Wholeness Healing Today

Attachment Disorder Revisited

I have written about attachment in several issues of our newsletter but want to re-visit the subject because we are always gaining more information, attachment (and lack of healthy attachment) is an ongoing problem, and we have once again begun a parent support group to address the problems arising for families due to this.

Our brochure identifies attachment disorder: An affectional bond between infant and the primary caregiver (usually the mother) is necessary for healthy emotional and physical development. If the environment is normally giving and responsive and the infant is able to assimilate the gratification of having his needs met, a basic sense of trust develops. If this trust does not develop, the child does not learn to trust and may become oppositional, angry, and often dangerous to himself and others. People with attachment disorder have difficulty forming loving, lasting, reciprocal, intimate relationships.

We are again offering a support group, once a month, the first Tuesday of the month, from 7-8:30 p.m., in our downstairs conference room. This is the 3rd time we have offered a similar support group. We early on identified a need for parents to share ideas, frustrations, and feelings in a non-judgmental situation, with people who have already dealt with or are currently dealing with similar behaviors with their children. Family, friends, and even professionals who do not have experience in dealing with children with some sort of behaviors stemming from an insecure, disrupted or unhealthy attachment often tend to be judgmental, adding more stress to the family. This group provides an outlet for support for and from those in similar situations.

Many things can cause a lack of healthy attachment and these include abuse (emotional, verbal, sexual, physical); neglect; abandonment or separation from a primary caregiver; multiple changes in caregivers; foster care or other placements; painful illness in child (ear infection, colic, etc.); exposure to drugs or alcohol in utero; maternal depression or other illness which results in the mother not being physically or emotionally accessible; and inconsistent or inadequate daycare. Now there may also be other causes, and many parents feel guilt for causes that are out of their control. It is far better to move on without assigning guilt and use that energy to help the child to heal.

While we treat many clients who have been diagnosed with attachment disorder, most therapists realize that the biggest job in healing these children falls on the parents. For this reason, it is important that parents feel supported, heard, and receive the education that will help them. It is our belief that this group will address some of those needs. The group will be facilitated by a parent who has learned the hard way, through living and dealing daily with a child whose heart has been wounded. This facilitator will have resources available from different perspectives, and all group members are invited to share their resources, as this is one of the biggest ways parents can help others in the same position.

Children with attachment disorder can heal, and it takes dedication, education, hard work, and guidance to be there for the child, but it is an awesome feeling when a child whose heart was wounded severely at a young age begins to trust and allows himself/herself to be loved by a family.

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  • Licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioner
    Licensed Professional Counselor
    Advanced Clinical HypnoTherapist

  • Deb England began working part-time for Wholeness Healing Center in September 2004 and began full-time in May 2005. Deb practices primarily in the Broken Bow office and one day a week in the Grand Island office. Previously she had completed her practicum and internship at Morning Star Alliance, working in the Broken Bow and Grand Island offices.


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