What is trauma?

Trauma is not necessarily an event or collection of events someone experiences but rather how one makes sense of why those events happened to them in the first place.  For it to be traumatic the events have to compromise one’s sense of value and safety.  The belief that one is not valuable impacts their thinking negatively, impacting all their thoughts and keeping them stuck in the emotional pain of the trauma.

Can babies adopted at birth still have trauma and attachment issues?

Trauma passed down in the womb is referred to as epigenetic trauma.  The child can actually take on the mother’s history of the trauma while in-utero.  The child can also experience new trauma if the mother is experiencing it during pregnancy.

Can attachment issues present themselves at different ages?

Trauma and attachment issues can present themselves at different ages and in different ways.  One of the most common ages for it to appear is around 6 yrs. old or once the child starts school.  Children often can know they are adopted but not truly understand that means there is another person out there that gave birth to them.  Since trauma and attachment are connected to belief systems around value and safety the symptoms can arise and time those belief systems are triggered.  Common triggers include: reaching a new developmental stage, a new traumatic event or loss, or some form of re-experiencing of an old trauma or loss.  Trauma is the story you tell yourself about the pain you carry and anytime you change or reinforce that story you can trigger the presence of attachment and trauma issues.

Do you Hold children against their will or use “Rebirthing” as part of treatment?

NO.  The Attachment Institute of New England believes that for treatment to be productive all those involved must feel safe.  We understand that there have been treatment protocols that clinicians have used that included coercive touch in the name of treatment.  We do not support the use of restraints or coercive touch in treatment nor do we support the use “rebirthing techniques”.  Touch is vital to the attachment process and should always be offered in a nurturing way, we would not risk contaminating it.  A child is never forced to do anything against their will as part of this treatment.


Treatment services are considered out of network for most insurance companies.  Due to the overwhelming administrative time required for out of network agreements we no longer enter into such agreements directly with the insurance companies.  We are happy to provide you with a statement with all required information for you to submit to your insurance for reimbursement.

The only insurance we are currently paneled with is Massachusetts Behavioral Health Program (Beacon).  Under this insurance we are listed as an intensive out-patient program.  Should you have this insurance please contact us directly so we may share the specific protocol needed to request pre-approval of services.

How Do We Recognize Attachment Disorders?

People who are well-attached make us feel comfortable around them.  They express their emotions authentically and interact with us in a reciprocal manner.  People with attachment difficulties exhibit some or all of the following characteristics:

  • History of abandonment, including adoption, neglect, abuse, and/or multiple placements.
  • Indiscriminately seeks affection and/or comfort from strangers (pseudo-attachments).
  • Anti-social behaviors (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 (wetting, soiling, hoarding food).

How does the Attachment Institute of New England assess attachment disorders?

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

An assessment at the Attachment Institute of New England includes a structured interview of the person’s performance in various situations and contexts and a review of the birth and adoptive of foster families’ history.  Well-researched measures including the Achenbach’s Child Behavioral Checklist and the Randolph Attachment Disorder Questionnaire are also incorporated.  Communication with former and current therapists is encouraged.

How do we treat attachment disorders?

  • Treatment takes place in our outpatient setting following an assessment, during which the family demonstrates a satisfactory level of commitment to the identified client and willing to address one’s own issues.
  • 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 model that utilizes elements of multiple therapies including, cognitive behavioral therapy, object relations, psychodynamic therapy, family therapies, and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), a specialized form of treatment for trauma.
  • Treatment typically requires 12 to 16 2-hour sessions.
  • Sessions are usually one day a week or, in an intensive, every day for 2 weeks.
  • Therapists already involved with the family are encouraged to participate.
  • Primary caregivers are expected to attend each session.

How much does treatment cost?

Intake is $300.  The fee is $125 per clinician per hour.  Intensive and attachment therapies are typically 2 clinicians for 2 hours.  Each session costs $500 (2 clinicians/2 hours).

Location and phone number?

21 Cedar St, Worcester, MA

508-799-2663 (BOND)

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