Dr Todd Nichols, PhD, LP
The Family Attachment and Counseling Center is a national leader in the treatment of children with behavior problems due to attachment disruptions, past trauma, and adoption issues utilizing the unique methodology, Family Attachment Narrative Therapy (FANT). FANT is designed to be used by parents. In partnership with parents, the team assesses the child or adolescent’s inner working model or what he believes about himself, adults, and the world to determine the meaning of his behavior. Parent-child observation, play assessment and observation and objective and projective testing might be used to assist in this assessment process. Parent narratives, play therapy, and EMDR are utilized to challenge the negative belief system.
Generally the parent begins with claiming narratives, stories which assist the parent and child or adolescent in developing or strengthening their emotional bond, and feeling of belonging to the family. A strengthened attachment creates a secure base from which the child can draw upon when stressed or anxious. Eventually, narratives are introduced to address stressful life events, problem solving, developmental/social issues and teaching of empathy and moral behavior. The parent may also use narratives to impart family values, faith, history, and rituals.
Narratives represent the ideal in parenting and convey the conviction that the child deserved to be wanted, cherished, celebrated, loved, and cared for by responsible parents he could trust. Narratives do not attempt to alter the memories of actual history; instead; they are introduced to new possibilities for positive beliefs about self and others. The narratives convey unconditional love and belief that problem behavior does not define the child/adolescent’s value and that the parent will be there to love and support him as he makes changes.
Other therapeutic techniques may be used, including Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), audio-visual entrainment (AVE), neurological reorganization, equine-assisted therapy, non-directional play therapy, and family or individual counseling. The environment of physical and emotional nurturing permits powerful healing in both the child and parents.