Posted in Parental Alienation & Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Prisoners of a Parent’s Mind: On the Futility of Therapy in Alienation Cases

Any therapist who is familiar with the research and who has undertaken transfer of residence of a child will be very familiar with the psychological splitting of the child. This psychological coping mechanism, which leads to the phenomenon of the idealised/demonised division of feelings about their parents, causes children a great deal of harm. (Baker &Sauber 2013, Bernet et al 2013, Clawar & Rivlin 1991, Dunne & Hendrick 1994, Gardner 1998, Johnstone 2003, Kelly & Johnstone 2001, Wallerstein & Kelly (1980) Waldron & Joanis 1996, Warshak 2001). A child who is saying on the surface that they hate their parent and using weak and spurious reasoning for doing so, who is seen to be involved in an overly close relationship with a parent they profess to love beyond measure and who is making proclamations of hatred or simply saying that they have no feelings about the other parent, must routinely be assessed for this phenomenon. Psychological splitting causes children immense suffering (Baker 2007) and the core concern about parental alienation is in fact not even the relationship that the child loses with a parent (though that is terrible enough) but the psychological impact on their wellbeing over their entire lifetime. (Gottlieb 2012). This is reason enough to intervene and the evidence which is provided by studies undertaken by Amy Baker et al, as well as interviews with adult children who were once alienated and parents who were alienated as children who are now alienated themselves (see above comment), should provide mental health professionals with the impetus to stop this generational march of harm, by providing the right interventions, interlocked in the right way, with the legal system.

Karen Woodall

‘Thank you for sharing this, Karen. From the perspective of an adult alienated child, I will say your words are completely accurate. No amount of therapy for me or my alienated mother would have changed my father’s behavior or the circumstances. And my father would have had to cooperate and participate in years of intense therapy in order to change his ways. As long as I was under the influence of my father, no therapist in the world would have been able to get me to let down my defenses. In fact, I repressed my love for my mother as a way to survive emotionally, in my father’s care, and therefore became consciously unaware of my own feelings. From my child perspective, no one was as powerful as my father, and until he was removed from my life, I would live according to his wishes. And it’s worth noting that…

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Currently studying Psychotherapy , Cognitive psychology, Biological psychology, Counselling psychology and CBT. I believe in truth, honesty and integrity! ≧◔◡◔≦

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