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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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"Here is a profoundly good book--humane, constructive, and scrupulously objective--about a case that could have been treated with sensationalism and melodrama. Attachment Therapy, the authors show, is only the most dangerous embodiment of a more general aberration: the founding of treatments on premises that have already been confuted by sound research. Every therapist and every legislator ought to take this important work to heart."-Frederick Crews Principal author, The Memory Wars
"Masterfully chronicles the chilling story of how a 10-year old girl, Candace, endured painful physical stimulation, was dangerously restrained, and eventually suffocated to death. In the name of 'curing her' with Attachment Therapy, Candace's therapists ignored her begging, screaming, and gasping; eventually they were convicted in criminal court. The extent to which some therapists embrace such unvalidated fringe treatments is one of the greatest scandals in today's mental health system. This damning indictment should stir a badly needed national debate about these practices, and aid in the fight against them."-Elizabeth Loftus, Ph.D. Distinguished Professor, University of California, Irvine
About the Author
JEAN MERCER is Professor of Psychology at Richard Stockton College. She is also currently President of the New Jersey Association for Infant Mental Health.
LARRY SARNER is an official with the American Association for the Humane Treatment of Children in Therapy, and a past Researcher with the National Council Against Health Fraud.
LINDA ROSA is a Researcher with the National Council Against Health Fraud.
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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.
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
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.
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.
It was also ironic that when I had lunch with Linda Rosa one day during the trial, that when I asked her about her thoughts on the Jeannie Warren case in Texas with "rage-reduction therapy," she said that she had never heard of it!
Yet, Larry Sarner and his wife / co-author Linda Rosa would leave the courtroom early every day to be ready to give sound bites to the Denver TV news media - about something that they both knew little, if anything about, at that time.
This book seems to reflect the same type of continuing mentality.