Dr. Heitler: I agree. See my earlier post on what therapists need to know to treat alienation effectively as per the targeted-parent and alienated-child reunification treatment developed by therapists such as Linda Gottlieb, MSW and Richard Warshak, Ph.D.
Dalia Erel: In addition, I use a therapy model developed by Dr. Inbal Baron. This treatment method works by having both parents together build a shared understanding of the needs of the child. That is, we focus on the child’s need for a stable and healthy connection with both of their parents.
The court plays potentially crucial roles. Initially, family courts may need to remove severely alienated children from all contact with the alienating parent. They need to transfer full domicile and decision-making to the targeted parent in order to allow the child a phase of safe time and space to rebond with the targeted parent without fear of retribution from the alienator.
The court also may need to stipulate that subsequent alienation behaviors will incur serious penalties such as extended the period of time when contact between the child and the alienator is not allowed, issuing fines, and even imposing jail on repeat offenders.
Again, responding to alienating behaviors with URGENCY is imperative.