U.S.-Mexico Border Crisis: An Attachment Lens

ICEEFT is an international organization of Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) professionals of which I am a member, all whom work within the attachment frame supported by the leading edge of neuroscience, and are considered experts in the field of attachment. This is their official statement about the crisis happening at the U.S.-Mexico border: ICEEFT Position on the US government practice of separating migrant and asylum-seeking families at the U.S.-Mexico border June 2018 The International Centre for Emotionally Focused Therapy (ICEEFT) is an international professional organization of mental health professionals with thousands of therapists in the US and across the globe providing clinical services to adults, children, couples and families. It is with shock and outrage that the International Center for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy takes a stand against the current policy of the U.S. government to separate children from their families at its southern border. The research which informs our practice of family and couple therapy makes clear in no uncertain terms that prolonged separation of children from their parents has traumatic repercussions, both short and long term, making this an unconscionable act of cruelty. Depending on the age, such separations are known to have a deleterious impact on the emotional, physical and social development of the child creating a lifetime of impairment, not to mention the devastating heartbreak for the parents. Neither parents nor children know when or whether they will be reunited with one another, an uncertainty which has profound psychological repercussions. Compounding the horror is the fact that, according to recent reports, the caretakers in charge are forbidden from physically comforting these children in distress. Our expertise and clinical experience inform our condemnation of this inhumane policy on the part of the Trump administration. There is no law that justifies such treatment of children and families.