Strong claims have been made for the possibility of diagnostic discrimination between children who refuse contact with a nonpreferred divorced parent due to parental alienation (PA) created by the preferred parent and those who refuse for other reasons such as abuse. PA proponents have also argued that interventions, which include custody changes, can alter the alienated children’s attitudes and create positive behavior toward the nonpreferred parent. This article examines the plausibility of PA diagnostic and treatment claims and relevant empirical evidence. It is concluded that PA advocates have failed to provide empirical support for the safety and effectiveness of their methods and that custody proceedings should take these facts into consideration. Future research directions based on established understanding of child development are suggested. Continue reading “Are intensive parental alienation treatments effective and safe for children and adolescents?”
How does the syndrome called parental alienation clarify how hatred gets taught?
Parental alienation, as I have explained in several earlier PT articles on the subject, is a syndrome in which one parent turns the children against the other. Think of it as a triangle in which:
(1) An alienating parent convinces
(2) the children to hate and help them to destroy
(3) the targeted other parent.
This hatred is unwarranted. That is, the targeted parent is generally a plenty good enough parent. The hatred instead is “carefully taught.” How? In post-divorce families, an alienating parent teaches the children to hate the other parent primarily in the following ways:
- Blocking parenting time with the targeted parent, as opposed to allowing normal interaction, enables an alienator to brainwash children. Children’s normal attachment to both of their parents that way can be replaced by hatred of the targeted parent.
- One parent conveys that the other has negative traits that merit hatred. Alienating parents may insinuate via subtle innuendos that the targeted parent has negative attributes. For instance, they may sigh, “What a shame it is that your Dad/Mom never goes to any of your soccer games,” when in fact the targeted parent seldom goes because the alienator withholds information about when and where the games are occurring. Or an alienator may be more direct, saying outright and often repeating, for instance, that the targeted parent is hurtful, selfish, frightening, and does not really love the children.
- Most of the accusations tend to be what therapists refer to as projections; that is, the traits, in fact, describe the alienating parent rather than the accused targeted parent. In the political sphere, noticing the extent to which those who hate President Trump attribute to him the qualities their own political party is exhibiting can be thought-provoking.
- Negative beliefs and hatred of the other also tend to be instilled via false narratives, that is, lies. The false narratives can be distortions of reality, for instance, taking a minor situation such as a parent losing his/her temper when children act disrespectfully and pumping it up to sound like something dreadful. Alternatively, the false narratives may be totally untrue fictions designed to make the other parent sound dangerous or otherwise deserving of fear and hatred. An alienating parent may accuse the targeted parent, for instance, of having divorced the family when in fact it was the alienating parent that initiated the split. Or totally false accusations of sexual or physical abuse may be repeated enough times to the children that they become “false memories,” that is, events that never occurred yet that the children come to believe are actual memories.
Amicus curiae. Family proceedings were highly litigious and involved allegations of domestic abuse and parental alienation. Mother was deeply fearful of father. Pattern developed of mother trying to delay proceedings. Mother dismissed five lawyers and was self-represented at trial. Mother’s behaviour was extremely emotional. Father’s lawyer brought motion to be removed from record due to significant unpaid accounts. Trial judge made amicus curiae orders appointing counsel to represent parents and assist court on variety of issues that impacted best interests of children Continue reading “Trial judge required assistance and guidance from learned counsel to understand law”
On May 25, the World Health Organization (WHO) included “parental alienation” as a “caregiver-child relationship problem” in ICD-11, the International Classification of Diseases 11th Revision. ICD-11 comes into effect on Jan. 1, 2022.
This new term is described on the WHO website as: “Substantial and sustained dissatisfaction within a caregiver-child relationship associated with significant disturbance in functioning.” While that sounds nebulous, parental alienation is generally understood to mean that one parent negatively influences the child(ren), resulting in the child(ren) fearing or rejecting the other parent. Basically, the ICD-11 is recognizing that brainwashing the child(ren) against the other parent and/or keeping the child(ren) from the other parent amounts to abuse, which leads to significant mental health issues for the child(ren) in question. To me, as a child of divorce, I completely support the inclusion of parental alienation in ICD-11. Continue reading “Parental alienation’ inclusion may ease needless pain”
“It’s not really a book,” Mr. Childress said. “It’s a tool. It’s a ground that I can stand on and if anybody asks me, ‘What are you talking about?’ I can just refer to the book.”
