Monday, March 24, 2008

A Search For Survivors - Attachment Therapy

I saw this blog mentioned today on Yahoo! Answers.

The subtitle is "Firsthand accounts of the lethal “attachment therapy” that targets orphans, adoptees and foster children"

Good god.

Please digg/subscribe.

read more

11 complaints from ingrates:

Pickel March 25, 2008 at 12:08 AM  

The Martha Welch way to do this should not be applied to children who have been adopted...like the blog you linked to indicates (and especially in a sexual manner like laying upon). There are ways to help an adopted child through attachment therapy though.

We use holding therapy to help our son through violent rages so that he can keep himself safe and we can keep ourselves safe (because otherwise he would harm people) and traditional attachment therapies for younger children like wearing/slinging are wonderful ways to bond.

However, we would never wrap, smother, lay on or restrain him in a manner that is to force something out. We do it in response to a crisis, which is totally different (and recommended by our therapist and psychiatrist).

Anonymous,  March 25, 2008 at 8:20 AM  

There are some sick people out there that cannot cope with the fact that they did not give birth to the children they adopted.

You are only born once!!!

You cannot change you gave birth to you and it is pointless (and extremely dangerous) to force a "re-birth" for the sake of the adults. The child's best interests are certainly not taken into account here (not when they are being smothered to death!)

I think one of the crime series (CSI ?) did an episode on that some time ago. I was absolutely appalled this was even allowed to happened. Who is checking on these supposed experts?

Cathy

Anonymous,  March 25, 2008 at 8:23 AM  

I meant to say " You cannot change WHO gave birth to you" in my last post.

I'm upset that someone would try to take that away from me.

At least my found son appreciates that.

Cathy

Anonymous,  March 25, 2008 at 8:39 AM  

One mother, who killed her 25-pound adopted son from Russia, claimed in her defense that she was fearful of the boy because he came from an “atheist country.”

Didn't anyone check out this mental case before allowing a child near her?

What about the other children being "looked after" by these nut cases?

Erika March 25, 2008 at 6:00 PM  

reactive attachment disorder - insecure attachment disorder and many more are all a major consequence of adoption and foster care.

i think what is so disturbing is the attitudes by foster and adoptive parents.they resent the child for not being able to bond and even return them back and re abdandon them.

this is all symptomatic of an entire social system gone completely awry.

these children did not choose to be orphans.they did not get a choice in who their new parents would be.

if it is to be a true forever family - these sick therapies and practices need to be held up to scrutiny and addressed.

the more you research into adoption the more horrifying it becomes.it's tragic.

Wayward Radish March 25, 2008 at 6:56 PM  

Firstly, thank you for promoting my site, I'm much obliged.

Secondly, to "pickel," the mother who claims that there exist "helpful" forms of AT: Attachment therapy and "attachment parenting" (the latter of which was largely developed by William Sears) are rejected as a whole by the legitimate, professional psychiatric establishment as Pseudoscience. The most tolerant light that scientific professionals (re: APA) can cast AT in as described--"young and diverse field...the benefits and risk of [which] remain scientifically undetermined."

In other words, while there do exist AT-prescribed methods that are not as egregiously violent as what I and the other children profiled on my site went through, NONE of it is proven or even substantiated by any empirical scientific evidence. Attachment Disorder and Reactive Attachment Disorder, while recognized conditions, are admittedly "the least researched and most poorly understood disorders in the DSM. There is very little systematically gathered epidemiologic information on RAD. In its absence, much of what is believed about RAD is based on theory, clinical anecdotes, case studies, and extrapolated from laboratory research on humans and animals. Similarly, the course of RAD is not well established. Long-term longitudinal data on the outcomes of children diagnosed with RAD have not been gathered."
(Hanson & Spratt, 2000)

Your assumption that AT is a credible practice because it is "recommended by [your] therapist and psychiatrist" is a dangerous one at best. As is written on my site, many attachment therapists who were directly and indirectly responsible for the deaths of children were, in fact, licensed professionals within the field (though there are many practitioners who aren't).

I am personally acquainted with adoptive parents who investigated AT (a relatively mild form much like the fatuous "age-regression" techniques you reference), but ultimately maintained the presence of mind and unconditional commitment to their child to not rely on pseudoscientific fringe therapies that promised unrealistic results in a short period of time.

