Reactive attachment disorder (RAD) is a rare, but very serious, mental health disorder that develops in infancy or early childhood when a child’s caregivers do not provide him or her with the appropriate affection needed to establish healthy bonds and develop positive emotional attachments. When denied this compassion during the critical stages of development, children are placed at risk of being unable to obtain a sense of safety in any environment, as well as being denied the ability to learn how to appropriately trust others. As they continue to grow, children with reactive attachment disorder fail to find the comfort of creating fulfilling relationships or attachments, leaving them feeling as though the only thing that they can expect from the people around them is rejection, hostility, or denial. They learn to respond to perceived negativity by reacting with the same negativity. This reaction can ultimately be the result of the onset of reactive attachment disorder.
Resource Treatment Center is a residential placement for children and adolescents between the ages of 11 and 21 who are in need of a safe, secure, and structured setting while addressing behavioral and emotional impairments and deficits. All of our programs are designed to provide intensive mental health treatment for psychiatric, behavioral, and/or chemical dependency concerns in a comfortable and nonthreatening environment that is conducive to healing and recovery. At Resource, we recognize that having a child who is suffering from reactive attachment disorder can be devastating and leave you feeling helpless, but we are here to help both you and your child. Our compassionate staff has years of experience helping children learn to gain control of their symptoms and develop the coping skills needed to successfully move forward towards a bright and happy future.
Helping a Loved One or Family Member Get Treatment
It can easily be argued that reactive attachment disorder is one of the most difficult disorders to watch a child struggle with. Having a child with this devastating illness can be confusing and heart-breaking, and while you know that your child needs help, you may be unsure as to what role you can play in getting him or her the intensive treatment that he or she needs. The following are some things to take into consideration that may be able to assist you as you begin on your child’s road to recovery:
- First and foremost, understand that there is no shame in seeking help. The sooner that your child begins participating in treatment, the greater his or her chance at successfully overcoming the symptoms of RAD.
- Educate yourself about reactive attachment disorder. The more knowledge you have, the greater the insight you will have into what your child is experiencing.
- Maintain realistic expectations. The severity of reactive attachment disorder does not elicit a quick and immediate response to treatment. Recognize that you most likely have a long road ahead of you so it is important to celebrate small successes and focus on each step that is being made.
- Foster an empathic and supportive environment that allows your child to know that you are going to stay by his or her side every step of the way.
- Remain positive and hopeful. Children can be greatly affected by the emotions of those around them and will pick up on any negativity or bitterness, potentially hindering successful healing.
- Understand that you will be unable to successfully help your child if you do take care of yourself as well. Find support groups. Lean on other people in your life so that you do not feel as though you are dealing with all of these challenges on your own. It is okay to rely on family and friends for encouragement and reassurance.
Why Consider Treatment at Resource
The long-term effects that can result from untreated reactive attachment disorder can be devastating for a child. It can permanently hinder a child from developing both socially and emotionally, leaving them incapable of relating interpersonally to adults or peers. RAD often leaves children with a strong aversion to touch, as well as an inability to develop genuine feelings of compassion towards others, causing them to fail to develop and maintain significant interpersonal relationships. Extreme anger problems, the onset of control issues, and an underdeveloped conscience can all be negative effects of unaddressed RAD as well. However, when children receive proper therapeutic interventions, they have a much greater chance of overcoming their symptoms and preventing the occurrence of these long-term effects.
Residential treatment programs can be one of the most beneficial ways for children and adolescents who are suffering from reactive attachment disorder to receive the intensive treatment that they need. When children enter into a residential treatment program, they are instantly walking into a safe environment where they will be monitored with compassionate and empathetic care 24/7. Entering into this type of environment provides them with a structured, yet therapeutic, setting in which they can confront their challenges, learn the skills to overcome those challenges, and begin to learn how to appropriately interact with others, while also learning the importance of developing healthy concern for and trust in others.
Program Philosophy or Benefits
Resource Treatment Center is dedicated to providing structured and therapeutically intensive treatment that offer comprehensive, efficient, and effective programming that is designed to meet the needs of the youth and the families that we serve. At Resource, we focus on providing a safe and comfortable environment while the children and adolescents in our care receive individualized services tailored to meet their specific needs. We strive to deliver programming that allows youth to experience a sense of normalcy while taking part in the treatment process, and also benefiting from a vast array of services that are centered on an evidence-based therapeutic foundation. Maintaining the goal of stabilizing emotional, behavioral, and psychological symptoms, the staff at Resource guides patients through treatment so that they can be successfully reintegrated back into the community.
