British Journal of Social Work Publish Article on Holding Therapy

The British Journal of Social Work have published an article which attempted to rehabilitate Holding Therapy in the UK. The original study, which concerned the same organisation described elsewhere in this blog, was undertaken a number of years ago. The recently published findings have been critiqued in an article by Professor Jean Mercer which can be found at –

My sense is that the publication of this article will be a key event in the campaign to raise awareness of Holding Therapy in the UK.

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2 Responses to The British Journal of Social Work Publish Article on Holding Therapy

  1. Fainites

    Most interesting article. Extraordinary that Sudbery et al. don’t reference the APSAC report.

  2. Local-Impact

    “Having presented some reasons why I believe that the Sudbery et al. paper has failed in its rehabilitative efforts, I want to present some counter-claims about HT: ”
    – I totally agree with these reasons..Good work letting people know about this.

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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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First-Hand Account of Holding Therapy in the UK

As far as I am aware this is the first time a first-hand account of Holding Therapy in the UK has been published on the internet. I have seen and heard evidence from a number of sources that reassures me that this description is genuine. This child would have experienced this treatment on a regular basis between the ages of 11 and 13 and the sessions sometimes could last for several hours, usually only ending when the child submitted to the authority of the therapists. Holding Therapy will probably have taken place today with a number of different children, sometimes as young as 8.

The Therapy sessions them selves were quite traumatic

One other adult usally one of the unit residential staff   had to lie down feet on the one adult who would then hold the feet down  on the top half  one hand behind the therapist back been held by the person sat next to her one hand place on my chest held down my the therapist  and constant forced eye to eye contant if i looked way my head would have been pinned in the direction of the therapist and if i tried to say no another hand would firmly clasped over my mouth which would send me into a fit of rage  all this was also backed up with alot of shouting and swearing the therapist would say things like is this what your fucking birth mum did to you did she  and the hand would come of my mouth for a responce this seemed to go on for ages
in the end i was so drained and broken and scared i just said yes in therapy i was constanly prevented from rubbing my eye if i had an itch prevented from stretching prevented from doing all nataural that i human being does to relive a discomfort and sureley that is taking away  a basic human right
but at the end of each session broken  tired it was kind of drilled in that all this was ok and they always managed to manipulate you to feeling ok when you left the session. another time i was wrapped in a blankett  pind down and held so tight  all i could feel was fright so i responded again with agression looking back this is what they wanted break you down to comply. i also attented so called   intensive therapy where there would be 2 therapist again pinned down basicly given torrents of abuse poked proded until i reached agression again.  I was i liveley lad growing up always trying to push boundries but during my time at  ……………   turned into this agressive monster attacked so many staff bit them punched them hit  i had many bruises from this place and sometimes looked quite ill and run down i kept getting told they would help me but infact it was there methods that were turning me into somthing else in one instance i had splints put on my arms to imobilise me then they woud start laughing at amd humiliating me and again i went into a rage put power less as i was splinted  in the end my violence got so out of contol i as kicking off every day staff were hospitalised in the end it was decided ……. couldnt meet my needs due to the increase in violent behaviour  which now  but that is what they turned me into  after meeting and meeting  its was decided i should go into a secure unit but then at the last second  …………… said i want to foster this boy   my therapist and director of ………fostering well that is a different story for years in the placement with them was ruled by fear and attachment therapy was never mentioned in her home she would bring kids back from work and make them sleep  on the stairs on the floor and make them look after her disabled son who would often beat them up just to make them apprciate there own home this therapy is not about helping children its about making a child love or attach through fear! i tried to tell my head teacher in the late 90′s about what was going on she seemed concerned but again ……. and …….. got away with it and i got the biggest bollocking of my life. as for the staff in the units them selves were taken young carers with no experience  been manipulated to work the ………. way  alot have staff have left as they felt this was wrong and one member of staff in my defence reported the dog bone incident and also reported doctoring of ……. logs to put ……….. in a better light which i have in …………………whilst in the care of ………and ………… to my knolledge never had an inderpendent evaluation until i was 14 when i went to the ……….. with ………..  to be assed which was not inderpendent as the doctor was a freind of ………… once these people have these children in there care its kept very close to…….. the ouside world was totally oblivious  to what was going on in my mind as social workers didnt understand the practices now i am left with anixety and never 100% trust anyone  i am rid with guilt i feel stupid  as i said am trying another therapy through the NHS to fix all the crap ……………….and …………….. did to me

i hope this is ok for starters if there is any direct question you wish to ask please do so as i do seem to rambble on some what


