Anonymous Account of Survivor

[EDITOR, March 2018: The below is a contemporary account from someone who suffered Attachment Therapy (in the style of “Compression Therapy”) for several years in the mid-1970s in North Carolina. That this was done to a child with Asperger’s must have made this intensity of abusive, asphyxiation, and physical restraint unbearably cruel.]

ANONYMOUS: Humiliating. Infuriating. Demoralizing. Many times it was done in front of others, not only in the psychiatrist's office (group therapy, in which parents attended with their children, where they would tell the big doctor what the child had done wrong that week, and the child would be held), but also in various public places including my school (done there by my parents). Also, it was very uncomfortable physically as well as claustrophobic to have huge people lying on top of me and such. It upset me a lot on that account. As a matter of fact, on one occasion I stopped breathing, and passed out, but was then let up immediately since I had stopped struggling, which was what they wanted, of course.

Most of all, I realized at the time that it was basically rubbing in my relative lack of power and the imperative to submit. I was age 9-11 during the "therapy" itself, I think, and 11-12 years old when my mother decided to stop. I might have been too strong for her by then. And I was 14 years old before I managed to get my feet up under my father and pitch him off of me (fortunately he was not a large man); he decided at that time that had to be it for him, too. Along the way there were also some other therapeutic hijinks, such as hair-pulling, enforced seclusion, deliberate aggravation followed by unexplained punishments, etc. All in all, no fun and devastating to the self-esteem, but not as bad as what many others have suffered in the years since.

I didn't know, at the time, that this therapy was only for adopted children. I can't imagine what that psychiatrist must have told my parents to get them to go through with it. But they always thought he was the greatest. He died a few years ago, and I was glad to hear it.

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