Poor parenting, inadequate parental supervision, discipline that is not consistent, and parental mental health status, stress or substance abuse all contribute to early-onset conduct problems; the resulting costs to society are high. Negative parenting practices and negative child behavior contribute to one another in a “coercive cycle”, in which one person begins by using a negative behavior to control the other person’s behavior. That person in turn responds with a negative behavior, and the negative exchange escalates until one person’s negative behavior “wins” the battle.:161 For example, if a child throws a temper tantrum to avoid doing a chore, the parent may respond by yelling that the child must do it, to which the child responds by tantruming even louder, at which point the parent may give in to the child to avoid further disruption. The child’s tantrums are thereby reinforced; by throwing a tantrum, s/he has achieved the end goal of getting out of the chore. PMT seeks to break patterns that reinforce negative behavior by instead teaching parents to reinforce positive behaviors.
The content of PMT, as well as the sequencing of skills within the training, varies according to the approach being used. In most PMT, parents are taught to define and record observations of their child’s behavior, both positive and negative. This monitoring procedure provides useful information for the parents and therapist to set specific goals for treatment, and to measure the child’s progress over time.:216:166 Parents learn to give specific, concise instructions using eye contact while speaking in a calm manner.:167
Parental Conflict Alienates, Hurts and Changes Children of Divorce Long-Term
Here are some typical comments to avoid when talking to your children about their other parent:
• Do you hear yourself saying: “Sounds like you picked that up from your Dad/Mom.”
• Do you make a negative retort about their behavior and end it with “just like your father/mother.”
• Do you frequently compare your ex with other divorced parents you know, making sure the kids get the negative judgment?
• Do you counter every positive comment your child makes about your ex with, “Yeah, but …” and finish it with a downer?
• Do you make your children feel guilty for having had fun visiting the other parent or liking something in their home?
• Do you throw around biting statements like “If Mom/Dad really loved you …”
• Do you try to frighten or intimidate your kids during a disagreement by saying “If you don’t like it here, then go live with your Mom/Dad?
Continue reading “Parental Conflict Alienates”
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Psychopathology and theconceptualisation of mental disorder:The debate around the inclusion of Parental Alienation in DSM-5
Content and Focus:
This paper will briefly consider the general conceptualisation of mental disorder before focusing on the specific case of Parental Alienation (PA), variously termed a disorder or a syndrome.By virtue of the recent debate surrounding its potential inclusion in the newest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), this is a topical example. A critical analysis of the petition for its inclusion within DSM-5 will both highlight the range of professionals’ views, and also consider ethical and practical issues inherent in the conceptualisation of a mental disorder and its classification within the evolving DSM. Following this general and specific conceptualisation of mental disorder, the tensions that diagnosis raises for counselling psychology will be briefly deliberated. The positive aspects of classification and diagnosis will be acknowledged, whilst highlighting the focus on the subjective experience of individual clients.
Despite the controversy about the concept, validity and reliability of PA, the evidence suggests that there is more agreement than disagreement among practitioners and professionals in the field. Whilst there is a general consensus that alienation exists within a distinct population who would benefit from intervention, there is no consensus on its inclusion in DSM-5. Irrespective of its inclusion in any nosology,the recent debate has highlighted the need for further research. A greater understanding of the processes,symptoms and behaviours involved in PA will enable the needs of children and families involved in high- conflict separation to be better addressed.
Parental Alienation and Parental Kidnap infringe upon the rights of the child to know of its parentage and also exposes the child to potential emotional difficulties in later life, if the child is ever reconciled with the truth. Parental Alienation and Parental Kidnap serves only the emotional desires and wishes [not needs] of the custodial spouse, over the rights, needs and well-being of both the child and of the absent spouse and so, this is not prioritising the protection and the well-being of the child and is therefore in our opinion, a direct form of legalised child abuse.
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Parental Alienation Syndrome: Frye v Gardner in the Family Courts (Part 2)
by Jerome H. Poliacoff, Ph.D., P.A., Cynthia L. Greene, Esq., and Laura Smith, Esq
[Second of Two Parts: Click here for Part 1]
The Expert’s ObligationFor better or worse there is an inherent conflict between the goals of lawyers and the goals of ethical experts: the legal system is adversarial, science is not. Attorneys need partisan experts to persuade the trier of fact, be it judge or jury. Lawyers, according to Champagne and his colleagues (FN13) “seemingly want articulate, partisan experts with integrity“.
Sales and Shuman (FN14) argue that “to the extent that ethics governs all scientific and professional behavior – which it does – it is only appropriate that it become the first metric against which to judge the expert witnessing of scientists and professionals“.
Sales and Shuman point out that the most obvious case of the applicability of the ethics code to expert witnessing is the obligation to be competent (FN15).
By becoming familiar with the applicable ethical standards governing the professional behavior of psychologists and psychiatrists a more reasoned judgement can be made about the admissibility of PAS in the courtroom. While we rely primarily on the ethical standards for psychologists (FN16) in the following discussion it should be apparent to the reader that these standards speak to expected ethical professional behavior of any designation when one agrees to appear as a mental health expert before the courts.
Section 1.06 Basis for Scientific and Professional Judgements calls for psychologists to “rely on scientifically and professionally derived knowledge when making scientific or professional judgements“. Not having met the standards inherent in Daubert and in Fryerenders PAS unable to pass muster under this brief, but indispensable, ethical dictum.
Rotgers and Barrett (Id) have made an effort to guide psychologists in their considerations concerning serving as an expert witness. They point out four standards of professional conduct that appear to be clearly applicable to psychologists’ expert testimony that are specifically reinforced by the Daubert decision. These include, in addition to Standard 1.06, the following:
- Standard 2.02 “Competence and Appropriate Use of Assessments and Interventions” requires psychologists to select assessment instruments on the basis of research indicating the appropriateness of the instruments for the specific issue at hand and further enjoins psychologists from misusing those instruments.
- Standard 2.04 “Use of Assessment in General and With Special Populations” requires familiarity with the psychometric properties and limitations of assessment instruments used in the practice of psychology.
- Standard 2.05 “Interpreting Assessment Results” requires psychologists to directly state reservations they may have about the accuracy and limitations of their assessments.
As has been noted in the section above, PAS does not meet the courts’ threshold requirement to qualify as scientific. Clearly then, the offering of PAS to the courts as an explanatory construct, let alone a basis for making recommendation about the future of children’s lives, does not meet the minimal set of ethical standards incumbent on experts appearing before the court.