"If I accept you as you are, I will make you worse; however, if I treat you as though you are what you are capable of becoming, I help you become that."
--Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Carol Crow, founder of The Florida Institute for Family Attachment, has a specialized trauma/attachment-based practice with extensive training and experience, providing therapy using advanced techniques with clients with moderate to severe symptoms.
Attachment Therapy Philosophy:
Fundamental to our work is the recognition that these children are "doing the best they can" and that the basic underpinnings that make them so difficult to deal with, and make their lives to so trying, are tied to their feelings of "worthlessness." Since children that display these problems have experienced some form of trauma or loss, they have developed the "self belief" that they are fundamentally "unlovable" and therefore must stay "detached" from those who try to love them to protect their "self belief." They have collected "hard data" to prove their assumptions. This is the most important therapeutic information we use to help!
ATTACHMENT, per se, is "secondary" to healing the "self belief."
It is also very important for the adults who try to love them to realize that it is the very process of "loving" that may exacerbate negative behaviors which "push away" that uncomfortable mis-match between "self belief" and what the world is "wrong about." This is an important distinction that we at the Institute make in planning treatment and in the way we see these children and their families.
Of course, we recognize that helping children form healthy family connections is a necessary cornerstone for assuring stability and permanency during childhood and forging mutually rewarding relationships across the lifespan. Before trauma, loss and/or a history of maltreatment can be healed, a child must begin to attune to their primary caregivers, and see them as "strong enough to protect me from the things that scare me." Parenting in this way is quite different than one might think. It is "counter-intuitive" to the usual parenting impulses, and must be reworked by the caregivers to help the child "attune" to the "reliability" of the caregiver. Again, the "reliability" is defined in a new way, and not what one might have assumed in the past. When the parenting mode is adjusted and secured, it begins the possibility that the child can do the deep work necessary. Caregivers become the emotionally safe base and provide the foundation for effective trauma and loss treatment.
I believe that attunement and attachment can develop through fostering a unique partnership with the parent(s), who act as “therapeutic parents” during treatment. Parents are guided as they participate with their child in a number of state of the art treatment interventions. I use the Randolph movement assessment and various movement interventions to lessen the impact of developmental lags related to immaturities in the brain; therapeutic parenting; nurturing holding; developmental interventions; and narrative therapy, in preparation for trauma intervention with EMDR. Parents and involved extended family members are intricately involved as partners in all stages of treatment so that the child’s attachment is woven into the fabric of the family. I call this “Finding the Family Heart.” My role is to be mentor and “coach” for the parents in this effort. Together, we strive to redirect attachment toward the parents and family grouping.
I provide training and refer families to support groups and a therapeutic respite network that I have helped to develop in concert with a local non-profit. All of these elements are integral parts of my treatment philosophy. It is expected and predicted that families who are dealing with these special needs children may return periodically as they experience family or developmental crises or transitions. My goal is to be a periodic consultant for families I work with once the patterns of attachment are laid down for the child and trauma and losses have been addressed in treatment. Through the network and support groups, I encourage parents who are veterans of the process to develop as mentors to families who are just beginning their work. This mutual support is proving to be an essential element for families at all stages of their journey.
The Florida Institute for Family Attachment is my specialized attachment practice. I have combined extensive experience as a trauma specialist with this work with children and families to provide humanistic attachment approach that employs advanced techniques with clients with moderate to severe symptoms.
Some families who have been matched with children with identifiable attachment problems are referred for an adoption home study and assessments for the purpose of receiving the entire continuum of services and supports. This continuum of services seems to predict greater success for parents dealing with these difficult children.
I provide regular training for the community and throughout Florida on issues related to attachment and trauma, and accept interns on a very selective basis. More recently, I have been involved in coordinating regular training for new adoptive parents working with local child welfare agencies.