Reactive Attachment Disorder and Residential Treatment


There is no overnight cure for children and teens suffering from Reactive Attachment Disorder. However, placing a teen in a residential treatment facility that specializes in treating this disorder can immediately remove negative distractions and influences from their life. Residential treatment facilities offer around-the-clock care, individual and group therapy and high school credits to keep teens on track to graduate.

Residential treatment facilities have a higher success rate of treating teens with Reactive Attachment Disorder because they programs are more intensive than an outpatient program. Several different types of therapies are used in residential treatment facilities, including behavior and talk therapy, to help teens learn to establish secure and healthy attachments. A new method that has proven results specifically for teens with Reactive Attachment Disorder is animal therapy.

As part of their treatment, teens in a residential treatment facility help train service dogs that will eventually be used by people with disabilities. Animal therapy helps teens with reactive attachment disorder learn how to form a bond with a dog by putting them in charge of the animal’s daily care. Once the teen forms a loving attachment to the animal, it helps give them the skills and confidence to develop loving and healthy attachments to their parents, caregivers, siblings and peers.

Even though a teen lives away from home in a residential treatment facility, parental involvement is still an extremely important element in a teen’s successful recovery process from Reactive Attachment Disorder. Parents are encouraged to visit their teens every six to eight weeks and participate in family therapy sessions during those visits to help re-establish loving attachments. In addition, many residential treatment facilities also hold workshops just for parents several times each year. This is a great way to network with other families and caregivers who have teens with Reactive Attachment Disorder and establish an outside support system.

Residential treatment programs are an ideal way to remove distractions and help a teen dive head first into treatment for Reactive Attachment Disorder. These intensive 24/7 programs provide safety, structure and therapy to teens while still allowing them to earn credits toward graduation. Residential treatment programs featuring animal therapy are especially beneficial to teens suffering from Reactive Attachment Disorder because it teaches them in a practical way how to form loving attachments. Residential treatment facilities allows teens to practice healthy behaviors in a safe and secure setting, so they can return home with a fresh outlook and the skill set to form a loving bond with their family.