What is ATTACh?

The Association for Training on Trauma and Attachment in Children (ATTACh) is an international coalition of parents, professionals and others working to increase awareness about attachment and its critical importance to human development.

Founded in 1989 by leaders in the children’s mental health field, ATTACh promotes clinical education, training and research; promotes standards for ethical practice; encourages clear diagnostic classifications in the mental health field; generates public policy discussions; and offers family support.

How Does ATTACh Help Affected Families?

Families of children with attachment difficulties typically feel isolated and alone. Because attachment disorder is a misunderstood and difficult-to-diagnose condition, parents often have trouble locating professionals who are knowledgeable about the disorder. ATTACh provides support and networking opportunities for both parents and professionals.

While not a referral organization, ATTACh serves as a credible resource for accurate, up-to-date information about attachment issues and treatment options. Information is available through the ATTACh website, www.attach.org; in training sessions at the annual conference; and by emailing questions@attach.org or calling 1-612-861-4222.

How Does ATTACh Benefit the Public?

ATTACh maintains standards of ethics and practice for its members. Furthermore, ATTACh expects clinical and other professional members to operate within their respective codes of ethics, and non-clinical members to exercise good judgment based on the best interest of the child and family. The ATTACh Registration Process for professional members includes information on treatment protocols, including treatment evaluations, outcomes and follow-up; a copy of the member’s license or certification; proof of professional insurance; and disclosure of any disciplinary action. In addition, registered members are asked to sign an agreement to abide by ATTACh’s standards of practice, safety principals and basic assumptions about attachment therapies.

What is Attachment?

Attachment – the “give and take” relationship between a child and his or her parents or primary caregiver – is the foundation for a child’s healthy behavioral, social, emotional and neurological development. A healthy attachment teaches a child to trust and to form healthy relationships throughout his or her life. The concept of attachment is not new; it has been researched and discussed since the 1950s. ATTACh recognizes and promotes healthy attachment and its critical importance to human development.

What is Attachment Disorder?

Attachment disorder is a treatable condition characterized by problems with the formation of emotional attachment to others. Children with this condition have had problems or serious disruption in early childhood parent-child relationships. These problems have affected the child’s social, emotional and behavioral systems.

Symptoms may include inability to give or receive affection; an inability to empathize with others or feel remorse; destructive behavior; lying, cheating and stealing; attempting to manipulate others; preoccupation with fire, blood and gore; cruelty to animals; and indiscriminate affection toward strangers.

How is Attachment Disorder Treated?

Attachment disorder is treated with specialized psychological therapy. As with all psychological therapy, individual treatment depends on the therapist’s practice style, specific client information, the client-therapist dynamics, and other factors. ATTACh recognizes a diverse spectrum of therapies designed to build and/or strengthen attachments. In addition, ATTACh seeks to continually expand the body of knowledge about attachment issues and therapies through research, education and collaboration.

Additional Information

For additional information on ATTACh and its position on various forms of therapy, email questions@attach.org , visit www.attach.org, or call 1-612-861-4222.