Letters to the Editor

From the week of April 18, 2002

But then, Dicke is one of the many local "holding therapists" who make Colorado the nation's hotbed for this sort of cruel quackery. With the boom in Eastern European adoption and the massacre at Columbine, attachment therapists have had a free hand in scaring the parents of troubled children into opting for extreme, unvalidated therapies that utilize physical restraint and abusive parenting methods. On the other hand, they are also enablers for parental abuse.

Although it goes by many names and involves a variety of restraint methods, holding therapy is intended to inflict sufficient discomfort to make children react with terror and anger. The therapist holds down a child and yells like a drill sergeant inches from the child's face; he may pinch the child, knuckle his rib cage or lick his face to enrage him. Not unlike a child abuser, the therapist gives orders and threatens; the child must comply or face worse. Children are said to struggle and endure this torture for hours, until they are, as one Denver psychologist said after witnessing the practice, "whimpering little puddles."

If Dr. Dicke was a compassionate therapist, he would review the literature and heed studies that give credible evidence that his methods are potentially injurious. Further, Dr. Dicke would know that his use of restraint violates every professional ethical code, federal and JCAHO regulations, the Nuremberg codes for acceptable human experimentation and the UN Treaty on Torture.

Dr. Dicke and every other holding therapist in our state are child abusers of the worst sort -- they're entrusted to the care of children by virtue of their licensed status. Dr. Dicke and fellow attachment therapists should all be sitting in jail now, along with Colorado's most infamous holding therapist, Connell Watkins, who tortured and killed ten-year-old Candace Newmaker.

Linda Rosa, RN

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