Beth Thomas now — From the ‘child of rage’ to an accomplished registered nurse

Beth Thomas before and now

Beth Thomas, the ‘child of rage’, has come a long way from being abused to being the abuser to rehabilitating her ways. Abused by her biological father in her infancy, Thomas suffered from Reactive Attachment Disorder which left her unable to bond with her adopted parents and made her have psychopathic tendencies from a young age.

But with therapy, she was able to heal from the trauma and break the cycle of abuse. Today, Thomas is a well-adjusted individual who holds a normal job in nursing and is an advocate of Reactive Attachment Disorder. On her off days, she travels internationally to help spread the word about children with emotional disorders.

Beth Thomas is an award-winning nurse at the Flagstaff Medical Center in Arizona

Beth Thomas is a registered nurse at Flagstaff Medical Center in Arizona and has been working there since 2005. As a nurse in the Special Care Nursery, she caters to the care of newborn babies and is a recipient of numerous accolades for her contribution. She currently lives with her husband of six years.

Thomas got her bachelor’s degree in nursing from the Beth-El College of Nursing & Health Sciences at the University of Colorado. At only four years into her career, the Nursing Spectrum Magazine recognized her as one of the top nurses in the Western United States.

Similarly, in 2010, Thomas went on to win the Mountain West Nursing Excellence Award that she was nominated for in the Mentoring category. In her acceptance letter, Thomas said that she was “delighted and humbled” to receive the honor and reaffirmed her love for being a nurse in the neonatal ICU.

“I love what I do and to be honored for doing it is heartwarming. It is amazing to see active miracles every day. Working with premature infants and their families is rewarding. To touch a person’s life when they are in such need is fulfilling,” she said.

The clinical manager of Special Care Nursery and fellow registered nurse, Alice Johnson, said that Thomas possessed “excellent clinical skills and knowledge” and described her as a patient, warm and nurturing person with a great sense of humor.

Beth co-authored two books with her adopted mother, Nancy Thomas, and also helps in her consultancy firm

Along with her adopted mother Nancy Thomas, Beth co-authored two books (titled More Than a Thread of Hope and Dandelion on My Pillow, Butcher Knife Beneath) that detailed her struggle with Reactive Attachment Disorder and the therapy she received to treat her trauma and abusive predispositions.

Additionally, she works in her mother’s consultancy firm known as Families by Design: Nancy Thomas Parenting which is a proponent of children-oriented therapies.

The consultancy aims to “offer information on adoption, attachment, early trauma, and Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) to families and professionals” through proven and research-backed parenting techniques. It also provides phone consultations, online courses, camps, and webinars.

Hence, Thomas not only helps out as a co-writer for the firm-affiliated published books but also does public speaking at seminars and presentations about her experience to the clients.

Beth Thomas received the now controversial and pseudoscientific ‘Attachment Therapy’ to treat her issues

It is well recorded in the 1990 HBO ‘Child of Rage’ documentary that Beth Thomas and her younger brother, Jonathan, were victims of sexual abuse and severe neglect at the hands of their father. As a consequence of the abuse, Thomas developed extreme behavioral issues that could not be easily resolved.

At only six years old, she threatened to harm her initial adoptive parents, Tim and Julie Tennent, and attempted to take her brother’s life. After she physically abused and molested her brother in multiple instances, she was shown to a psychologist who diagnosed her with Reactive Attachment Disorder.

Thomas was subsequently removed from the care of her adoptive parents and was treated by therapist Connell Watkins. The treatment involved intensive ‘Attachment Therapy’ – a pseudoscientific method that is yet to be validated by science.

In recent times, the said therapy’s aversive procedures have been condemned for promoting restraint, coercion, and punishment against children and are even deemed abusive. While Beth was able to overcome her issues and heal from the attachment therapy provided by Watkins, her case is an anomaly in its success as the same cannot be said for other children.

Ironically, in 2001, Watkins was found guilty of negligent child abuse that caused the death of a 10-year-old girl, Candace Newmaker, during an outlawed ‘rebirthing’ attachment therapy session. A 15-year-old Beth Thomas, who was adopted by Nancy Thomas at the time, testified in defense of Watkins at the trial.