Never Let Me Go: Raising Awareness of Holding Therapy in the UK

Are you aware of Holding Therapy? If not, I wouldn’t be surprised, many social workers psychiatrists and psychologists are not either. This is despite the fact that substantial amounts of public money have been spent on it over the last decade in the UK. Holding Therapy is a highly intrusive therapy which is used with some of the most vulnerable children in the country. Originally developed in the USA, particularly around the area of Evergreen in Colorado, it involves the holding of a child in a lying position by two therapists. A description of this practice can be found in Wikipedia (Holding Therapy is also known as Attachment Therapy).

In  2006 the British Association of Adoption and Fostering issued an extensive position statement that highlighted the fact that Attachment Therapy is “neither justifiable or effective”. It states that the nature of the therapy “effectively makes it impossible to withdraw consent”. The statement also contains a final paragraph headed “The dangers of institutional abuse of children”. The British Journal of Social Work has recently published an article attempting to rehabilitate the practice and an article will shortly be published in the journal in response to this.  This blog will later provide more information on the history, politics and economics of Holding Therapy but, in the meantime, it may be helpful to look at the information available through the links (Wikipedia is a good place to start).

This is a call for people in the UK to find out more about Holding Therapy. As UK taxpayers we are funding this highly controversial practice and, as responsible citizens, I feel we are responsible for understanding what is being done to our most vulnerable children.

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2 Responses to Never Let Me Go: Raising Awareness of HoldingTherapy in the UK

  1. Hello!

    I came here from Monica Pignotti’s blog, where you put your link.

    I do feel it is very important for social workers and for everybody to understand holding therapy and related coercive treatments.

    And I look forward to following this blog as you uncover more.

    3.4 in the BAAF statement is an important statement. And so of course is point 6.2 – the first bullet point.

    I would like to see some examples of 6.7. [institutional abuse].

    Let this aspect of England be invisible no more!


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