beneath (2002), p. 141

  • When these children come into your home, don’t ask them about their boo-boo’s. Give Me a Break

What Thomas Says About Herself —

  • I am a professional dog trainer… Bonding & Attachment Workshop

  • Ten of the years, I’ve been with the Attachment Center at Evergreen [now the Institute for Attachment and Child Development]. I worked with 15 different psychiatrists and therapists… Bonding & Attachment Workshop

  • The police … occasionally refer troubled youth in our community to me for help and guidance. Without their help, I don’t believe I could have had the success that I had working with these children. Dandelion on My Pillow, Butcher Knife Beneath (2002), p. 205

Thomas Thanks Others —

  • [Thanks to Dr. Foster Cline, Dr. Denise Arehart, Lori Wilson] Dandelion on My Pillow, Butcher Knife Beneath (2002), back of title page

  • [Acknowledgment to] C. J. Cooil [Connell Jane Watkins] for the courage to do this incredible work.… Dandelion on My Pillow, Butcher Knife Beneath (2002), back of title page

  • C. J. Cooil is retired and spends her spare time loving her daughter and playing with her grandson. [ACT note: C. J. Cooil — aka Connell Jane Watkins — was actually serving a 16-year sentence in a Colorado state prison at the time.] Dandelion on My Pillow, Butcher Knife Beneath (2002), p. 236

  • Another great book is 99 Ways to Drive Your Child Sane. It is a hoot! [ACT note: That book’s author, Brita St Clair, was a co-defendant of Connell Watkins’s.] When Love is Not Enough (1997), p. 29

Other Notable Declarations —

  • We see a very low success rate with siblings placed in the same home… — Focus on the Family (2003)

  • I began transferring his bond to me over to Jean. “Okay, Gabriel! I want you to jump up and down. Go!” I told him. Smiling, he complied. … I turned to his mom. “Okay Jean, now you tell him to do the same thing.” … I knew the transferring would take a full two weeks. Dandelion on My Pillow, Butcher Knife Beneath (2002), p. 112

  • Recommended Reading, Bibliography & References: Foster Cline, Ken Magid, Carole McKelvey, LG Mansfield, Chris Waldmann, T. Verny, Greg Keck, Martha Welsh [sic], Jim Fay, Nancy Verrier, Deborah Hage, Terry Levy, Mike Orlans, John Alston, Paula Pickle, Brita St. Clair, Connell Watkins, Attachment Center at Evergreen [ACT note: recently renamed Institute for Attachment and Child Development], Dianne Craft, etc. When Love is Not Enough (1997), p. 112