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11 Responses to First-hand Accountof Holding Therapy in the UK

  1. Thanks so much for telling this part of your story. Many survivors of holding therapy are too intimidated and anxious to let the public know their experiences, but it’s only through individual bravery like what’s shown here that we can be sure to put a stop to cruel and inappropriate treatment masquerading as psychological intervention.

  2. You’ve done a great job of explaining how it was so that all can understand the abuse of holding therapy.Thank you.

  3. I found your blog through Jean Mercer, thank you for getting this kind of therapy and it’s destructive techniques out in the open. I just recently have gotten to the point where I can talk about my similar experiences from my youth. Hopefully the more people who speak out the more likely that this dark chapter of child therapy will come to a close.

  4. Fainites

    Well done for exposing this. I admire your courage.

  5. Thank you for having the courage to come forward and blow the whistle on this abuse in the name of “therapy”. The more people who do this, the more the mental health establishment is going to have no choice but to take these complaints seriously. Shame on the profession and on licensing boards for looking the other way in many different countries.

  6. Daisy

    Thank you for sharing your experiences of HT. I heard about it when I lived in Manchester in the 80/90′s but I was confused about it.
    I worked in the residential care system in the 90s and although I didn’t witness anything like what you went through but I agree that children and young people were sometimes negelected and abused by those who were suppose to be protecting and caring for them. I left in the end after challenging many things but because I could not bear to a part of it anymore and even unit managers were not listened to by those with the power to make a difference. A Senior manager, with overall responsibility for all of the residential units inthe area, would visit from time to time and she really was completely out of touch and uninterested – she would chat on about her own children, their many talents and how they loved snowboarding. Insensitive and self important!
    During my time there, one girl was raped (not within the home but by an older person that she knew). A senior member of staff told me she did not believe the girl – she said she had spoken with one of the police officers investigatin who had said she could tell when a victim was lying. I challenged this and was listened to but only because i had previous experience working with rape victims. In fact the girl’s own account was wholly credible and there was no reason at all to doubt her – she was in a state of trauma and that was clear to everyone.
    I have heard countless stories of abusive foster care and I witnessed so much indifference within the residential system (specifically within the social services higher management, the police and some health professionals). I was lucky in that I had two managers who were very committed to young people but it was almost impossible to challenge the system. The young people had no voice and not power over there own lives. It was even worse in the private sector. Often people do not disclose such things until later in adulthood, so many of those stories have yet to come out.
    Your story is very important and you tell it with an emotional intelligence that is very powerful. Good for you for speaking out and for telling the truth of what happened to you. I can ony imagine how horrific your experiences were – they need to be heard because most people have no idea that these things went on – do they still go on?
    Above all I that hope that you get the support and the healing that you so much deserve.
    warmest wishes to you

  7. anonymous

    It was a good thing you survived. be strong and don’t be afraid to get back on those who have hurt you. show them that you were not intimidated with what they did to you. show them that you are stronger than them and they can never let you down. stay strong and carry on with life!

  8. A

    Your story is incredible..I can´t say how much I admire you….I´m from Czech republic and I do some translating for an organization which is trying to stop this “Holding epidemy” in my country…and I have one question..what are the dots in your story for…I´m affraid, that my knowledge of english is not that great yet, and because I would like to translate your story properly, co it can be understood poperly, I need to know that. Would you please explain it to me?
    And once again…you are very brave, and thank you very much for exposing this dark part of your life to us, hope it will help to stop this crazy conduct.

  9. A.
    Thank you for your comments. The dots are in place of the names of the therapist and the organisation that conduct this therapy.
    It would be great if this account could be publicised in your country

  10. Rose

    Incredible guts – every good wish for a happy future for you

  11. faith

    You are so Brave! who ever these people need to be brought to some sort of justice


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