Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Attachment disorder in children-Etiology, Attachment disorder in children-Treatment, Freud, Sigmund, 1856-1939, Neurobiology, Psychic trauma in chldren, Social brain, Limbic system, Reactive attachment disorder, Attachment theory, Freud's trauma theory, Treatment for RAD


This theoretical thesis argues that children diagnosed with reactive attachment disorder are best served with psychoanalytic treatment. Four major components are examined to support this argument. First, the progression of reactive attachment disorder criteria set forth in the 1980 DSM-III up through a recent DSM V proposal are reviewed. Secondly, a history and development of Freud's trauma theory is discussed. Thirdly, neurobiological research of the social brain and limbic system that confirm certain hypotheses of Freud's trauma theory are outlined. Lastly, current treatment modalities used with children diagnosed with reactive attachment disorder are scrutinized. Each of these components leads to the conclusion that psychoanalytic treatment is the most effective treatment for children diagnosed with reactive attachment disorder.




iv, 77 p. : col. ill. Thesis (M.S.W.)-Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass, 2011. Includes bibliographical references (p. 72-77)