As we wrap up Thanksgiving this year and look toward the rest of the holiday season, we give thanks and count our blessings here at the Institute for Attachment and Child Development. As we do, we’d like to give special attention to the angels who walk and work among us – our therapeutic treatment parents. They are one of the most pivotal pieces to our successful treatment model here at the Institute.
All of our therapeutic treatment parents have come to us out of their own personal experiences with children with reactive attachment disorder. Most of them are parents of kids with RAD themselves. Our newest therapeutic treatment parents to join our team are Ken and Tina. Listen to the video above as they share their story of Tina as a stepmom, their journey through misdiagnoses with their son, and how they ultimately found the Institute for Attachment and Child Development and then became treatment parents for us.
We’ve written in the past about what doesn’t typically work for kids overcoming trauma, including in-home treatment services and residential treatment centers. This time, we’re highlighting what does work. Although many people and ideas come together to make our model successful, our therapeutic treatment parents remain at the core.
Here’s why we center our model upon our therapeutic treatment parents:
- We work with the whole family, not just the children overcoming trauma. In order to work with the whole family, we need people who not only understand reactive attachment disorder, but also what it’s like to parent kids with RAD. No one understands that better than parents who’ve been there themselves.
- We need people who care about children who can be very difficult to be around, to say the least. While our treatment parents get a tremendous amount of training once hired, they come to us with the essentials no one can “earn” through a college degree. They have more patience, empathy, and love in their hearts than most people.
- Children overcoming trauma need stable environments in which to heal and consistent adults with whom they can develop relationships and learn to trust. That said, we need people who are going to stay for a long time. Because our treatment parents have been through it themselves, they have a personal commitment to help other families heal. Our treatment parents have made conscious decisions to give their careers and lives to help children overcome trauma and to walk alongside parents just like themselves.
- Our goal is to help children to live and build healthy relationships within a family, not to merely work a system and jump through hoops to appear “healed”. To do so, we need real environments and real people to build real relationships. Just like other parents, our treatment parents don’t go home at the end of the day while another person steps in. They’re already home. They choose to invite our clients into their homes and into their lives.
For Ken and Tina, and all our other treatment parents, we are so thankful. Happy holidays.