Emily Becker-Weidman, Ph.D., Director of the Adoption & Attachment Program
Early deprivation, neglect, abuse, significant early health problems and hospitalizations, repeated moves, or more than one year in an orphanage can create attachment problems that require specialized treatment. Traditional forms of therapy are ineffective with attachment- disordered children.
Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy is an evidence- based, effective, and empirically validated treatment that is grounded in current thinking and research on the etiology and treatment of Complex Trauma or Developmental Trauma Disorder and disorders of attachment. Two follow-up studies with control groups found clinically and statistically significant reductions in symptoms of attachment disorder, aggression, anti-social behavior, thought disorders, attention problems, mood, and social relationship dysfunction. Over 80% of the children treated had previously been in treatment on three or more occasions, without any noticeable improvement. Treatment averaged 23 sessions over approximately ten months. (Becker-Weidman, A., Child & Adolescent Social Work, vol. 23, pp.137-171, 2006).
Treatment is primarily experiential and there is an important teaching element as well. Teaching parents about attachment-facilitating parenting methods and the importance of attunement and responsive, sensitive parenting is essential. Direct work with the parents regarding their own family or origin issues is another component of treatment. Finally, intensive emotional work with the child in a manner consistent with sound treatment principles is vital.
Attachment-Focused Treatment Institute
The Attachment-Focused Treatment Institute provides three certifications of therapists and other professionals: Attachment-Focused Therapist, Attachment-Focused Family Therapist, and Attachment-Focused Professional.
Consultation, training, workshops, and certification is provided through a joint venture between The Center For Family Development and the Academy for Human Development’s Graduate Counseling Program, a Singapore based university. More details can be found at: https://www.attachmentfocusedfamilytreatment.com/
Adam S. Weissman, Ph.D.
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