Types of Treatment Offered at Resource
At Resource Treatment Center, we utilize a number of sound, evidence-based practices that are designed to produce successful treatment outcomes. Upon arrival at Resource, each youth is evaluated using multiple assessment tools, allowing us to appropriately match therapeutic treatment techniques with each patient’s unique needs, risks, and strengths. We offer two separate, distinct residential treatment programs that include our psychiatric residential treatment (PRTF) and our general residential program (RTC). The intake assessment that our patients take part in prior to admission will determine which program is better suited to fully meet the needs of each child. We implement a phase system approach to treatment in which each patient is required to go through four specific phases in order to successfully complete programming. These phases include identification, connection, demonstration, and contribution. Both the PRTF program and the RTC program include the following treatment methods:
Medication management: Every patient who takes part in one of the programs here at Resource will meet with a psychiatrist regularly in order to monitor any medication needs. Youth in the PRTF program will see a psychiatrist on a weekly basis while those in the RTC program see a psychiatrist on a monthly basis.
Individual therapy: Individual therapy sessions are held on a weekly basis and are meant to be a time for each patient to meet one-on-one with a therapist in order to focus on the application and generalization of new skills. These skills can then be implemented in the child’s home and community life. We also offer individual skills-building sessions that focus on six specific proficiencies, including: social, emotional, educational, self-care, health and wellness, and daily living skills.
Group therapy: Group therapy sessions are held at a minimum of once per day, but children may participate in more groups depending on their specific needs. We have a number of different types of groups that cover a variety of different topics, including mood regulation, anger management, social skills, independent living skills, and healthy coping skills. The main purpose of group therapy is to provide a structured, skills-based program that allows for learning skills to be developed while also promoting specific critical skills in a structured and encouraging setting.
Family therapy: Family therapy sessions are held at least every two weeks, but may occur more often if family members are local or request more sessions. During this time, therapists will move the family unit as a whole through the treatment process in order to enhance motivation and establish a collaborative approach. Additionally, every Tuesday night we hold a family night in order to help educate family members about their child’s disorder and treatment process.
School programming: At Resource Treatment Center, all patients attend a fully accredited on-site school for three hours each day. Classes are held in a traditional classroom setting and are led by fully qualified special education teachers. Additional school services are offered, including credit recovery and GED preparation.
In addition to our regular treatment techniques, we also offer a number of experiential programming options, including:
- Daily recreational group therapy
- Girl Scouts (Boy Scouts program will be starting in the near future)
- Community volunteering opportunities
- Community outings
- Spiritual youth group ministry
- Teen outreach program
- Pro-social activities
- Student council
- Computer lab
- Holiday activities
- Special ceremonies in which awards are given to celebrate successes
- NA meetings for youth who are struggling with substance abuse concerns
Other services that are offered as part of our comprehensive programming include:
- 24-hour medical and nursing coverage
- Crisis intervention
- Dental and vision care
Continuing Care and Levels of Treatment
All discharge planning begins once a child has been admitted to our program. Here at Resource, we place a high priority on effective discharge planning in order to ensure that all continuing care needs are in place before the child leaves our treatment center. We have a criteria put in place to warrant a successful discharge. The criteria that a child must meet in order to be considered safe to successfully discharge include the following:
- Youth has reached a level of stability in which this level of placement is no longer needed
- Youth displays significantly improved conditions by exhibiting little or no maladaptive behaviors
- Youth is able to articulate plans to manage his or her emotional and/or behavioral responses in regards to various psychosocial stressors
- Youth is better able to manage potential family conflict
- The family of the youth has demonstrated a commitment towards successful reunification based on their level of participation in their child’s treatment
- There are reasonable expectations that the youth will be compliant with family rules and expectations, as well as remain free from legal involvement
- Youth has articulated plans to manage independent living skills, such as employment, school, etc.
- Youth has taken an active part in his or her discharge planning and can reasonably be expected to follow through on all aspects of that discharge plan
- Youth demonstrates the ability to maintain a lower risk of participating in unsafe behaviors that present them as a risk to the community