Posted in Alienation


Family Bridges is an intensive educational intervention developed initially for recovered abducted children and later extended and modified to provide a program for families in which an older child or adolescent is severely alienated from one parent and refusing or resisting contact with that parent.

The challenges in understanding and providing effective legal, judicial, and psychological assistance to these troublesome and highly conflicted families were first reported in the mid-1970s when Wallerstein and Kelly (1976, 1980) described an unusual constellation of child and adolescent attitudes, feelings, and behaviors not normally seen in families, and which developed, escalated, and consolidated in the months following a difficult separation.

Observed primarily among boys and girls 9–12 years old and younger adolescents, these youngsters were described as in strong “alignment with one parent” and who joined with that “embattled” parent in vigorous and demeaning attacks against the other parent with whom the child generally had at least an adequate relationship prior to separation.

Many of these youngsters, particularly those aligned with the parent who had primary custody, continued to reject contact with the other parent 18 months later with similar vehemence, and a few continued to be severely alienated 5 years later.