The most terrifiying "therapy" iv ever been thru

When I was 13 years old my parents an I flew out to colorado. Unbenounced to me I was going to go to therapy at the attachment center in evergreen colorado. My dr......neil feinburg. The first day I was there this man scared me worse than iv ever been scared in my whole life. He strattled me as I sat on the couch and screamed and yelled in my face. I was crying and begging for him to get off of me but he wouldnt. I cried for mama to get him off me because he was hurting and scaring me. But she wouldnt. This whole holding therapy is a bunch of BS!!!! It doesnt do any good. All it did was scare me so bad I dont trust anyone. I hope one day this crap is made illegal. IT IS ABUSE! Thers is no reason to do this to a child. I wish no one else ever has to live that nightmare "holding therapy"


Thank you for the warning

I am in complete awe what some parents will agree to do, out of desperation. But thanks to brave parents who have come forward, and shared their own POV, I have learned a lot about "trained" therapists who will prey upon the weak and the desperate.  [Weak, in this context referring to those parents who don't do their homework and learn as much as they can about conditions, behaviors, and what it takes to be a good qualified (licensed) educating professional.]

Just this morning I read a blog-post written by a parent who has been doing some serious reading and research about RAD and various therapies used to help treat "the troubled child".  Words cannot express the relief I feel when I read posts like the following:

many of the checklists out there are published by folks who are involved in attachment therapy and stand to make money from selling books, videos, seminars, and summer camps for troubled families.  People who market attachment therapy stand to make more money if they cast the widest net possible.  Although not all families will go so far as to spend thousands of dollars on therapy, seminars and camps that aren't covered by insurance, if a mother says to herself, "Wow, that sounds just like my kid," she's probably likely to pop for a book for two.

So unless and until we have a formal diagnosis of RAD, or any of the other myriad possible mental illnesses that are being discussed, we are going to do absolutely nothing new.  We are going to keep doing what we are doing, using a combination of parenting techniques from Love and Logic, The Total Transformation, and a few miscellaneous other items we learned during our myriad training classes.

[From: The Validity of RAD Checklists, April 24, 2011 ]

This begs the question:  what IS being taught in these PAP training classes?  What is the modern-adopter expected to know before the child is chosen, and put in a new home? 

PAP classes

I think the Hague mandated 10 hour class is a tiny bit better than the days (7+ years ago) when nothing was required. At least some very basic issues are discussed.

However, it clearly isn't enough. I am not holding breath that we will ever see REAL pre-adoptive training in place. Why would agencies allow that kind of training?

How many of them would allow a class to teach PAP's about warnings of unethical adoption situations?
To recognize signs that a family has been pressured to place?
To spot situations where documents have been faked?
Where children have only been in an orphanage for a few days prior to the PAP's arrival?
How many of them are going to tell PAP's that their referred child has been sedated in orphanages and is likely to withdraw on the plane enroute to new home? (And that they will now be responsible for a child with challenges the orphanage refused to deal with and thus chemically sedated them.)
Will they tell them how many older children in institutions have been abused physically, emotionally and sexually and will need serious, quality therapy?
Or that the above children should not be placed in homes with younger children?

No, they aren't going to do that. Talk about putting a serious dent in business.

Real PAP classes?

I agree with Anonymous about this. They aren't going to discuss any of these above mentioned situations with PAPs at a workshop or class, if they did that would be akin to the agencies admitting that ALL of these things DO occur, which in turn would lower the ICA rate which means...less money for those that profit from ICA.

It will be a cold day in hell before that EVER happens. Keep in mind how many outspoken AP voices who advocate for ethical adoptions and who have shared about corruption have been silenced by agencies and other APs who want to see the gravy train going. Sorry, I too just don't see classes for PAPs about corruption and irregularities happening any time soon.

Ok..... how 'bout this?

 I too just don't see classes for PAPs about corruption and irregularities happening any time soon.

I understand, really I do... it's like tobacco industry paying trained professionals to teaching smokers all the details behind cigarette production and sales.  Ya ain't gonna see it this side of earth.

But PAP's and foster parents DO take mandatory parenting classes.  [At least most of them do, as I have discovered.]

