Attachment-based Therapy (children) - Differentiation From Attachment Therapy

Differentiation From Attachment Therapy

It is critical to differentiate therapies based on attachment theory from the "unfortunately named" attachment therapy. (However, the use of the terms "attachment therapy" and "attachment-based therapy" is not consistent in literature and on the Internet). Attachment therapy, also known as 'holding therapy', is a group of unvalidated therapies characterized by forced restraint of children in order to make them relive attachment-related anxieties; a practice considered incompatible with attachment theory and its emphasis on 'secure base'. The conceptual focus of these treatments is the child's individual internal pathology and past caregivers rather than current parent-child relationships or current environment. This form of therapy, including diagnosis and accompanying parenting techniques, is scientifically unvalidated and is not considered to be part of mainstream psychology or, despite its name, to be based on attachment theory, with which it is considered incompatible. In 2006, the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (APSAC) Task Force reported on the subjects of attachment therapy, reactive attachment disorder, and attachment problems and laid down guidelines for the future diagnosis and treatment of attachment disorders. The Taskforce was largely critical of attachment therapy's theoretical base, practices, claims to an evidence base, non-specific symptoms lists published on the internet, claims that traditional treatments do not work and dire predictions for the future of children who do not receive attachment therapy. The controversy also extends to the theories, diagnoses, diagnostic practices, beliefs, and social group norms and patient recruitment and advertising practices.

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