Children and Obedience: A Clinician’s Perspective | Jean Mercer

A recent discussion on a child psychology listserv brought up once again some misunderstandings about Reactive Attachment Disorder. One correspondent, who spoke of a child who had been diagnosed with RAD, surprised me by offering the old holding-therapy-related symptom list, including “superficial charm” and “lack of cause-and-effect thinking”. I responded by pointing out that even now, when few practitioners do holding therapy, there are dangers in the associated authoritarian belief system—a system that considers disobedience a symptom of poor attachment and holds that once a command is…

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