“There’s no such thing as parental alienation,” said Mr. Childress “If you ask your psychologist to explore cross generational coalition, that has a lot of basis to it. That’s in family systems therapy. It has to do with diverting anger through the child because of the spousal conflict and triangulation and emotional cutoff. And the moment you ask them to do that, you are then requiring that they apply knowledge from family systems therapy. And family systems therapy can solve everything.”
That same Google search would also turn up thousands of examples of how this pathology is effective in damaging relationships between parents and children.
Along the way it also profoundly alters the normal development of the weaponized child. Left untreated, many times child victims of pathogenic parenting are in their 20s or 30s before they figure out what’s happened to them.
Early intervention is key, Mr. Childress said. Continue reading “Claremont psychologist offers tools to cope with parental alienation”
I’ve set up this blog so that you and I can have a professional-level discussion regarding the attachment-related pathology commonly called “parental alienation” surrounding divorce.
If you email me at email@example.com I’ll send you the password information for this blog, and then you and I can begin a professional-level conversation about the attachment-related family pathology commonly called “parental alienation” in the popular culture.
I look forward to hearing from you and engaging with you in a professional-level discussion of the attachment-related family pathology commonly called “parental alienation” in the popular culture.
Craig Childress, Psy.D.
Clinical Psychologist, PSY 18857
I am going to go through the entire post, providing my commentary. My overall impression is that first, she is confusing splitting (which is a defined psychiatric symptom associated with borderline personality disorder) with a “split personality” which is the 1950s term for what later became known as multiple personality, which is now known as a Dissociative Identity Disorder.
So she is confusing a psychiatric symptom of borderline personality disorder with a 1950s era term for Dissociative Identity Disorder, and she is confabulating the two constructs in her head to build some… thing.
So it’s the parent with the dissociative pathology. I’d call it delusional. And then, when the parent intrudes into and controls the child’s attitudes, guess whose attitudes the child expresses… the parent’s. But it’s not the child’s dissociative disorder being expressed by the child… it’s the parent’s… the one with the disorganized attachment that’s now constellated into the personality disorder pathology.
Last week I put a call out to adults alienated as children, inviting them to take part in my research which will form the basis of a new therapy for this group of people.
Research. Great Karen. “put out a call” – you do realize the requirements of research regarding subject recruitment and bias, don’t you Karen? It has to do with sampling from the population. You do know about sampling, don’t you Karen? You have a whole population, and you are going to draw a sample from that population. Then you are going to extrapolate back to the whole population, based on the characteristics of your sample. So you want your sample to be – representative – of the whole population. That’s really, really important in research Karen. If your sample isn’t representative, if it’s biased in some way, then the conclusions you will draw will be… wrong.
So out of 21 symptoms, we might expect a diagnostic cut off of 18, Karen? 12? 5 of 21?
And then, what’s the research foundation for this? Don’t tell me… no… Karen, you’re not just making up 21 new symptoms, are you? Please say no. Please tell us you’re not just making up a new pathology for which you’ve just made up 21 new symptoms – entirely on your own – just pulling them out of your… imagination. No, Karen no. Please have some sort of research support from the literature for these.
- Over developed caring for others skills
- Over developed diplomacy
- Inability to receive incoming care from others
- Denial of one’s own vulnerability
- Drive to fix everything
- Sense of unreality
- Dissociative states
- Feeling haunted
- Feeling as if there are other parts of the self unknown
- Inability to trust others
- Inability to make decisions or keep to decisions
- Capacity to start relationships, difficulty in maintaining them
- Controlling of other people
- Holding people at distance
- Self hatred
- Loss and longing which rises up and then disappears
- Dreams about locked doors
- Dreams about being chased by something
- Sense of self as omnipotent which switches to worthlessness
- Possible diagnosis of unstable personality disorder
- Possible diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder