The Attachment Institute of New England
Rebuilding Broken Bonds

Clinical Services

To attach is instinctive. Attachment behaviors are necessary for an infant’s survival because they promote caretaking from parents. Healthy attachment develops as a result of the cycle that occurs when an infant expresses a need and someone in the environment satisfies that need. When needs are repeatedly not met the infant cannot develop trust. Instead, a negative blueprint of the world is developed that can have serious consequences on the person’s social, emotional, and physical development.

Signs of unhealthy attachments influde:
  • History of abandonment, neglect, abuse, and/or multiple placements
  • Indiscriminately seeks affection and/or comfort from strangers (i.e., pseudo-attachments)
  • Anti-social behaviors (e.g., lying, stealing, manipulating, destructiveness, cruelty, fire-setting, aggression)
  • Lack of authenticity, spontaneity, flexibility, and empathy
  • Lack of physical affection and closeness and/or inappropriate clinginess
  • Poor eye contact
  • Problems with learning, attending, self-regulating, self-monitoring
  • Abnormal eating and elimination patterns (e.g., wetting, soiling, hoarding food)


Assessing and Treating Attachment Disorders in Children

Identifying symptoms of attachment problems is only one part of a diagnosis. A diagnosis should only be made by a licensed professional trained in working with children, families and adults familiar with adoption and trauma issues.

An assessment at the Attachment Institute includes a structured interview with the adults in the family, evaluating the child's performance in various situations or contexts. It also includes a review of the person's history, as well as the family's history.


Attachment and Trauma Focused Therapy
  • Treatment takes place in our outpatient setting following an assessment, during which the family demonstrates a satisfactory level of commitment to the identified client.
  • Families are provided with a list of reading, materials and other resources and are encouraged to utilize these throughout the course of treatment.
  • Attachment and Trauma Focused Therapy is an integrative treatment that utilizes elements of multiple therapies including cognitive-behavioral, object relations, psychodynamic, family therapies and biofeedback.
  • Treatment typically requires 10 to 14 two-hour sessions
  • Sessions are usually scheduled one day a week or every day for two weeks.
  • Families learn to develop emotional attunement to address the person's affective dysregulation.
  • In most cases two therapists are assigned to each family.
  • Therapists already involved with the family are strongly encouraged to participate.
  • The child is frequently held by the parents in a nurturing way.
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), a specialized form of treatment for trauma, may also be used.
  • Specialized educational and support groups are offered to primary caretakers.
  • School consultations and training are also provided.
  • The fee for each session is $500.00. Some financial assistance may be available.
Dr. Suzanne Allen runs a parent support group for parents of children with Reactive Attachment Disorder which is sponsored by Adoption Journeys of Central MA. The group meets at 21 Cedar Street in Worcester. Families do not need to be in treatment with us to participate. There is no cost to attend. Please contact Adoption Journeys for more information at (508) 753-5425.

All of our clinicians are registered members of ATTACh.

Please contact us to find out more about these services.