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TREATMENT

The most important component in helping a traumatized child to heal is a strong, therapeutic parent (primary caregiver). You can learn more about becoming a Therapeutic Parent on this website, as well as our sister website – ATN’s Learning Center.  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?

Check out ATN’s Resource list.

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.

WHAT WORKS & WHAT DOESN’T
Questions to ask when considering treatment (coming soon)

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.

resources

More on Treatment

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 children’s wellbeing. Rushing to diagnose a child with a potentially stigmatizing label, incorrectly blaming “defective”

Read More…

Stopping a Bully: How Learning About Attachment and Emotions Can Help

Richard, a former patient of mine,* used to bully kids when he was in high school. When I asked him to share what bullying felt like, he told me intimidating kids was the only time he felt powerful and strong. His father beat him. He showed the world his tough side, but he secretly believed he was

Read More…


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 children’s wellbeing. Rushing to diagnose a child with a potentially stigmatizing label, incorrectly blaming “defective”Read More...
Read more.
Stopping a Bully: How Learning About Attachment and Emotions Can Help
Richard, a former patient of mine,* used to bully kids when he was in high school. When I asked him to share what bullying felt like, he told me intimidating kids was the only time he felt powerful and strong. His father beat him. He showed the world his tough side, but he secretly believed he wasRead More...
Read more.
Sensory Integration
Note this recent research study: A Controlled Pilot-Outcome Study of Sensory Integration (SI) in the Treatment of Complex Adaptation to Traumatic Stress Sensory processing disorder (also known as sensory integration dysfunction, SID, or DSI) occurs when a person fails to process sensory messages coming from the environment in a smooth and efficient manner. Children with sensoryRead More...
Read more.
Neurological Reorganization (NR)
Neurological Reorganization, NR, or Neuro-reorg, is an intervention that addresses the challenges of a disorganized or injured brain. Some children have pervasive neurodevelopmental challenges that impact all areas of their functioning, and in worst cases children are globally delayed or brain injured. Children whose developmental trauma/attachment disorder beginnings have greatly impacted their development can benefit fromRead More...
Read more.
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 symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences. Repeated studies show thatRead More...
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Nutrition
Many parents report their children finding relief and their behaviors improving if nutritional changes are made or vitamins and supplements are added to the child’s daily regime. Some have used protocols usually prescribed for children with autism, ADHD or other neurological disabilities. Child Diagnostics/Dianne Craft is a website that describes the use of nutrition and supplementsRead More...
Read more.
Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics (NMT)
This approach to therapy of maltreated children is being developed by Dr. Bruce Perry, a leading expert in early childhood trauma. Dr. Perry and the staff at Child Trauma Academy in Texas have created a “developmentally sensitive, neurobiologically informed approach to clinical work.” This approach is based on what Dr. Perry knows about brain development, which includesRead More...
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TF- CBT
Coming Soon
Read more.
Medication
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 the child is better able to benefit from therapies and other interventions. Parents should seekRead More...
Read more.
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 and developing throughout a person’s life. These approaches target the brain’s chemical, electrical and structural byRead More...
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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 develop. During treatment sessions objects are not used to resolve issues of childhood trauma, attachment, orRead More...
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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 children in a wide range of child and family service programs including children with symptoms of Complex PTSDRead More...
Read more.
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 variety of contexts, and with many children for whom numerous other interventions have failed (e.g.,Read More...
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Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT)
Coming soon
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Child Parent Psychotherapy – CPP
Child-Parent Psychotherapy (CPP) is an intervention for children from birth through age 5 who have experienced at least one traumatic event (e.g., maltreatment, the sudden or traumatic death of someone close, a serious accident, sexual abuse, exposure to domestic violence) and, as a result, are experiencing behavior, attachment, and/or mental health problems, including post-traumatic stress disorderRead More...
Read more.
Attachment, Self-Regulation, Competency (ARC)
ARC is a framework for intervention with youth and families who have experienced multiple and/or prolonged traumatic stress developed by the Trauma Center at Justice Resource Institute (www.traumacenter.org), the institute founded by Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, expert in childhood trauma. ARC, developed by Kristine M. Kinniburgh and Margaret E. Blaustein of the Trauma CenterRead More...
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Trauma Resiliency Model/Community Resiliency Model (TRM/CRM)®
Trauma Resiliency Model (TRM)® Training is a program designed to teach skills to clinicians working with children and adults with traumatic stress reactions. TRM is a mind-body approach and focuses on the biological basis of trauma and the automatic, defensive ways that the human body responds when faced with perceived threats to self and others,Read More...
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Neurofeedback
More information to come. Meanwhile, check out these links to learn more: EEG Info  International Society for Neurofeedback and Research Neurofeedback at the Trauma Center Arleta James Blog on Neurofeedback  an article by Sebern Fisher MA , an attachment therapist who successfully uses neurofeedback in her practice. Neurofeedback: A Treatment for Reactive Attachment Disorder 
Read more.
How to Select a Therapist
ATN’s Official Policy on Treatment: ATN encourages all members to seek professional attachment & trauma therapy for their children. Information on this website or support from other ATN members cannot replace trauma-sensitive, attachment-focused therapy. We do not endorse specific therapists or treatment modalities. All parents should thoroughly research their options and ask for references. InRead More...
Read more.
Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP)
Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP) is a treatment approach for families of traumatized children or those with disorders of attachment. It was originally developed by Daniel Hughes, an expert in attachment and trauma. DDP principally involves creating a PLACE (playful, loving, accepting, curious, and empathic) environment in which the therapist and the parent attune to the child’sRead More...
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