Posted in Alienation

Program for treating children affected by Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS)

Rye Hospital program for treating children affected by Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS)

by Edward M. Stephens, M.D.



Intense interest in the well-being of children during the divorce process has led to an evolved understanding of the best interest of the child (BIC). New BIC standards go beyond financial support and securing their safety from physical harm and extend to the protection of the psychological well-being of the child. Absent a clear finding of fact that a parent is unfit to do so, it makes good sense that both parents participate in the child’s life after the break up of the nuclear family. In other words, the BIC is now understood by judges, evaluators and therapists to mean the inclusion of both parents in the child’s life after the divorce.

Parental Alienation Syndrome:

This condition arises as a distinctive form of psychological injury to children in high conflict divorce. It occurs when the child becomes aligned with one parent as a result of the unjustified and/or exaggerated denigration of the other parent. This leads to an impaired relationship with the alienated (target) parent and an absolute loss of parenting as a result of the hostility of the parent producing the alienation. In most cases of high conflict divorce, there are degrees of alienation. In severe cases, the child’s once love-bonded relationship with the target/rejected parent is destroyed.

Diagnosis and treatment:

Whenever there is alleged, obvious or deep-seated parental alienation, the diagnosis and treatment must proceed swiftly to preclude the worsening of the condition. Diagnosis involves an estimation of the extent of the alienation and the  nature of the causative factors. Attention is paid to rejecting behaviors on the part of the alienating parent that undermine the child’s legitimate need for a relationship with both parents. Rejecting behaviors include: terrorizing factors by which the child may be bullied and verbally assaulted into being fearful of the target parent to the point where the child fears contact with that parent; relating factors where the alienating parent keeps the child from normal opportunities for parenting with the target parent, their relatives, friends and extended family; and corrupting influences where the child is mis-socialized and misinformed by the alienating parent about the real intentions of the target parent.


After careful assessment of the individual case as a result of the mandated participation of both parents, a treatment plan is devised and tailored to the degree of alienation documented. Mild and moderate degrees of alienation are properly dealt with through family therapy and parent education. Therapy is begun to support the child’s healthy need for both parents, to eradicate unhelpful contributions of the alienating parent and unwitting contributing factors on the part of the target parent.

Severe alienation with a phobic or hysterical reaction of the child to the target parent and alienation of the child to the point of prolonged visitation refusal or cessation must be treated aggressively to have any hope of a successful outcome. Separation from the alienating parent is often mandatory. This separation can be accomplished by mandating the child to foster care, the care of other relatives or to a hospital setting which has a specially trained staff for rehabilitation, deprogramming and reestablishment of the parent-child relationship.

The Rye Hospital Center staff is prepared to evaluate cases of PAS and implement inpatient treatment for severely alienated children and their families.

During a hospital placement for the treatment of PAS the hospital staff will focus on the child’s feelings about the alienating parent and the target parent. The child will be educated to the healthy realities of attachment to eliminate the distortions supporting alienation. Group sessions with other alienated children will be used whenever possible. Intensive therapy with the target parent will aim at the reintegration of the alienated child in a loving relationship. In addition, while there may be minimal contact for a significant period of time between the child and the alienating parent, an intensive educational therapy will be used with the alienating parent to create a correct understanding of that parent’s responsibility for maintaining a loving connection that keeps both parents in the child’s life.

A post-hospital treatment plan will be devised to continue the reintegration of the child with the target parent and his/her extended family and maintain the changes in the alienating parent. The plan will include gradual integration of the alienating parent back into the child’s life, possibly through supervised visitation and carefully monitored contacts. The out-patient treatment may involve a change of residence for the child to the custody of the former target parent until the court can be assured that the behaviors that produced the alienation have been remedied.

Every case will be dealt with on an individual basis with treatment plans carefully tailored to the needs of all the parties. The goal will be the restoration of a relationship with both parents. The expectation of the program is to produce life- long benefit to the child and enable the child to have a normal psychological development even after divorce.

After-care plans describing the hospitalization, interventions and continued treatment will be a routine part of discharge planning. Blueprints for an ongoing treatment of all parties covered will be furnished to treating personnel in the area to which the child returns.

Edward M. Stephens, M.D.
Member, American Psychiatric Association
Committee on Juvenile Justice
Member, American Psychiatric Association
Committee on Mental Health in Schools

Posted in Alienation

Being an absent parent can damage your kids’ brains

The X-ray’s that show how being an absent parent can damage your kids’ brains

NEW research has found parents who live apart from their kids for long periods of time could be harming their IQs and maturity rate.

The study found children who were left without parental care for more than six months matured at a slower rate and it impacted their intelligence.

Brain scans revealed they had a larger volume of grey matter, an important part of the central nervous system, in the brain.

There appeared to be a negative correlation between grey matter and IQ scores, suggesting a link between growing up without parental care and a delay in brain development.

The survey of children aged between seven and 13 was undertaken in China where millions of workers seek job opportunities away from their family.

Study author Yuan Xiao of Sichuan University, said: “We wanted to study the brain structure in these left-behind children.

