Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)

Reactive Attachment Disorder

Attachment issues may develop when the necessary emotional connection between a caregiver and a child is disrupted in the early, most vulnerable, years of a child's life. This break in attachment can be due to physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse or neglect. Other times it is due to multiple foster care placements or serious prolonged illness of the child or caretaker.

Children with attachment issues...
  • May not trust caregivers or adults in authority

  • May have extreme control problems

  • May not develop a moral foundation; little or no empathy, remorse, conscience or compassion for others

  • May lack the ability to give and receive genuine affection or love

  • May resist all efforts to nurture or guide them

  • May lie, steal, cheat and manipulate

  • May be impulsive and lack self-control

  • May be destructive, cruel, argumentative and hostile


Some experts believe that the vast majority of "kids who kill" suffer from undiagnosed attachment disorders. The Village Attachment Program works with these children to develop secure attachments.

The Therapy
Trained reactive attachment therapists, in The Village's Fargo office, conduct a full assessment to determine your child's needs. 

Outpatient therapy consists of weekly therapy sessions. The sessions involve both parents and children and are geared to improve the child's emotional functioning and to iron out problems between child and parent.  The sessions also help a child deal with early anger at having been abandoned or abused. The parents (biological, adoptive or foster parents) are often the target of the child's present anger and are present to help the child build a sense of trust.

In some cases, intensive therapy is recommended. Intensive therapy is three hours per day for two weeks, at The Village's Fargo office, and involves both the parent(s) and child.

While little research has been conducted on attachment treatment, those using it claim a high success rate. At The Village, the improvement in children's behavior has been amazing.

The best indicator of success of attachment treatment comes from the parents.

"The therapy, although at times extremely exhausting and difficult, was done in a gentle and nurturing way. More progress was made [at The Village] than in two-and-a-half years of conventional therapy."


"I believe that this therapy is the only thing that will truly help our daughter to accept love and sincerely give love back. I believe this work will allow her and our family to have a bright and happy future."

For more information or to make an appointment, contact The Village Family Service Center.