In terms of foster care in the United States, according to a pdf titled, Foster Parent Training in America, every foster parent must have a license to foster a child.  Mandatory minimums vary by state, and some of these mandatory minimums are just that - bare minimum requirements needed to foster (and still receive subsidy payments), but as of October 1, 1999, federal law requires "before a child in foster care under the responsibility of the State is placed with prospective foster parents, the prospective foster parents will be prepared adequately with the appropriate knowledge and skills to provide for the needs of the child, and that such preparation will be continued, as necessary, after the placement of the child."  Rules for private and international adoption, of course, differ, depending on the agency and the number of services it provides.

[From:  comment, Choices and decisions ]

I think it's safe to say the vast majority of PPL readers would like to see adoption reform take place. 

I believe public education is one of those murky areas that needs cleaning and restructuring.

So... let me ask those who have taken PAP classes... What's being taught in those classes/X hour-long seminars?  Wouldn't it make good decent logical sense to educate the PAP/FP about the dangers of quack-therapies for all those so-called RAD/autistic "orphans" being pushed through the adoption process?

Workshop 101

What's being taught in those classes/X hour-long seminars?

From my own experiences (and memory) the classes taken have been 3 hour long workshops, some 4 hour long workshops, total of 20 hrs. req:
-How to make a Lifebook
-How Children Learn
-How to survive the Pick up trip (actually that wasn't the name of it but it consisted of an AP talking for 3 hours about her horrendous pick up trip from China)
-How to incorporate your child's culture into your family (it consisted of showing airport trinkets and "stereotyped" cultural tidbits)
-How to deal with what others think about adoption (more or less arming yourself with a list of ready-made come back lines)

Wouldn't it make good decent logical sense to educate the PAP/FP about the dangers of quack-therapies for all those so-called RAD/autistic "orphans" being pushed through the adoption process?

Yes, it would be wonderful to know what resources are out their for children, what to look for and what to avoid but again...but again....that would mean that the agency would have to admit that they are referring RAD/"autistic" kids, even though some kids may suffer from "institutionalized autism" or delays or loss and grief or trauma, the agency is not going to admit to the PAP that their referral has this diagnosis. If you contact your agency after your arrival and tell them that the child is experiencing difficulties, they just refer you to talk to your pediatrician or suggest a therapist or a visit to one of the local Children's Hospital that has an Adoption Clinic. Hopefully others have had better experiences with respect to workshops or follow up assistance. I also do believe it depends on what decade we are talking about when these workshops took place. For me it was the early 2000.

Were workshops offered/required prior to the year 2000?

[shiver] Parent Workshops

Sorry.... I lost all ability to focus on dates of mandatory workshops... I'm still trying to iron-out the wrinkles in my mind as I imagine unlicensed Parent Workshopper Nancy Thomas (famed professional friend of Federici and in association with Love and Logic ring-leader, Foster Cline and captain full-circle, Neil Feinberg ) hitting Russia and the UK this next seminar-scheduled year. 

I know, that was a head-full of names and hyperlinks... but please try to follow all the other written posted messages within the PPL walls.

[And please take the time to read the story about Theresa and Reed Hanson, and the comment that follows that piece,if for no other reason than to get a quasi-quick glimpse into the world of the unprepared AP, when facing the consequences of following poor parenting advice.]

You see, what's being passed-off as '“international experts” in child development-adoption and trauma medicine, (Federici's words, not mine) Workshop Worker Nancy Thomas is actually a former dog-groomer turned foster/adoption parenting expert/"therapist".  And what one "enlightened" blogging AP sees as "unrelated", is actually all part of the incestuous mix that is all too common in corrupt Adoptionand.

So unless and until we have a formal diagnosis of RAD, or any of the other myriad possible mental illnesses that are being discussed, we are going to do absolutely nothing new.  We are going to keep doing what we are doing, using a combination of parenting techniques from Love and Logic, The Total Transformation, and a few miscellaneous other items we learned during our myriad training classes.

[From: comment, Thank you for the warning ]

<rubbing head>

Monday morning... ouch.