“Previous studies support the hypothesis that parental care can directly affect brain development in offspring. However, most prior work is with rather severe social deprivation, such as orphans.

“We looked at children who were left behind with relatives when the parents left to seek employment far from home.”

MRI scans of 38 children with absent parents were taken and compared to scans of a control group of boys and girls without.

Researchers looked at the differences in the grey matter and the children’s IQs and found larger grey matter in multiple brain regions, in particular emotional brain circuitry in the kids with absent parents.

Although the IQs weren’t too different, the grey matter found in the memory encoding and retrieval region was negatively linked with IQ score.

The results will be presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America.

Posted in Alienation

Post traumatic stress and related phenomena

Bessel A. van der Kolk M.D. has been active as a clinician, researcher and teacher in the area of P since the 1970s. His work integrates developmental, biological, psychodynamic and interpersonal aspects of the impact of trauma and its treatment. His book Psychological Trauma was the first integrative text on the subject, painting the far ranging impact of trauma on the entire person and the range of therapeutic issues which need to be addressed for recovery.

Dr. van der Kolk and his various collaborators have published extensively on the impact of trauma on development, such as dissociative problems, borderline personality and self-mutilation, cognitive development in traumatized children and adults, and the psychobiology of trauma. He was co-principal investigator of the DSM IV Field Trials for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. His current research is on how trauma affects memory processes and brain imaging studies of PTSD.

Dr. van der Kolk is past President of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, Professor of Psychiatry at Boston University Medical School, and Medical Director of the Trauma Center at JRI in Brookline, Massachusetts. He has taught at universities and hospitals across the United States and around the world, including Europe, Africa, Russia, Australia, Israel, and China. His book, Traumatic Stress: The Effects of Overwhelming Experience on Mind, Body, and Society, co-edited with Alexander McFarlane and Lars Weisaeth, explores what we have learned in the past twenty years of the re-discovery of the role of trauma in psychiatric illness. In Dr. van der Kolk’s most recent 2014 book, The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Treatment of Trauma, he transforms our understanding of traumatic stress, revealing how it literally rearranges the brain’s wiring—specifically areas dedicated to pleasure, engagement, control, and trust. He shows how these areas can be reactivated through innovative treatments including neurofeedback, mindfulness techniques, play, yoga, and other therapies. Based on Dr. van der Kolk’s own research and that of other leading specialists, The Body Keeps the Score offers proven alternatives to drugs and talk therapy—and a way to reclaim lives.

For publications and products that Dr. Bessel van der Kolk has been involved in developing, go to our Publications and Products section.

Posted in Alienation


Dedicated to healing the broken parent-child bonds shattered by Parental Alienation Abuse.

Parental Alienation is like having war declared upon you; except as a loving, fit and able parent, you don’t know you are the enemy.”Gwendolyn Chubb, 6-year alienated parent.

BROKEN BONDS NETWORK is an organization created to:

  • Increase public awareness of Parental Alienation; a form of child abuse,
  • Network with other shared-parenting and family advocacy groups,
  • Furnish information to divorcing and/ or separating families that will prevent the destruction of the parent-child bond and;
  • Provide support and resources to help heal and restore the broken bonds shattered by Parental Alienation Abuse.

Posted in Alienation

Footprints xoxo

Reblogged on

Source: Footprints xoxo

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Coping with Parental Alienation

A blogger wrote the question below to the group on a PA site. Although I am often struggling, I know there are others out there standing where I have already been -needing help. It helps me to help them. Below is my response to the group.

Question: “What about the dynamics of guilt, remorse, grief and anger after having experienced that your children were manipulated to abandon you. Is there a meaningful life possible in the face of these adversities?
I personally think that it seems almost impossible, given the fact that we are “hard-wired” to parent children towards maturity. Once we are isolated from this biologically imprinted task, what else can be left as a purpose of our existence?
Who can shed light to this problem and tell about the efforts to go on. The successes and failures. I would really like to learn”.

My response:

I just constantly try to compartmentalise my life as a coping mechanism. My grief is enormous and I try to be aware that the feelings of bitterness and anger are simply borne out of grief for my daughter. In order to shrink that compartment, which will never disappear, I expand the other compartments of my life which include my current wife, my dog, my hobbies, etc.

I do this by consciously making forward plans -happy plans which range from the next 5 minutes to a 5 year forward plan for holidays and visualising where I want to be. I enjoy travel, so as soon as I finish a holiday I am immediately planning the next. Astronomy is great because it puts our lives in perspective.

Perhaps trying to look forward so much risks the ability to live in the moment. But having a slightly eastern philosophy helps with that. I am aware the other compartment is there and I am not trying to make it disappear. Sometimes I have to open it.

Mindfulness and optimism I strive to maintain. I will always be like a tide reaching out for my daughter then receding for a while if no luck. But sooner or later she will come to the waters edge. In the meantime there is nothing more powerful than the old saying “Count your blessings”.

Posted in Alienation

Is this the most heartbreaking Christmas advert of all time?


German supermarket Edeka release heartbreaking Christmas advert rivalling John Lewis’ ‘Man On The Moon’

Is this the most heartbreaking Christmas advert of all time?