Attachment Center of Kansas

Helping Families Build Stronger Connections

The Attachment Center of Kansas specializes in attachment based services for children from birth to 10 year old and their families.  Services are available for the prevention or treatment of the full spectrum of attachment problems in children.

Attachment therapy at the center follows the Association for Treatment and Training in the Attachment of Children (ATTACh) practice standards that include:

 

      1.  The primary goal of treatment with children who have attachment problems is to enable   them to form healthy attachment relationships with their current and future families and to resolve the dysfunctional feelings and behaviors developed in response to the early attachment breaks.  Discovering the child’s individual inner working model (beliefs about self, others and environment) is important for therapeutic success.

 

     2.  Attachment therapy emphasizes trust, empathy, reciprocal behaviors, attunement, communication, touch, physical and emotional closeness and humor and playfulness.

 

     3.  Attachment therapy requires a family systems approach. The heart of this disorder is the child’s relationship with their primary caregiver. Working with the family system is essential to the success of the child’s treatment.  Parents may have problems, which must be understood and addressed if they are to help their child resolve attachment and other problems.

 

     4.  A thorough assessment is needed that includes the following as indicated: the child’s social, medical, placement, mental health and educational history, assessment of parent and family functioning, evaluation of the child’s current functioning and differential diagnosis (this may include any or several DSM or ICD diagnoses).

 

     5.  Parents and children are active members of the treatment team working to develop healthier patterns of interacting and communicating.  A central therapeutic activity is for the child and family members to experience and then express their emotional responses to past and present situations that are interfering with attachment.

 

     6.  The practitioner assists the parents in developing parenting strategies and philosophies, which support the development of healthy attachments, and serves as a consultant to the parents on issues and interventions, including but not limited to the following:

  • Supporting the parents’ authority and need to maintain control over the family environment, while assisting the child to feel safe enough to relinquish his/her compulsive need to be in control.
  • Increasing the child’s readiness to rely on the parent for safety, help, comforting, nurturing.
  • Encouraging a positive, supportive, family atmosphere.
  • Increasing reciprocal, positive interactions between parent and child.
  • Helping the child make choices that are in his own best interest, and in the best interest of his family, and to accept the consequences of those choices.
  • Helping families and children develop reasonable expectations of success.

 

Attachment based therapy at the Center begins with a comprehensive assessment that takes approximately 3-4 sessions.  It involves the use of several tools that may include the Randolph Attachment Disorder Questionnaire, Trauma Symptom Checklist for Young Children, Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function, Child Behavior Checklist, Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales, Parent Child Relationship Evaluation, Sensory Integration Checklist, Projective Testing and others depending on age of the child and symptoms reported.  Once the assessment is completed, a session is held with the parents/caretakers to discuss the results of the testing and treatment options.  A report detailing the results of the assessment is provided to the parents.

A treatment plan (type of interventions to be used, length and frequency of sessions, goals and other testing or resources needed) is developed based on the results of the assessment.  A parenting book is provided, free, to all families involved in attachment based therapy along with numerous resources.  Length of treatment is dependent on the child’s age, severity of problem/s, parents’ ability to provide the needed in-home interventions and frequency of sessions.

Facts

  • Children and youth suffer more victimization than do adults in virtually every category,with the exception of homicide.  
  • Approximately 25% to 30% of all children in the US will experience a traumatic event by age 16 years.
  • In 2008, over 772,000 children experienced neglect and/or physical, emotional and/or sexual abuse with children in the age group of birth to 7 being at the highest risk.  
  • Approximately 40% of children in the general population and up to 80% of children in fostercare and adoption have an unhealthy attachment style.      
  • One in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday.  29% of female rape victims in America were younger than eleven when they were raped.