The Coping Behaviors of Adult Children After Treatment for Parental Alienation

High conflict divorce and the alienation of a parent after a divorce causes minimal mental health issues and unhealthy coping skills in children. Without treatment programs that focus on PA, psychologists will continue to only treat the symptoms or rebuild the family system rather than treating the individual’s with healthy coping skills. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to compare personal experiences from adult male and females suffering with parental alienation after a parent’s high conflict divorce. Bowen’s theory of family systems was used as a theoretical approach to understand the comparisons of adult children on the basis of emotional unity as described in complex interactions within the family unit. There were 5 adult children participants in the study that were taken from open-ended interview/questionnaire designed by myself, about an individual’s coping behaviors after a high conflict divorce and treatment for parental alienation. After the interview questionnaires were completed a software program MAXQDA was used to correlate the themes of interest on the basis of emotions (i.e. anger, closed off, or anxieties). From the software, a determination was made that there were significant similarities of coping behaviors among the five participants, that included abnormal coping behaviors taught by the family dynamics. The social change for this study created an understanding to what a child experiences through high conflict divorces into their adulthood. This offers an awareness for clinical professionals and the legal system to take notice what really happens to children in high conflict divorces. The dynamics of the study created the purpose for social change among clinicians about the effects of parental alienation has on adult children from high conflict divorce during their childhood.

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