Report of the APSAC Task Force on Attachment Therapy, Reactive Attachment Disorder, and Attachment Problems
Although the term attachment disorder is ambiguous, attachment therapies are increasingly used with children who are maltreated, particularly those in foster care or adoptive homes. Some children described as having attachment disorders show extreme disturbances. The needs of these children and their caretakers are real. How to meet their needs is less clear. A number of attachment-based treatment and parenting approaches purport to help children described as attachment disordered. Attachment therapy is a young and diverse field, and the benefits and risks of many treatments remain scientifically undetermined. Controversies have arisen about potentially harmful attachment therapy techniques used by a subset of attachment therapists. In this report, the Task Force reviews the controversy and makes recommendations for assessment, treatment, and practices. The report reflects American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children’s (APSAC) position and also was endorsed by the American Psychological Association’s Division 37 and the Division 37 Section on Child Maltreatment.