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Attachments Disorder: Definition and Forms of Therapies


Attachment disorder is a disorder that mainly affects children and is characterized by opposition, defiance and indifference. Parents of children with this disorder have often experienced both physical and emotional frustrations in their attempts to connect with their children. These children do not have the skills necessary in the development of meaningful relationships. Whereas it has been demonstrated that this disorder can be treated, it is however important to note that the earlier it is recognized, the easier it is to be treated. This will involve the application of the right tools, patience, support, love and a great deal of time. It is best to understand that the applicable treatments for this disorder are progressive and as such demand great deals time.

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Attachments Disorder as a Dysfunctional Disorder

Attachment disorder is a dysfunctional disorder because it is characterized by the breakdown in almost all norms of social systems. “It is characterized by a breakdown of ability to develop normal or beneficial relationships between members of a group” (Center for Family Development, 1). In addition to the above, these children have difficulty in taking control of their emotions which gives rise to mistrust, anger, lack of self worth and constant fear of socializing with others. They completely have a different view of the world and perceive the world as both dangerous and frightening.

Forms of Therapies

Insecure attachment has its foundations from poor parenting skills and a cohort of social ills in the society. They are also precipitated by poor relationships early in life that makes one feels abandoned, isolated and uncared for. According to Prior and Glaser (15) “The basic purpose of treatment is to help the child resolve a dysfunctional attachment and develop a healthy attachment and to help the child bond to the parents and to come to grips with the disappointment and anger at his/her first attachment figure(s) and their failure to parent”.

The difference between reactive attachment and insecure attachment is that insecure attachment always takes the path of a bonding psychotherapy while reactive attachment is help parents understand their children. According to Prior and Glaser (21) “Bonding psychotherapy (BP) is a specifically interactional, group therapeutic process for the treatment of disorders, which are connected to neurobiologically anchored psychosocial basic needs”. Therapy for reactive attachment on the other hand has been demonstrated to be comprised of three parts. The first is to help parents understand the internal psychological dynamics of their children while the second part involves the development of effective parenting skills. Third part, which has been described as the most important part involves the intensive and emotional work with the child.

Development Implications

Research articles and relevant literatures have abided in the fact that all forms of attachments have negative consequences if not attended to during the infant years. The qualities of personal relationships we are able to build in the course of life draw their foundations from the relationships that existed between us and our care-givers when we were young. This period in our lives gives us the power to cultivate social qualities that are critical in our future sociological needs. Development implications that have been projected include aversion to touch or physical affection. Individuals who were affected by attachment disorders perceive physical affection as a threat instead of producing positive feelings.

They are characterized by inability to control their emotions and are disobedient, defiant and over argumentative. This is correlated with their inabilities to control their anger that are demonstrated through tantrums or passive-aggressive behaviors. According to Center for Family Development (2), “individuals with backgrounds of reactive attachment disorder may hide their anger in socially acceptable actions, like giving a high five that hurts or hugging someone too hard”. In addition to the above, they have difficulty in showing genuine care, love and affection. “Individuals with history of reactive attachment disorder may act inappropriately affectionate with strangers while displaying little or no affection towards their parents” (Center for Family Development, 2).

Romanian Orphanage Case Study

The Romanian orphanage experience provided us with some of the most detailed information on attachment disorders. One important discovery was the relationship between insecure attachment and attachment disorder. Insecure attachment does not automatically translate to attachment disorder. One important lesson on the Romanian orphanages is the importance of a present positive parenting on a child. In addition to the above, it was clearly evident that orphaned “children below the age of two years are more likely to benefit the most by intensive nurturing and attachment whereas the older adopted child just does not have the ability to benefit from love and nurturing alone” (Federeci, 1). In addition to the above, the experience of the Romanian orphan children provided us with the ability to understand the role of positive attachment on children with cognitive impairment. Their inability to comprehend human emotions and affection remains an interesting path of study that has expounded our knowledge on the unique needs of cognitive impaired children and their difficulties in responding to human emotions because of the psychological damages that are the foundations of attachment disorders.

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In conclusion, the study of attachment disorders forms one of the most important social studies on the growth and development of human beings and thus provides us with background knowledge on the need for proper parenting. While the discussions presented here may not be complete, however, they form a basis on the understanding of background information learned from class.

Works Cited

  1. Federeci, Ronald. Development in Therapy: The Romanian Orphans Q&A. 1999.
  2. Prior, Vivien and Glaser, Danya. Understanding attachment and attachment disorders: theory, evidence and practice. New York: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2006.

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StudyCorgi. "Attachments Disorder: Definition and Forms of Therapies." December 7, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "Attachments Disorder: Definition and Forms of Therapies." December 7, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Attachments Disorder: Definition and Forms of Therapies'. 7 December.

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