Attachment Therapy on Trial: The Torture and Death of Candace Newmaker

Attachment Therapy on Trial: The Torture and Death of Candace Newmaker

Attachment Therapy on Trial: The Torture and Death of Candace Newmaker

Attachment Therapy on Trial: The Torture and Death of Candace Newmaker


Candace Newmaker was an adopted girl whose mother felt the child suffered from an emotional disorder that prevented loving attachment. The mother sought attachment therapy- a fringe form of psychotherapy- for the child and was present at her death by suffocation during that therapy. This text examines the beliefs of the girl's mother and the unlicensed therapists, showing that the death, though unintentional, was a logical outcome of this form of treatment.

The authors explain legal factors that make it difficult to ban attachment therapy, despite its significant dangers. Much of the text's material is drawn from court testimony from the therapists' trial, and from 11 hours of videotape made while Candace was forcibly held beneath a blanket by several adults during the therapy. This book also presents history connecting attachment therapy to century-old fringe treatments, explaining why they may appeal to an unsophisticated public. This book will appeal to general readers, such as parents and adoption educators, as well as to scholars and students in clinical psychology, child psychiatry, and social work.


The twentieth century closed with a decade devoted to the study of brain structure, function, and development that—in parallel with studies of the human genome—has revealed the extraordinary plasticity of biobehavioral organization and development. The twenty-first century opens with a decade focusing on behavior, but the linkages between brains and behavior are as dynamic as the linkages between parents and children and between children and environment.

The Child Psychology and Mental Health Series is designed to capture much of this dynamic interplay by advocating for strengthening the science of child development and linking that science to issues related to mental health, child care, parenting, and public policy.

The series consists of individual monographs, each dealing with a subject that advances knowledge related to the interplay between normal developmental process and developmental psychopathology. The books are intended to reflect the diverse methodologies and content areas encompassed by an age period ranging from conception to late adolescence. Topics of contemporary interest include studies of socioemotional development, behavioral undercontrol, aggression, attachment disorders, and substance abuse.

Investigators involved with prospective longitudinal studies, large epidemiologic cross-sectional samples, or intensely followed clinical cases or those wishing to report a systematic sequence of connected experiments are invited to submit manuscripts. Investigators from all fields in social and behavioral sciences, neurobiological sciences, medical and clinical sciences, and education are invited to submit manuscripts with implications for child and adolescent mental health.

Hiram E. Fitzgerald Susanne Ayres Denham Series Editors . . .

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