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Attachment Therapy on Trial: The Torture and Death of Candace Newmaker (Child Psychology and Mental Health) Hardcover – May 30, 2003


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Product Details

  • Series: Child Psychology and Mental Health
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Praeger (May 30, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0275976750
  • ISBN-13: 978-0275976750
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,103,858 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

A fine balance of scholarship and passion. This will hopefully be read by those struggling with parenting and weighing options. -- Scientific Review of Mental Health Practices, Spring/Summer 2004 Vol 3 Number 1

Book Description

The tragic and shocking story of a 10-year-old girl who was suffocated during a fringe therapy illuminates legal issues that make it difficult to ban such practices.


More About the Author

Jean Mercer is a developmental psychologist, with a doctoral degree from Brandeis University. She taught infant and child development, statistics, experimental psychology, and history of psychology for many years at Richard Stockton College in Pomona, NJ. Jean has two sons, two stepsons, and two grandsons, and hopes they have not stopped making little girls-- although boys are a lot of fun too.

Jean's most recent book, "Child Development: Myths & Misunderstandings", came out of her teaching experiences and her awareness of the things everybody knows, that don't happen to be true. She is pursuing the same issues on http://childmyths.blogspot.com and on http://blogs.psychologytoday.com/blog/child-myths. She would like instructors who are considering using "Myths & Misunderstandings" to note the unpublished paper on childmyths.blogspot-- a discussion of the use of critical thinking concepts in teaching developmental psychology.


Readers who are surprised at the highly variable ratings of Jean's books on Amazon should note that not everyone likes their myths and misunderstandings to be corrected!

Customer Reviews

2.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 16 people found the following review helpful By BeatleBangs1964 VINE VOICE on September 18, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Exploitation is the theme of this book. Parents are exploited by such fringe groups of unlicensed "therapists" into going along with quackery and other questionable methods. Most people are determined to keep their child(ren) from being labelled, but that does not appear to be the case in this book.

This book brings to light the horrors and emotional atrocity of Attachment Therapy (AT) aka holding therapy. Anybody who has a child who has been diagnosed with RAD will want to read this book. AT is a form of abuse and quacks like the Tinbergens who were ornithologists and NOT experts on autism as well as Martha Welch tout this method. No scientific evidence is presented to support their claims; only unproven anecdotes are offered. If AT/holding therapy really worked, then everybody would be doing it and nobody would have autism or attachment disorders.

On the other hand, Candace, the child featured in this book has an account that has been proven. Court testimony and video tapes have shown this to be a dangerous practice in some cases. Had this child been treated by reputable professionals who were at the very least licensed, she might be alive today. The authors of this book did a good job of exposing this form of fringe treatment for the crock and emotional fraud that it is and uncovered a sad truth about how it claimed a casualty.
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10 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Kyle Jimenez on March 6, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book pulls together information from many different places allowing the reader to view a concise overview of the problem that is "attachment therapy".
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Hitt on March 21, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Review
A fine balance of scholarship and passion. This will hopefully be read by those struggling with parenting and weighing options. -- Scientific Review of Mental Health Practices, Spring/Summer 2004 Vol 3 Number 1
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3 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Charles E. Hannasch on July 16, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Ever since I first read the title of this book I was somewhat concerned.
As part of the Newmaker trial coverage for a national news service bureau in Denver, one day during the trial while coming out for lunch I cornered lead prosecutor Steve Jensen and asked him what his prosecution was based on.
Was it going to put "attachment therapy on trial?"
Jensen's answer was simple and straight-forward.
"No!"
He intended on pursuing a very narrow prosecution to prove that Watkins and Ponder were responsible under the terms of the state's child abuse / homicide statute for the death of Candace Newmaker. Child abuse/homicide is the most serious felony in the Colorado state criminal code.
Thus, with the title, the authors are fraudulenty trying to assert something which simply is not true. The only part of the Newmaker trial that was concerned with the value of Attachment Therapy was the defense. And, unfortunately, that was because of the existence of a videotape which showed Watkins and Ponder "in the act." The defense had no other alternative than to assert that it was simply a mistake of the therapy. Certainly, if the videotape did not exist, the defense would have probably have opted for a different defensive strategy.

And, unfortunately, the book does have several factual errors ... such as the notation by Mr. Patterson. A check with the local Midvale, Utah police department shows Krystal's date of birth as December 7, 1991, and her date of death as July 7, 1995, making her three years, eight months old at her death.
However, Mr. Patterson was incorrect in his statement about the spelling of Newmaker's name. It is correctly spelled J-E-A-N-E.
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16 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Psychologist on June 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The difficulty with this book, from its title onwards, is the fact that it uses one example of bad practise to brand a whole style of therapy, a massive section of child development theory, research and practise dangerous and bad.

Attachment theory is highly evidence based, established over decades, and extremely useful in understanding the nature of human relationships. The fact that children who experience abuse and neglect from their carers in early life generally find making new attachments more difficult is proven beyond doubt. And therefore a number of therapies have developed, some very stronly based on evidence and implemented by highly skilled and professionally trained and licensed clinicians, and others that were less effective or evidence based and more controversial.

So, yes, bad examples of practise exist (as they do in every corner of the world in every field) and it is extremely sad that they have led to deaths, and I'm totally in favour of greater regulation of therapy professions if we can prevent or reduce malpractise. However, the implication of this book is to not only tar these examples, but to tarnish all therapists who work on attachment issues or even believe that they exist! It is the equivalent of finding one brand of anti-depressant medication that in rare cases can cause death, investigating one death, and then saying that proves not only that all anti-depressants are bad, but that it is proof that depression doesn't exist.

I'm generally quite against the medical/American idea that every presentation needs a diagnosis that places the problem within the individual (in this case, placing the attachment disorder within the child, when attachment is a relationship and only shows between TWO people).
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