Parents need to educate themselves and understand the dangers that go with workshops teaching how to discipline.  Rules are being by-passed on mere (state) licensing technicalities... and people need to be aware how federal mandated rules to help limit and restrict dangerous/harmful practices are not yet universal within the USA.  [See:  Holding Therapy seems finished and Not quite over or finished... ]

<rubbing head> 

Surely I'm not the only person who sees the insanity in these parent workshops for "desperate" parents....


Workshops weren't required at that time. I don't remember them being offered prior to 2000. A few agencies starting mandating the 10 hr class around 2002-2003 as a prep for Hague which requires it.

What is offered still isn't enough....not near enough and I have reviewed some of the coursework on a few classes. It is supposed to be about educating pap's to meet the needs of the children coming into their care, but falls far short.

More on prep-classes for foster/adoptive parents

After having an in-depth conversation with my friend about the mandatory scrapbooks her dysfunctional mother had to prepare for each child this mother adopted, I decided to read more about prep-classes for PAPs.  On adoption websites, (sites that promote various adoption agencies and services for foster/adoptive parents)  the general theme behind prep-classes seems to follow the following example:

"Because of the inherent differences in extending a family through adoption, potential adoptive parents are given techniques to help them and their families embrace the transition to parenting and the adoption triad with confidence and love. We present the adoption process as a rite of passage, not just as papers, numbers, and waiting.

"Clients develop the skills to stay focused on making this the most positive experience it can be (whether domestic, international, closed, or open adoption), but we don't narrow our vision only to the positives. All too often, people believe they will adopt the perfect child, the process will go smoothly, and the adjustment in the family will be seamless. Not many are prepared for the possibility of attachment issues, lost paperwork and delays, or discrimination from within the family itself."

Her [featured 'certified instructor'] course includes, but isn't limited to:

  • Assessment of beliefs and attitudes towards adoption,
  • Mental preparation,
  • Techniques to cope throughout the adoption process,
  • The adoption triad,
  • Adoption as a rite of passage,
  • Life Art,
  • Adoption, culture, and positive imagery.

Those adopting through the U.S. foster care system are required to take parenting classes as part of their homestudy process, and while some private agencies are adding this requirement, many agencies and attorneys do not require adoptive parent preparation classes.

[From:  Pre-Adoption Parenting Classes: Are They Necessary? ]

Note the way in which the information is introduced:  Pre-adoption parenting classes, are they necessary?  [Well, according to many agencies and attorneys, the answer is no.]

Personally, I do think scrap-booking (or life-books) are NOT necessary.

Life art.  Not necessary.  Adoption culture, complete with correct use of PAL (Positive Adoption Language).  Not necessary.

Necessary preps that should be taken very seriously? Hmmm....


My approach toward prepping parents for their new addition would be a tad more challenging than life-booking and recipe swapping.  If it were up to me, I'd suggest in addition to a volunteer/mandatory HIV, psych, and drug test, each candidate would have to take and pass courses that prove to be a bit of a mental challenge.  Below reads like a decent sample syllabus for foster/adoptive parents seeking certification.

Basic Medication Information
                Five Rights
                Infection Control
                Classification of Medications
Side Effects vs. Adverse Reactions
When To Call The Doctor
What Medications Can Be Cut
When Medication Should Be Given
Who Can I Contact With Questions?

Where Do I Store Medication?

Look At Medications With A Child’s Eye

IV. PREP COURSE 1  (Parenting Resourced and Education for Permanency Training for Foster/Adoptive Parents)  ALL DAY COURSE
Lunch Break, with 1 small bathroom break in the morning, 1 small bathroom break in the afternoon

                Increase knowledge of children in foster care
                Increase parenting skills to nurture and protect children
                Develop Abilities as part of a professional team; support permanency for children
                Help you decide on commitment to be a foster or adoptive parent
History of Foster Care In The U.S.
AFCARS Report- Statistics- Adoption & Foster Care Analysis & reporting System (as of September 2005)
AFCARS Report- Statistics
Agency Expectations
Child Abuse & Neglect
Child Abuse & Neglect Statistics
Reporting Child Abuse
How The Brain Develops- Neurobiology
Attachment Theory
Child Development Theories
Effects of Maltreatment on Brain Development
Hierarchy of Human Needs
Stages of Grief
Discipline vs. Punishment
Role of Families
End of Prep 1

