To the Editor.

Recent work published in Pediatrics emphasized the growing role of pediatricians as identifiers of children's psychosocial and developmental problems and as sources of referrals for treatment. I am writing to comment on an unconventional treatment of behavioral problems that pediatricians may hear about from parents.

This approach, called “holding therapy” or “attachment therapy,” is practiced by a number of social workers, psychologists, physicians, and others. It is recommended by some adoption organizations as a treatment for poor relationships between adopted children and their parents. Unfortunately, “holding therapy,” which involves physical restraint, has been associated with >1 death, the most recent one being that of a 10-year-old girl in Colorado in April 2000. There is little evidence of the usefulness of the treatment in any case, and, although its practitioners claim the approach is based on the developmental theory of John Bowlby, there is no logical connection between...

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