Reunification Between Father and Daughter (CAT)

Nov. 18,2015

An eight year old girl was referred for counseling by her father who has sole custody of his daughter
since the age of 5. Her mother had addiction problems and was an inconsistent parent figure in her
daughter’s life. Her father did see her throughout her life but during many months had no contact with her due to what was going on with her mother.

The presenting issue was being parentified (there is a younger brother of any father), which my new 8 year old client took care of. He is now with an aunt. Anyway, my client also had difficulty making and keeping friends because she was very controlling of them. She also had very intense tantrums.

With this disruption in her attachment development, I decided to do Core Attachment Therapy with
father and daughter. He is a very emotional available parent, so this was a very natural course of action and gave them back those lost months and years. I encouraged the father and his new wife to come to the Nurtured Heart Approach training (Component 1), but they were not able to make it on the dates it was offered. I decided to proceed forward with the attachment games anyway (Component 2). I do not often do this when there is intense behaviors at home, but decided to do so since there was a history of he parent/child relationship.

This was the right call to make because as the 8 weeks progressed, the girl’s behavior calmed down. Her happiness was becoming more and more evident. As she calmed down, she became less controlling of . She no longer needed to control others because with secure attachment, she no longer had to worry that she was going to be left alone. As a result, people have been gravitating to her and for the first time in her school life, the teacher reported to the father that she now has friends. The father extended this special time with his daughter by going out for dinner, just the two of them after our sessions.

This illustrated to me the power of the attachment games without Component 1. Will I do this each and every time? No, because Component 1 is such an integral part of the process. Each family has its unique set of circumstances that bring them in for counseling. This is evidence that Core Attachment Therapy has a flexibility to meet the attachment needs of children no matter how their attachment development got interrupted.


Another Touching Moment With Core Attachment Therapy

OCT 28, 2015

I began Core Attachment Therapy with a family who adopted their daughter from China in late infancy. She is currently 11. The reason for the referral was explosive rages. As with most children adopted from China, there was limited to no early history.  The mother described those early months as good, but that her daughter would be rigid upon being picked up. At the start of the attachment games, this same dynamic was witnessed. The girl laid flat as a board on her mother’s lap. When we approached the third week of the attachment games, there was “that moment” when the girl stopped and gazed into her mother’s eyes and reached out for her as if seeing her for the first time. Since then, her body has been relaxed, she is genuinely reciprocal in her affection and reports that she has been less angry and when angry, can “get over it” much faster.


CAT With Grandmother and Granddaughter

March 12,2015

Finished another round of Core Attachment Therapy with a grandmother and granddaughter. The girl’s bio mother is in prison for drug use and selling. At the time of arrest, the girl’s father stepped up to the plate and petitioned the court for custody of his daughter with whom he had little contact for the first 6 years. As it turned out, he was not a reliable, effective parent, so the girl was returned to her grandparents. At the beginning of therapy, she was resistant and very angry. As the week’s progressed, she slowly “allowed” the process. This giving permission so to speak, gave her the opportunity to experience being taken care of on a more intimate, core level. The final session was met with pure joy and happy girl energy-singing, dancing, giggling vs. frowns, demands and tantrums. Such a relief to all involved. She even shouts across the street each morning to her grandmother as she boards the bus “I love you”, which was not the case prior to our work.

Another success story and still counting!

Anxiety and Core Attachment Therapy

Over a year ago, I had begun Core Attachment Therapy© with a biological mother and daughter. The girl was 4 at the time and was almost paralyzed with anxiety. In taking the developmental history of the girl, the mother was in a domestic violence situation for the first year of the girl’s life. As one can imagine, the mother was in an anxious, traumatized state and of course the girl was too.
As we moved through the process of Core Attachment Therapy©, the girl’s anxiety eased week to week. She did have some difficulty transitioning to kindergarten but made it through in several weeks. After Christmas, the girl’s anxiety heightened again, but not as intense as it initially was. I scheduled appointments again with the girl and suggested to the mother to return to the mommy games of Core Attachment Therapy© and have the girl decide with games she wanted to play. Sure enough, movement forward with no anxiety was once again hers.

CAT Not Just For Adopted Children

Core Attachment Therapy is not just for children who have been adopted. I utilize this process to help any child whose attachment development had some form of disruption. Fertile ground for attachment development is the child having an emotionally available parent to ignite the attachment process. When a child has a parent who is depressed, the emotionally availability is stifled.
I am currently working with an 8 year old boy and his mother who has depressed for the first 4 years of his life. We began Core Attachment Therapy and are easily sailing through it with positive behavioural changes noted at home…..until the transition game from Phase 2 (separation phase) to Phase 3 (individuation phase). He did the transition game with lots of enjoyment, but the behaviors at home afterwards were quite alarming after the positive gains noted the prior weeks. I asked his mother what had been going on in their lives when he was approximately the ages of 20-24 months of age and this stuck a cord. They had moved cross county in hopes of a better life and the opposite had happened.  The mother’s depression deepened and the boy was in day care with little attention given to his emotional needs…he was even sleeping on the floor at night while his mother was working.  This scenario explained the emotional reaction and behavioral change he is now experiencing. Just goes to show that the body does hold the memory of trauma and how Core Attachment Therapy lovingly moves a family through the stuck places in their hearts.

Core Attachment And Teens

People have been curious of Core Attachment Therapy works for teenagers.  I have just completed this process with two families of teens – one a 15 year old boy adopted at the age of 10 and a 15 year old girl adopted at the age of 8. With the 15 year old boy, he reports feeling that he feels seen for the first time and that he has a voice now. Prior to our work together, he isolated himself in his room and his family felt that he was going to be unreachable. For the 15 year old girl, she felt she had to take care of everything because there was no one to trust. She also was an emotional eater due to feeling there was no one to turn to. With Core Attachment Therapy with her adoptive mother, she now lets her mother take care of things and more importantly, is now turning to her mother for comfort rather than turning to food.  These are just two case samples of how Core Attachment Therapy can have a profoundly positive effect even for adolescents.