At its core, AT is a coercive form of behavior modification via Stockholm syndrome. It's unlikely that the milder forms do harm other than severe humiliation, but again, it's also most unlikely that they are in any way effective.

-Wayward Radish

Pickel March 25, 2008 at 10:48 PM  

I think that all situations are different and all children are different. As a parent I would never try to intentionally humiliate or hurt my child, nor would I try to impose my feelings of not being able to give birth (that is just weird).

Our son has violent rages wherein we all need to be kept safe. Because he is still young we are able to hold him through the rages. Some people call this attachment therapy because of Martha Welch's book so that is why I referenced it.

In our home we do things like wearing a 9 month old child, playing peek-a-boo, and bottle/sippy feeding (we did this for a two year old because of nutrition, as he was dangerously malnourished).

I don't agree with many of the attachment therapists out there, especially Sears ...I go with my gut and I would never agree blindly with anyone. My child is VERY complicated; FAS, PTSD, SPD, visual and auditory processing disorders, etc.

I hope you can try to understand that.

childtorture March 26, 2008 at 1:32 AM  

If all situations are indeed "different" to the point where they void analysis, then it makes little sense to adhere to or even reference any systematized, professional approach to treatment.... Which you did at first, attempting to establish credibility by invoking the recommendation of your "therapist and psychiatrist." :)

Martha Welch is an execrable writer and fear-mongering quack who's been discredited professionally, and rightly so. The only other living AT survivor I've been able to communicate with was horrendously abused by one of Welch's disciples.

Oh, I've no doubt that you're a shining, exemplary parent and your child is truly disordered with all those polysyllabic conditions (that naturally entail highly lucrative "treatments"), which you've obviously had no hand in whatsoever.

But I hope YOU can attempt to understand the fiscally-driven, flawed epistemological analysis (or lack thereof) among those who advocate AT, and the potentially lethal consequences derived from a solipsistic worldview in which "going with one's gut" trumps an educated, reasoned investigation of legitimized scientific research and analysis.

Pickel March 26, 2008 at 9:57 AM  

So, from what you are saying is that I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't? If I parent the old way and do as I think I should (go by my gut feeling of how he should be parented) I am wrong but if I seek help from psychiatrists, social workers, or AT's I am wrong because they are all quacks?

Ungrateful Little Bastard March 26, 2008 at 10:43 AM  

For me I don't have any answers. I wasn't subjected to any type of therapy as a child.

However I do remember my younger adoptive sister being spuriously diagnosed as "difficult" (i.e., different than me) and having some weird pediatric TA approach (unsuccessfully) used on her.

All I can remember from it was that her bedroom door knob was reversed so her lock was on the outside, and she'd be locked in her room when she was being "difficult". My memories were vague but I can remember the yelling and screaming from the other side of the door. Vague as they are, decades later they're still very disturbing and upsetting.

Looking back on it, I see a lot of her behaviors as a natural response to a cumulative and unnatural experience: removed from her mother at birth --> placed with strangers --> no genetic mirroring --> unacknowledged grief --> different personality and temperament than the first adoptee and the adoptive family --> told she's "bad" --> she acts accordingly --> repeat

On an emotional level, right or wrong, I can't help but have a distrust for therapies targeted towards adoptees given by people who aren't. That's not to say they can't be great therapists; my own shrink wasn't adopted, but he does get it. I just have a very adoptee-centric view and no answers. :(

childtorture March 26, 2008 at 4:18 PM  

Not at all, but if it eases your own mind to reduce my explanation of incontrovertibly scientific findings (while dismissing the conspicuous lack thereof in your own opinion) to a such a binary, remedial argument that you can comprehend, then by all means, have at it.

To the writer of this blog--I apologize for engaging in any fisticuffs on your turf. I'll stop now, but it's important that people (especially parents, who of course hold all the power in the adoptive-adoptee relationship) be informed, at the very least, of the utter unproven effectiveness of these "treatments." I'm grateful to you for this post. I agree, we live in a society that punishes people, especially children, for their "difference" and "deviation" from the norm (whatever in tarnation that represents).

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