Attachment Services of Central Florida, Inc.
Call Us: 407-739-7211
Attachment Services of Central Florida, Inc.
Attachment Services of Central Florida, Inc. is a nonprofit agency dedicated to working with children, their families and the communities impacted by Reactive Attachment Disorder, post-adoption issues and other childhood mental health issues.
Our Mission is to provide Support, Education, Training, and Therapeutic Interventions to those impacted by attachment and post adoption issues and Prevention of future cases.
We are currently a small organization with big ambitions. Our primary focus is to help the families that come to us with troubled children. Our long term goal is to reform the child welfare system in the state of Florida to more appropriately address the needs of our children, particularly those impacted by early abuse and neglect.
Attachment Services of Central Florida, Inc. was developed in response to the unmet needs of families in the metro Orlando area. These families are struggling with adopted children and were unable to find necessary services within the Central Florida area. After the founding therapist accompanied one family out of state to receive necessary treatment, it became obvious that something needed to be done. Attachment Services of Central Florida, Inc. is the result of that family's quest for appropriate services for their children in their own community.
Founder, Teresa Guerard, is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, specializing in the treatment of children with attachment difficulties. In 2000, she received her Masters Degree in Community Mental Health Counseling from Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. She was a supervisor of approximately 50 therapists and behavioral staff prior to forming Attachment Services of Central Florida, Inc. In this position she sat on several committees which addressed the mental health needs of children in the surrounding communities. It was this experience that accentuated the need for services for children with attachment difficulties. As the instructor of parenting classes, the question became "How do we help families who have children who did not receive the foundation of love, support and nurturing necessary for appropriate development during those first critical years?"
The answer to this question came in the form of the above mentioned family. Assigned to do an assessment of the family's eldest adopted child, she had her first experience with a child with severe attachment disorder. This child had attacked her mother with a butcher knife four weeks previously, leaving over 400 stab marks in and around the rooms where the incident occurred. It took two large police officers, sofa cushions and mace to subdue the child. She was 9 years old at the time. During the assessment, the child exhibited much more mild behaviors, but still, clearly the actions of a troubled child. The child's mother was very knowledgeable about RAD and thus opened the door to a world previously unknown by this therapist.
Since that time, Ms. Guerard has worked in the attachment field with some leading experts including Bill Goble, Terry Levy, Mike Orlans, Nancy Thomas, Joanne May, and Dawn Precour. She has attended training seminars by other leaders in the field including Dan Hughes, Kenny Miller, Neil Feinstein, and Greg Keck. She has also pursued training in related fields including neurobiology as presented by Dr. Daniel Amen and criminology as presented by Dr. Stanton Samenow.
Ms. Guerard has completed a 250 hour, year long training from Dr. Bill Goble. Dr. Goble is a former member of the ATTACH Board of Directors and worked with them to develop his training curriculum for the Assessment, Diagnosis and Treatment for Attachment Therapists.
Helen Stephenson holds two masters degrees, one in Pastoral Counseling from Loyola College and one in Mental Health Counseling from Rollins College. She began her career in pastoral counseling/mental health counseling in 1990 then became a stay at home mom for ten years, returning to the field in 2004. Helen's experiences range from private practice, crisis intervention, school counseling and agency work with survivors of sexual abuse and trauma. In July of 2008, Helen joined Attachment Services of Central Florida, Inc. and received 285 hours of training for the assessment and treatment of attachment disorder under the direction of Teresa Guerard, LMHC. Helen is a Nationally Certified Counselor, trained in EMDR and Level I Hypnosis. Helen is also certified as a post-adoption therapist. She is committed to helping parents, families and professionals understand the impact of abuse, neglect and trauma on the development of attachment between a child and his/her parents.
Teresa is a Registered with ATTACh, the international Association for Treatment and Training in the Attachment of Children. We abide by their Professional Practice Manual and use only those therapeutic interventions approved by ATTACh. We believe that these troubled children can be helped through equal portions of nurturing, consistency, compassion and empathy. By teaching attachment parenting and implementing therapeutic techniques proven in the attachment field, we witness the healing of a broken child and the birth of a new child, one eager for love and affection with limitless potential for joining in appropriate relationships with those he encounters.