Holding Therapy – Invisible England

Many people who comment here, on this blog are pretty wonderful. Carine has shared an advertisement highlighting the abuse of autistic children in France and Anyachaika has shared a site about the discredited though still practiced “holding therapy.”

Holding/attachment therapy, as the name suggests, has children held very tightly by parents or therapists, restraining them however hard they struggle. It is a hangover from the days where “refrigerator mothers” were though to be the cause of autism in their children. There have been numerous cases of holder and holdee being badly injured during therapy. Worse, children have died of suffocation. Advocates for Children in Therapy holds the tragic details of recent cases.  It is not just used to treat autism but often forced upon children who have been adopted or fostered who are perceived to not be making good attachments to their new families.

Here is a preview of Invisible England’s documentary on holding therapy

Please visit Invisible England  for much more detail on holding therapy.



  1. Not sure if HT is still going on, but I went through it in the 80’s with a lady from York who learnt form Martha in the US. I was adopted with behaviour issues but not diagnosed autistic until recent. My parents were taught this method of force holding to practice at home which I found traumatic due to my tactility unbeknown to my parents. To me this was like my parents were being used to restrain me while being watched in an emotional state by the therapist who was present on 2 of the occasions. Luckily after up to 4 times my dad disagreed on this and it stopped, but it left me with post trauma and flashbacks later in life.

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