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What is Rebirthing Therapy

Updated on October 29, 2013


I recently read an article online that broke my heart, a 3 year old was the case of a practice known as Rebirthing Therapy. When practice by a known licensed Therapist it's called a wrapping discipline. An abusive action in which the Victim is wrapped in a blanket tightly Head covered and feet covered. This rebirthing consist of the therapist squeezing the child the imitate contractions in the womb. In the article I read the three year old had died in the process by the hands of the three people who should protect him and comfort him, his mother , his father and his own grandma. This practice has to stop. One death of a child should be a sound clue that this rebirthing therapy is not appropriate let alone many deaths, Rebirthing Therapy has caused to many deaths to be considered successful. In this hub I will describe more about Rebirthing Therapy as well as the clinical disorder known as Reactive attachment disorder and the victims that deserve to have a voice for this horrible practice.

Rebirthing Therapy

Also known as "Attachment Therapy" This controversy Therapy practice is mostly known in the US but is also practiced in other countries as well. Attachment therapy is primarily used on adopted and foster children with behavior problems resulting in known trusting or bonding issues. This type of therapy is based primarily based on Robert Zaslow's rage reduction therapy between the 1960s and the 1970s. Since the 1990s their have been numerous deaths and serious maltreatment resulting in imprisonment for the therapist.

The practice consist of wrapping the child up in a blanket or sheet covering his or her face and feet. tightly squeezing them into the sheet to try to mock a real birth. Therapist that practice this method believe it helps for the bonding after the session is over. Some sessions are repeated over a period of time and others don't get the chance because the patient dies from suffocation, although these sessions end in death many of the therapist from the cases refuse to take responsibility for the deaths, Claiming that they had a choice to break out of the wrap.

If they had a choice do you think they would have? Its called the will to live.

Who has heard of Rebirthing therapy?

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Reactive Attachment Disorder

Although this disorder is relatively uncommon this disorder is mostly seen in children from foster homes and late adoptions. Children who have suffered mental and physical abuse in the hands of a caregiver are more likely to have these issues. This condition can be created during infancy the most important time in a humans life for human bonding. If a newborn does not receive the love and care it needs for the first few months of life the child can create a untrusting behavior towards others. The child has no way of bonding because he or she was never taught at an early age.

This disorder could also be conditioned as an older child living in a unfriendly and un loving environment. The child may have learned to bond as a newborn but lost the trust they created by the abuse they indoor in their childhood. Many children overcome these tragedies but some are forever scarred.

Candace Newmaker

Other Rebirthing Therapies

  • The Evergreen model- Control and compliance
  • Holding time
  • Rage-reduction
  • Compression therapy
  • Corrective attachment Therapy
  • Coercive restraint therapy

These therapies are different but also have similar practice. The evergreen model emphasizes control and compliance in with the child is only allowed to think breath and feel on their own they need permission to do anything else. Rage reduction holds the child down and talks to them Many of these therapy sessions are similar some aren't as abusive as others and some therapist and parents go to far and that's what causes death.

Candace Elizabeth Newmaker

Born as Candace Elizabeth Elmoreon November 19th 1989 was a victim of abuse and was killed in a Rebirthing Therapy session when she was help down a suffocated for 70 minutes. Candace's story hit international coverage

She was born to Angela and Todd Elmore in Lincolnton North Carolina but was remove from the home along with her younger sister. When she was five her parents lost all rights and at the age of seven she was adopted by Jeane Elizabeth Newmaker. Newmaker was a single women working as a pediactric nurse practitioner in Durham North Carolina. Newmaker began to take candace to a psychiatrist for Reactive Attachment disorder caused by the neglect she suffered from her biological parents.

During the years in which she was living with Newmaker her behavior because violent as much as playing with matches and killing gold fish.

Newmaker was worried about Candace and decided to head to evergreen Colorado where Newmaker spent $7,000 on a two week session of rebirthing upon a referrel from a licensed psychiatrist. Candace died during the second week of the session. During the 70 minute session Candaces mother left the room because it was to hard on her. Soon enough the only two people where in the room was therapist and Candace. After being quiet for several minutes The therapist left then room only to return to see Candace laying in her vomit. Newmaker saw something wrong, rushed in to do CPR while someone else called 9-1-1. the paramedics where able to get a pulse reading and rushed the child to the hospital where she was pronounced brain dead the next day.

All the sessions with Candace where video taped and used at the trial. The therapist who was responsible for her death was sentenced to 48 years in prison.

Rebirthing Therapy sessions on 48 hours

Three year old dies during a "wrap discipline"

More recent and just as said comes from an article I read today. The discipline wrap is another form of Rebirthing almost exactly the same as rebirthing. As a mother, her boyfriend and the grandmother of the child took part in this practice they had wrapped the child up in 6 blankets covering him from head to toe. Unable to breath he was in an understanding panic crying and screaming but he was unable to move due to the weight of the blankets on his small body. They continued to keep him wrapped up as they laid him down for a nap when they returned to check on him the child was unresponsive and not breathing as well as drenched from the sweat that the blankets caused him. Can you imagine the pain this child undergone while fighting for his life. It's a horrible way to die.

The three adults are arrested but no farther updates are available about this case as of yet but below I have a link to the article

Gabriel Poirier

This little boy seemed to be a normal 9-year old boy. He loved to watch cartoons collect comic books and sing along to his favorite songs but he suffered from autism. He had problems communicating with people and it made him frustrated. So Gabriel's parents knew how challenging he could be but nothing could prepare him for the events that where about to unfold.

While in class Gabriel had begun to disturb the class. He had made loud noises His teacher gave him two warnings but Gabriel would not calm down. So a teacher took Gabriel to the corner of the classroom to wrap him up in a weight blanket. This is sometimes used to calm down autistic children.

The teacher had completely covered the 3 foot 11 in child with this heavy blanket for more then 20 minutes. the only thing that was uncovered was the tips of his toes. After 20 minutes he had finally calmed down so the teacher went to check on him only to find him unresponsive and blue in the face. The nurse tried to revive him when the paramedics got their he was already in a deep coma and the next day after arriving at the hospital died.

Gabriel was only 53 pounds wrapped up on a 40 pound blanket.

His parents where shocked and hurt when they found out about their son. The school never contacted them about his behavior and to ask for permission to do the wrap. It's a sad story about Rebirthing at what it can do to a child.

In Conclusion

This controversial Therapy as well as a form of Discipline is highly dangerous although children have survived this horrible act, how many of you would like to be completely covered in a heavy tight blanket unable to breath or move. Its not comforting its torture to the child. All the pain the child has gone through and suffered in the hands of others. The problems they have wont go away by the practice. The problems a child with behavior problems suffers deserves more research and time to find a better and effective way of treating the emotional pain.


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    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      6 years ago

      This seems so cruel and I am surprised that it is allowed in the US. It is murder. Thanks for sharing this information and I hope readers will speak up if they come across this form of therapy.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      6 years ago from The Caribbean

      Really a sad story. How could such cruel action seem like a good idea to anyone? So many different forms of insanity around us. Thank for bringing this issue to light.


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