Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)


Social Work

First Advisor

Felicia Sy


Social Work


Children diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) have experienced pathological care and disruption of early attachment experiences, resulting in disorganized attachment with caregivers, as well as a myriad of complex symptoms and behaviors. Little research exists regarding effective treatment for children diagnosed with RAD, leaving both mental health professionals and caregivers wanting. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore effective treatment for children diagnosed with RAD through the lens of mental health professionals. Seven experienced mental health professionals were interviewed regarding their perceptions on effective therapeutic treatment that contributes to increased attachment bonds with caregivers and decreased RAD symptoms. Analysis of the data revealed key themes, which were organized into a theory representative of an effective therapeutic process. Findings demonstrated an overarching conceptual framework of Attachment Theory emphasizing the core themes of theory and research, professional competency, assessment and evaluation, an attuned therapeutic dyad, and community collaboration. These key themes may contribute to increased attachment bonds between children and their caregivers, as well as resolve of symptoms. Future research that addresses and refines these critical components is necessary for prevention, effective treatment, increased professional competency and decreased societal stigmas towards children diagnosed with RAD and their caregivers.

Included in

Social Work Commons