Date of Conferral
Reactive attachment disorder (RAD), a disorder marked by a severe disruption in developmental attachment, is most often diagnosed in youth who have received substandard or negligent care from their primary caregiver. Such youth have increased risk of behavioral and emotional issues as well as future relationship problems; they generally do not respond to traditional evidence-based practices of therapy. The present study examined the use of the biofield energy practice of Healing Touch (HT) as a viable therapeutic option for improved quality of life for youth diagnosed with RAD. A quantitative, quasi-experimental research study using secondary data was conducted. Eligible participants were 40 children between the ages of 6and 21 residing at a residential facility and having the diagnosis of RAD. Half of the participants received HT therapy while the other half did not. Dependent variables of frequencies of seclusion, aggression, self-injury/self-harm, property damage in excess of $50, and running away from the facility were assessed at set intervals before and after implementation of HT therapy. Findings from a 2 x 2 mixed factorial design using mixed ANOVAs lacked statistical significance; therefore, the alternative hypotheses were not supported. However, the potential remains for positive social change. Clinical importance was evidenced in several variables demonstrating improvement in behaviors for many participants. In addition, while statistical significance was not obtained, the study contributes to the knowledge base regarding the use of HT therapy for future studies.