V.  PREP COURSE 2 (Parenting Resourced and Education for Permanency Training for Foster/Adoptive Parents)   ALL DAY COURSE
1 Morning Break, Lunch Break, 1 Afternoon Break

Sexual Abuse
Types of Sexual Abuse
Effects of Sexual Abuse

Sexual Abuse Outcry Procedure
Domestic Violence
Domestic Violence Cycle

Effects of Domestic Violence

Drugs and Alcohol

Effects of Parental Use of Alcohol & Drugs on Children

Parental Incarceration

Effects of Parental Incarceration

Parenting Traumatized Children

Six Core Strengths







Shaken Baby Syndrome

Shaken Baby Syndrome Prevention

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

Reducing SIDS Risk

Cultural Diversity

Adoption and Safe Families Act


Additional Information to Foster/Adopt


                New Perspective on Anger

                Anger/Stress Management

                TEAMWORK Foster/Adopt Parents & Children      

[From:  Foster Care: Syllabus To Be A Parent!, May 2, 2011 ]

I think a discussion on quack therapists, the effects trauma has on learning, and black-box warnings (on prescription drugs) would be good additions, too.

the classes

Bethany did require HIV and drug screen for adoptive parents...  and they did a mental health screen (I still think just about anyone not totally off their rocker and get it together enough to pass those mental eval tests...)

the classes... anything on attachment would probably end up being material from the people from the RAD therapy circles...

in Virginia we were required even 15 years ago to take a class on HIV/AIDES  and the classes went on for like 12 weeks 3 hours one short break...  that was public...  private on was much shorter...

nothing like having the kid live there though... respite care providing is probably the best training....  and see how the people take that... and what are their motives to adopt for the child or for them...

and I know I keep saying it... but this RAD therapy keeps growing only because it is supported by public money and rich adoptive families... otherwise it would have gone away...



Requirements hours

Thanks for that summary. One question: Are you referring to domestic adoption or are those requirements for international adoption?
Because I know of NO adoption agency that does ICA that requires classes that each one would take 12 weeks or are 3 hours long. Usually they require 10hrs. total workshop time for ICA minimum. Why is it so inconsistent?

Brittany's report

Brittany, would you mind telling us what year this took place?

Some attachment therapists claim they "don't do this any more", so it's helpful to know how recently it's been done.


Thanks, Jean Mercer

Thank you, Brittany!

I have known about Attachment Therapy for a decade, and it is still shocking to stories like yours. I wanted you to know that the State of Colorado has taken away, permanently, Neil Feinberg's license to practice. In my opinion, it is something that should have been done many years ago; he should be in prison for child abuse. For decades, Colorado authorities actually promoted and paid for this brutal "therapy." I am sorry that so many people failed you as a child, and that the mental health system failed to protect you from that nightmare. I hope your future is a happy one.

Let me know if you would like to add you story to that of others (see the bottom of this webpage) on the Advocates for Children in Therapy website:

that is such great news that

that is such great news that he no longer has a licence!! i was there in 2001. i would love for my story to be added to that site. my life has gotten sooo much better. iv got my own place and am engaged to a wonderful man. were gettin married march 30, 2013 :)

i was there in 2001 when i

i was there in 2001 when i was 13



This should have never happened to you and you are brave and courageous for speaking out against these practices.

Brave post


Thank you for posting this, it is very brave of you and I honor you for that. I hope you realize how many other adoptees (and their APs) you help by posting about your life experiences.

okay have to say something

last foster parent adoption class I attended....  Jan. 2007 I think.... they were ONLY TEACHING STUFF ABOUT RAD and greatly encouraging the parenting style of one unlicensed, never parented, hyped up crap by a local RAD self proclaimed expert...  I dropped the class and complained and complained and complained to anyone I could think of....

no one cared

sad. way sad...  and another person was selling her program and it was being web cast ... she also had very little real training...

not many speaking out against it... and some people are going to great lengths to shut everyone up...


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