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Considerations When Choosing A Counselor Who Works With Attachment Issues
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Considerations When Choosing a Therapist who Works with Children With Reactive Attachment Disorder
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Factors to Consider When Choosing a Counselor who works With Reactive Attachment Disorder

 The Association forTraining and Treatment in the Attachment of Children (ATTACh) has adopted alist created by Beverly Cuevas to help parents determine if a therapist iscompetent on issues of at-tachment and adoption:
Professional Qualifications Does the therapist:
_____Have a current license/certification or other credential required by theirparticular state?
_____ Belong to ATTACh (Association for Treatment andTraining in the Attachment of Children)?
 _____ Have a current clinicalregistered membership in ATTACh (Go to:, Profession-al Practice Manual, Pg. 12, Standards of Practice) or meet the standards to be a registeredclinician (80 hours of specialized post-graduate training in the diagnosis and treatment of attachment disorders and regular continuing education in those issues)?
_____ Have a current membership in his/her professional organization,and follow their organization’s established code of ethics and standards of practice?
Training Questions
_____ What training has the therapist received specific to attachment, trauma, early childhood development, adoption, foster care, and family therapy?
_____ How long has the therapist been practicing? How long has the therapist been treating children withattachment issues/disorder? Is 50% of their practice with adopted, foster, and others with attach-ment issues?
_____ Is the therapist skilled in treating avariety of problems with a variety of techniques? For example, comfortable infacilitating attachment building, working on behavior management strategies, working with ADHD and/or learning disabilities, helping with grief work, PTSD, Bi-Polar disorder, treating sexual abuse issues and helping with adoption related issues?
_____ How many hours of supervised and “hands on training”under the mentorship of a qualified attachment therapist does the therapist have?
_____ Does the therapist continue to learn about new developments in attachmenttherapy through a minimum of 20 continuing education units annually andmaintain contact with other professionals in the field?
_____ What ages does the therapist serve?
_____ Under what circumstances would the therapist choosenot to treat a child/family?
_____ What are the treatment philosophies/goals of the therapist? _____ How long is the usual course of therapy?
_____ Does the initial assessment of the child/family meet ATTACh’s Standards of TherapeuticPro-cess (Go to: , Professional Practice Manual, pg. 14,Standards of Therapeutic Process)?
_____ How many therapists are part of the therapeutic process? _____ What attention is given to educating parents withregard to specialized attachment parenting?
_____ What attention is given to helping parents heal their own emotional issues? 
_____ Does the therapist make and use a contract between thetherapist(s) and the parent(s), between the parent(s) and the child, andbetween the child and the therapist(s)?
_____ Is treatment done with the parent(s) present and joining with the therapist(s) on behalf of the child? Are parents considered a part of the treatment team?
_____ Does the clinician work with the family and community to find supports for respite?
_____ How does the therapist maintain coordination and continuity of care among various providers?
_____ Is the clinician willing to participate in community meetings that involve the child’s welfare, i.e., school, court/probation, child welfare, etc.?
_____ Does the therapist’s orientation include what has become known as an “Intensive” (a duration of consecutive days of therapeutic treatment)?
_____If “Intensives” are used what is the therapeutic rationale for it (the“Intensive”)? What follow-up work is provided after an “Intensive”?
 _____ If a child is from out of town, is there an arrangement made for a follow-uptherapist in the child’s local area? Is the hometown therapist invited to participate in the therapeutic process?
 _____ Is the therapist willing to refer for additional assessments (for example, speech and hearing, sensory integration, medical and neurological evaluations)?
_______If holding techniques are utilized, who does the holding and what style is used? Is nurturing holding an important part of the treatment? ATTACh does not support intrusive, provocative, and co-ercive methods of treatment—see ATTACh’sPosition Paper: go to, About ATTACh, Position Papers).
_____What is the therapist’s specific plan to keep everyone safe (Go , Professional Practice Manual, page 23, Attach Safety Principles)?
Financial considerations
_____ How much does treatment cost?
_____ What funding sources are available to assist in the cost of treatment?
_____ Does the therapist take insurance? If so, what programs ishe/she eligible for?
 _____ Is private financial contracting an option?

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