An Attachment Intensive.

There were a couple of questions after my last post and I would like to try and answer them.


The first question was what is an intensive? This is an obvious question that should have been part of my last post. Sometimes I forget that not everybody who reads my stuff lives and breathes adoption, attachment, and RAD.


When speaking about Attachment Therapy, an intensive is a method of delivering that therapy. Therapy happens, with the child and parents, on consecutive days. After each days session, the parents are given specific exercises to practice with the child for the rest of the day. Therapy continues the next day. An initial intensive usually runs about 10 days.

The advantages of an intensive is that the parents and child are immersed in the therapy and unlike weekly or biweekly attachment therapy, sessions where not everything “takes” can be corrected the next day. Also, since one day’s session is directly followed by the next day’s session, the material is fresh for everyone, including the child.


All though every Attachment Therapist varies slightly in method, the goals are similar. They promote the connection between the parent(s) and child, help set up a healthy relationship where the child depends on the parent for what they need, addresses the trauma issues the child has, and gives the parents the tools they need to continue working on the child’s attachment. 


In our initial appointment, the Attachment Therapist worked on eye contact, compliance, and trust between us and Hope. Eye contact is very important. Children with RAD avoid all eye contact unless they are using it to get something. The Attachment Therapist required eye contact every time Hope spoke. 


The Dad and I spent 15 minutes discussing what would happen during our intensive and listening to the Attachment Therapist’s assessment on where Hope stood. We were doing better than we thought, but have a long way to go.

4 thoughts on “An Attachment Intensive.

  1. Good for you. I love the fact that you were offered an intensive-n I don't know if I can access anything like that. Eye contact is key- calms down the brain and releases seretonin instead of cortisol ( the fight or flight hormone most of our kids get flooded with everytime they get triggered)- and learning happens when defenses are down and kids are calm and happy. This is definately a difficult stage to get to with these ones. I am definately not educating you since you know this, but readers that may not. God bless you today and your therapist!

  2. I never look my husband in the eyes and I know he has this disorder in some ways, how do u correct this now without flipping instantly cuz the past month I have been making quick changes and it's irritating him….. HELP

  3. Angie,
    I am not a parent myself but someone with issues myself.

    What I can say is the not making eye contact can be seen in other disorders than RAD (for example ASD).
    It does not mean that there is “no problem”, but that more than one possibility can cause such a disorder.

    What can help is telling him to look between your eyebrows when he wants to make eye contact.

    Take care

  4. I may not live and breathe adoption yet, but I will one day. I hope to become a therapist for families like yours! Luckily one of my professors in grad school specializes in trauma and attachment!

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