Holding therapy is a treatment used primarily with adopted or fostered children who are showing some behavioral difficulties. Usually, the main problem is that children have difficulties bonding with their adoptive parents because of suppressed rage due to past abandonment, so they show some form of attachment issues like a mood disorder or inability to form healthy relationships. These issues may arise because a child didn’t have an opportunity to form normal connections to care giving figures in early childhood. We know that adoption is a wonderful journey that brings families together, but children need to learn that. Holding therapy is used to build trust with adoptees and to show your children that you are there for them.

Understanding Attachment Issues:

A weak attachment bond can result in both emotional and social developmental disruptions. This usually happens if a child is separated from parents or have suffered from trauma at an early age. These issues may have an effect on a child’s ability to form healthy and secure attachments later in life. Studies have shown that almost 35% of adopted children experience some kind of attachment issues. Some signs of insecure attachment may include the following.

  • Rejection of touch.

  • Rejection of emotional connection.

  • A lack of interest in interactive play.

  • Frequent crying.

  • Avoidance of eye contact.

  • Negative and angry behavior.

Children who have attachment issues can benefit from holding therapy because it’s a way of showing children what healthy parental relationships look like.

Holding Therapy:

When adoptive parents notice first signs of attachment issues, it’s recommended to find a professional and consult him/her about the following steps. Therapists often instruct parents to follow programs of treatment at home. Parents are advised to provide sessions in which older children and babies are treated as if they were infants to rebuild damaged aspects of early development. There are some important characteristics of holding therapy.

  • A child must express rage in order to improve because it’s dangerous to hold negative emotions inside. When you allow your child to express emotions, a child can learn to love and build a trusted relationship with you.

  • Holding therapy has taught many adoptive parents about the power of touch. Parents are encouraged to hug their children because this may be therapeutic.

  • An important part of holding therapy is to tell children what are they feeling. This way parents may show children how they understand those feelings and are there for them to protect them from negative emotions.

Holding therapy is a way of building a healthy relationship with your child. Before pursuing with this method, you should confirm that your child has attachment issues. Visit a psychologist who has experience with adoptees. Talk openly about your problems, and try to find a solution that’s going to work best for your family. If you and your psychologist decide that holding therapy is a good choice, you can even consider talking to parents who have been through the same situation. If they’re willing to share their experiences, that could also be helpful.