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Tired of dealing with attachment? Nancy Thomas, Therapeutic Parenting Specialist, gives some fantastic advice on attachment therapy

Love is never wasted


ancy Thomas is an inspiring woman. Speaking to her, you can just hear the love in her voice. She really cares for children, especially those who have been unloved. Not only does she teach seminars and give training on how to care for children with attachment disorder, but after adopting and fostering a number of children she has lived it. She knows what she’s talking about. She’s been through the pain, the rejection and people thinking she’s the one with the issues... but most importantly, she’s seen the results. Nancy says: “When a foster carer has a ‘normal’, healthy child placed with them, there is grief, anger and fear at being taken from their parents ‘I want to talk to my mum’. These reactions are normal. The child is overwhelmed. They have no control, and they are like a raging bull.

“But if the child placed with you is really happy and says ‘Can I call you Mum?’, then that child is sick. Very sick.” Nancy compares this to how you might feel if your motherPhoto: Jessica Garro in-law turned up out of the blue and said, ‘Right, I’ve found you a new husband – he’s perfect. We’re going to meet him right now, and you’ll be staying there.’ You would not be happy! What about your husband? Your life? Your stuff?!

See a therapist

Nancy’s first tip is the importance of going to a therapist for attachment therapy. She says: “90% of the treatment is done in the home. The more educated the carer is, the better the success. But the first 10% is done by the therapist.”

“Children with RAD need structure and nurture”

If you see no progress:

Nancy says: “Children with RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder) need a balanced amount of structure (so they feel safe) and nurture (so they can grow). “If this balance is well done, but there is no forward progress, then

the child has a secret i.e. they’ve been abused, they’ve stolen something, they’ve hurt an animal… They have to put a lot of energy into keeping that secret. So if there’s a lot of no-forward-movement, it’s because of their secret.”

‘It’s my fault’...

If you find yourself thinking this is all

What is Attachment Disorder/Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)?

Attachment is the affectional tie between two people. This starts with the bond between the infant and mother, and becomes internally representative of how the child will form relationships with the world. Attachment Disorder is the condition in which individuals have difficulty forming lasting relationships. If a child has not attached to the mother and therefore created no loving bond as a baby, then they will not attach to the rest of the world. This damage is done by being abused or physically or emotionally separated from one primary caregiver during the first three years of life. They often show almost a complete lack of ability to be genuinely affectionate with others. They typically fail to develop a conscience and do not learn to trust. They do not allow people to be in control of them due to this trust issue. They do not think and feel like a normal person. They are filled with a deep-seated rage because of the abandonment they felt as infants.*

*Taken from This is not the full version - to read all the articles, subscribe for just £2. The printed copy comes out four times a year, and costs £7 to subscribe for the whole year. The printed copy has no extra adverts, just lots more advice, support, fun and personal articles. Email or subscribe at

Foster Families Winter 2010 Sample  
Foster Families Winter 2010 Sample  

A sample of our Winter issue... lots of fab articles to enjoy! Attachment advice, tips on overcoming bedwetting, delicious recipes and much...