Program Philosophy This program is based upon the principles of structural family therapy as established by my mentor, child psychiatrist, Salvador Minuchin. The philosophy is quite simple and logical: people are most likely to change for those whom they love and for those who love them. Based on that axiom, my program elevates the alienated parent into the position of the deprogrammer and healer of the child. To quote from my book: No quantity or quality of words between the child and the therapist—who is nonetheless a stranger—can possibly have as powerful and as meaningful an impact as when the therapist provides, instead, an environment in which emotions and experiences are released among family members. No therapist, however competent and well intentioned, can possibly recreate a relationship with the child that rivals intimate family relationships— particularly the meaningful parent/child relationship. It seems so evident, then, that the crucial player to assume the deprogramming role is the “formally” loved and loving alienated parent. Indeed, I assert that the deprogrammer who has the greatest potential for success is the alienated parent—who is not only the holder of the family truths—but who has had the loving relationship with the child. The role then for the therapist is to serve as a catalyst, who encourages and guides the creation of healthy, corrective transactions between the alienated parent and child as well as among all the family members. Using various mementos of the family history—such as photographs, videos, cards, drawings, etc.—I will assist the alienated parent and child to travel down memory lane together so as to help them emotionally reconnect to each other as their memories come alive using such mementos. I will also support the alienated parent to correct the child’s revisionist history about the family events and, through corrective experiences with the alienated parent, help the child to lift the repression of her/his true loving feelings for and need of the alienated parent. Through this process, the child’s instinctual, though repressed, emotions for the alienated parent are released. These experiences have a powerful impact upon all involved. This approach—as with all schools of family systems therapy—appreciates the compelling effect of experience over words to produce change. I will assist the alienated parent to sensitively correct the child’s distorted, delusional thinking about her/him and the family history and remind the child of the prior positive involvement with the alienated parent. The treatment approach not only involves the events occurring in the therapy office, but also the day to day activities in which the and parent engage in together as they go through the day outside of the therapy office. Again complying with the philosophical underpinnings of family systems therapy, change occurs—not as a result of talking about new experiences—but actually creating new experiences.

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By Linda Gottlieb Kase, LMFT, LCSW-


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