Finding Hope & Help for Healing

Trauma-Sensitive, Attachment-Focused Therapies


The most important component in helping a child impacted by trauma to heal is a strong, therapeutic parent (primary caregiver). You can learn more about becoming a Therapeutic Parent on this website,.  For ongoing support, education and encouragement in your Therapeutic Parenting journey, consider  joining ATN.

The second most important component is trauma-sensitive, attachment-focused  therapy. ATN actively encourages ALL families to work with therapists who specialize in attachment & trauma. While experts aren’t readily available in all areas throughout the US and the world, we urge you to seek out experienced professionals, even if it means traveling, working remotely, arranging for local therapists to be trained, or finding a professional willing to come to you.

How do I find an experienced attachment & trauma specialist?

Search ATN’s Resource Directory

Trauma-Based Diagnoses in the DSM-5

The Diagnostic and Statisical Manual of Mental Disorders,   5th Edition added a classification of Trauma- and Stressor-Related Disorders better categorizing the disorders seen in children significantly impacted by early trauma.  These diagnoses now include:

And the one not yet officially recognized, but should be:

Trauma-Sensitive, Attachment-Focused Therapies

The many pages in this section of the website details some of the most commonly used treatment modalities by attachment and trauma professionals. This field is rapidly evolving, and ATN strives to keep up-to-date.  Many of these modalities and interventions are currently being researched and all are considered evidence-based or evidence-informed.   Traits of trauma-sensitive, attachment-focused treatments include:

  • Are grounded in attachment theory and recognize the importance of working toward healthy attachment and building resiliency.
  • Address the child’s traumatic stress – including feelings of fear, shame, grief and loss.
  • Are experiential (do not depend on talk therapy). Talk therapies and those dependent on behavior modification (reward/punishment systems) are not usually successful with our children.
  • Enhance emotional regulation and teaches self-regulation skills.
  • Involve the parent/caregiver in the therapy, providing parenting strategies and recognizing the critical importance of therapeutic parenting.

Explore these modalities in more detail:

Neuro-Based Approaches.  Research on early childhood trauma is indicating that interventions that address the underlying neurological impairments caused by early abuse and neglect can be VERY beneficial in conjunction with attachment & trauma therapy.  The following approaches are currently being used to help traumatized children.

Questions to ask when considering treatment 

ATN’s Official Policy on Treatment: ATN encourages all parents of traumatized children to seek professional therapy for their children that is trauma-sensitive and attachment-focused. Information on this website or support from other ATN members cannot replace professional therapy. We do not endorse specific therapists or treatment modalities. The information provided on this website should not be considered an endorsement.  All parents should thoroughly research their options and ask for references.

More on Treatments

Brain lit up in purple

ACEs and Toxic Stress: How We Can Heal Children’s Brains

As a trauma and emotion-centered psychotherapist, I am relieved that children are now being screened for toxic stress. Thinking about mental health as a byproduct of a child’s environment is an important addition to current thinking on how to improve

Eye Movement, Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

Eye Movement, Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

EMDR is a psychotherapy designed to alleviate distress associated with traumatic memories. This description is taken from the FAQ section of the EMDR Institute website. EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the



There is NO medication specifically for RAD, attachment difficulties or trauma. However, ATN does not discourage the use of medications. Many families have found that medications help to treat symptoms and lessen anxiety, intrusive thoughts and behaviors in such a way that

Neuro-Based Approaches

Neuro-Based Approaches

One of the fastest-evolving areas of promising interventions for traumatized/attachment-disordered children in the area of neuroscience approaches. These approaches are based on the premise of brain plasticity; that is, the research that shows the brain is able to continue growing, changing

Mother giving her son a piggy-back ride, smiling - Theraplay


Theraplay® assumes that the primary motivating force in human behavior is a drive toward relatedness to others not objects. Personality development is at its core interpersonal. The early interactions between parent and child are the crucible in which the self and personality

Father leaning down to daughter - Real Life Heroes

Real Life Heroes

Real Life Heroes provides practitioners with easy-to-use tools including a life storybook, manual, creative arts activities, and psycho education resources to engage children and caregivers in trauma-focused services.  Tools and procedures were developed and tested with latency-age[1] children in a

Woman holding an infant with young girl sitting next to her - Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT)

Trust Based Relational Interventions (TBRI)

Developed by Dr. Karyn Purvis and Dr. David Cross at the TCU Institute of Child Development, Trust-Based Relational Interventions® (TBRI®) is an emerging intervention model for a wide range of childhood behavioral problems. It has been applied successfully in a

ATN Resources


Therapeutic Parenting - Empowering Trauma-Informed Parents to be Therapeutic.

Trauma-Sensitive Schools

Creating Trauma Sensitive Schools- Empowering Trauma-Focused Educators and Schools

TSS Conference

Annual Creating Trauma Sensitive Schools Conference.

Get Involved

Join ATN - Together we can end the silence around childhood trauma!

Professional Development Programs For Educators

Resource Directory

Coming soon an online directory of trauma-informed professionals.

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