Report of the APSAC task force on attachment therapy, reactive attachment disorder, and attachment problems

Mark Chaffin, Rochelle Hanson Benjamin E. Saunders, Todd Nichols, Douglas Barnett, Charles Zeanah, Lucy Berliner, Byron Egeland, Elana Newman, Tom Lyon, Elizabeth Letourneau, Cindy Miller-Perrin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

147 Scopus citations


Although the term attachment disorder is ambiguous, attachment therapies are increasingly used with children who are maltreated, particularly those in foster care or adoptive homes. Some children described as having attachment disorders show extreme disturbances. The needs of these children and their caretakers are real. How to meet their needs is less clear. A number of attachment-based treatment and parenting approaches purport to help children described as attachment disordered. Attachment therapy is a young and diverse field, and the benefits and risks of many treatments remain scientifically undetermined. Controversies have arisen about potentially harmful attachment therapy techniques used by a subset of attachment therapists. In this report, the Task Force reviews the controversy and makes recommendations for assessment, treatment, and practices. The report reflects American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children's (APSAC) position and also was endorsed by the American Psychological Association's Division 37 and the Division 37 Section on Child Maltreatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)76-89
Number of pages14
JournalChild maltreatment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Attachment therapy
  • Reactive attachment disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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