Attachment Therapy on Trial: The Torture and Death of Candace Newmaker
By Jean Mercer, Larry Sarner & Linda Rosa


Jean Mercer, PhD
Chairman of Professional Board of Advisors, ACT
Professor of Psychology, Richard Stockton College (Pomona, New Jersey)
President, New Jersey Association for Infant Mental Health

Larry Sarner, BS, BA
Administrative Director, ACT
Executive Director, Citizens for Science in Medicine

Linda Rosa, RN
Executive Director, ACT
National Board Member, National Council Against Health Fraud

Westport, CT: Praeger, 2003, xii, 260 pp.
ISBN 0-275-97675-0.
LC call RJ507/A77/N495/2003 (card 2002-44991).
List Price: $44.95
Series ISSN: 1538-8883.

This scholarly book investigates the entire phenomenon of Attachment Therapy, focused through the lens of the infamous case surrounding the life and death of Candace Newmaker. Published by highly respected academic publisher Praeger, Attachment Therapy on Trial is an unsensational dissection of the pseudoscience, misconceptions, errors, bad judgments, and ethical lapses that has allowed a whole underground industry to thrive around the maltreatment of adopted and foster children. It sounds the alarm about the growth of pseudoscience and unvalidated practices in psychotherapy. And it is a call for action to protect the thousands of children who are not only among the most vulnerable, but also among the most likely, to receive abusive and harmful treatment at the hands of trusted adults … their caretakers — and their therapists!

Masterfully chronicles the chilling story of how a 10-year old girl, Candace, endured painful physical stimulation, was dangerously restrained, and eventually suffocated to death. In the name of “curing her” with Attachment Therapy, Candace’s therapists ignored her begging, screaming, and gasping; eventually they were convicted in criminal court. The extent to which some therapists embrace such unvalidated fringe treatments is one of the greatest scandals in today’s mental health system. This damning indictment should stir a badly needed national debate about these practices, and aid in the fight against them.

Elizabeth Loftus, PhD,
Distinguished Professor, University of California, Irvine

Here is a profoundly good book — humane, constructive, and scrupulously objective — about a case that could have been treated with sensationalism and melodrama. Attachment Therapy, the authors show, is only the most dangerous embodiment of a more general aberration: the founding of treatments on premises that have already been confuted by sound research. Every therapist and every legislator ought to take this important work to heart.

Frederick Crews, PhD,
principal author, The Unauthorized Freud

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