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When A Child Rejects A Parent: Tailoring the Intervention to Fit the Problem

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... The strongest evidence from the current review demonstrates that therapeutic programmes designed specifically to address parental alienation with court sanctions for non-compliance are most effective in addressing parental alienation (e.g. Friedlander and Walters, 2010;Reay, 2015;Sullivan et al., 2010;Toren et al., 2013;Warshak, 2010). Included articles show that such interventions can result in improvement in the targeted parent-child relationship as well as a reduction in psychological symptoms experienced by the targeted child. ...
... Included articles show that such interventions can result in improvement in the targeted parent-child relationship as well as a reduction in psychological symptoms experienced by the targeted child. Specifically, this may be achieved via workshops, camps, retreats (Reay, 2015;Sullivan et al., 2010;Warshak, 2010), multidisciplinary family therapy (Friedlander and Walters, 2010), or via a parallel group therapy approach (Toren et al., 2013). Most included studies reported use of psychoeducation, parenting skills/coping skills, and therapy with all members of the family (Reay, 2015;Sullivan et al., 2010;Warshak, 2010), with the programmes being delivered by court-appointed psychologists or social workers and with the involvement of a parenting coordinator (Friedlander and Walters, 2010;Toren et al., 2013). ...
... Specifically, this may be achieved via workshops, camps, retreats (Reay, 2015;Sullivan et al., 2010;Warshak, 2010), multidisciplinary family therapy (Friedlander and Walters, 2010), or via a parallel group therapy approach (Toren et al., 2013). Most included studies reported use of psychoeducation, parenting skills/coping skills, and therapy with all members of the family (Reay, 2015;Sullivan et al., 2010;Warshak, 2010), with the programmes being delivered by court-appointed psychologists or social workers and with the involvement of a parenting coordinator (Friedlander and Walters, 2010;Toren et al., 2013). Further, when these approaches were ineffective in resolving the alienation process and the effects of that process, a change in custody in favour of the targeted parent was warranted. ...
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This study aimed to systematically review the literature pertaining to parental alienation to determine best practice for therapists and legal practitioners. Medline, Embase, and PsycINFO academic databases, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials and conference abstracts were searched. Included articles were peer reviewed journal articles or books published in English pertaining to a psychological or legal intervention for parental alienation. Ten articles were included in the review. It was found that changes in custodial or residential arrangements in favour of the targeted parent are effective in ameliorating parental alienation. Specialized family therapy addressing the alienation is effective in restoring family relationships and family functioning. A coordinated approach from therapists and legal practitioners is important in resolving parental alienation. Parental alienation requires legal and therapeutic management to enhance family functioning Awarding primary parental responsibility to the targeted parent and providing specialized family therapy is effective in ameliorating parental alienation A specialized form of systemic family therapy for parental alienation can improve family functioning and prevent further parental alienation
... For PA to occur, alienating behaviours used by the alienating parent must be present (Baker, 2018;Harman & Matthewson, 2020). The literature has shown that there might be several reasons why a child rejects a parent, from abuse or neglect to natural alliances because of sympathy, affinity, child development or mutual interests (Friedlander & Walters, 2010;Kelly & Johnston, 2001). PA exists when there is a parent who wants to hurt the other parent using the children to achieve that end point. ...
... In addition, it has been suggested that PA cases require a coordinated approach between therapists and legal practitioners (Gardner, 1998;Sullivan & Kelly, 2001;Templer et al., 2017). For intervention programmes to be effective in addressing PA, they must be courtmandated with court sanctions for non-compliance (Friedlander & Walters, 2010;Lowenstein, 1998;Reay, 2015;Sullivan, Ward, & Deutsch, 2010;Templer et al., 2017;Toren et al., 2013;Warshak, 2010). Such court sanctions are especially important because the goals of these types of interventions are contrary to the alienating parents' wishes; therefore, getting alienating parents involved in the therapy needs to be externally driven (Templer et al., 2017). ...
... Specialised forms of family therapy and family intervention programmes for addressing PA have been reported in the literature, including The Multimodal Family Intervention, MMFI (Friedlander & Walters, 2010); Family Reflexions Reunification Program, FRRP (Reay, 2015); Overcoming Barriers Family Camp, OBFC (Sullivan et al., 2010); Parallel Group Therapy for Parental Alienation (Toren et al., 2013) and Family Bridges Workshop (Warshak, 2010). ...
Article
The Top 10 Key Findings is the result of a 4-year research study on the targeted parents’ experiences of parental alienation. Semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted on 54 targeted parents alienated from their children. The data were analysed thematically following a qualitative descriptive design. This article contributes to a greater understanding of the targeted parents’ experiences and needs. The Top 10 Key Findings are based on the own perspective of targeted parents and are created with the aim to assist in the development of future appropriate support services and intervention programmes for them.
... Multifactorial Nature. An in-depth examination of the results reveals the notion of PA as multifactorial, i.e., caused by an interaction of several factors and processes, which is in line with what has been theorized in the literature on PA assessment and intervention-for example, [1,33,36]. Firstly, the analysis of PA nurturing contexts highlights, from the outset, a facilitating interaction-a "perfect triangle" between high-conflict, couple separation and child custody disputes-which, once established, facilitates the emergence of PA processes-for example, [16,37,38]. Furthermore, according to the participants' view, the alienation process can be better understood through the multiple and interrelated factors that contribute to containing or perpetuating these family dynamics. ...
... This is in line with the literature which indicates that not only should alienating behaviors (ABs) be considered to determine PA, but also other relevant factors, including the children and alienated parents' psychological and behavioral responses. The current findings are also coherent with previous descriptions of targeted parents as being rigid, passive and trying to cope with the child's rejection by withdrawing or with counter-rejection-for example, [33,36]. ...
... While this may be a strong and unsubstantiated belief of mothers, it is also possible that, in some cases of PA, the alienated parent contributed to the alienation in one or more significant ways. This possibility leads us to the landscape of "hybrid cases" [36], which identifies a combination of both parents contributing to the alienation of their children. Hybrid cases allow us to understand the child's rejection through a combination of alienation and estrangement elements, with the child's exposure to alienating behavior from a parent, but also with the child's direct experience of abuse, neglect or real caregiving deficits of the other parent. ...
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Parental alienation (PA) and its conceptualization or understanding of the process underlying this dynamic has long been controversial, but it has also been frequently brought to courtrooms. This study provides an account of how legal professionals conceptualize “parental alienation” and how they describe the characteristics of the phenomenon. Using a qualitative design, 21 family court judges (range 33–60 years; 11 men and 10 women), working with child custody cases, participated in an individual in-depth interview. A qualitative analysis based on Grounded Theory basic procedures revealed a complex picture of alienation dynamics with five interconnected results. First, PA contexts and landscapes, which included the judges’ perceptions on the PA nurturing contexts, its strategic behavior patterns and functions, portraits of PA and clues for its identification; second, considerations on PA severity; third, the influential factors, including those related to the emergence of PA; fourth, individual and relational impact of being exposed to PA; and fifth, perceived signs of change. The results also allowed for the complexification of the judges’ theories, revealing six properties of the PA concept: elasticity, intentionality and camouflage, power asymmetries, multifactorial nature, and destructiveness. Directions for future research are expanded from these results and pragmatic contributions of knowledge on judges’ critical thinking on PA issues and its manifestations in legal practice are discussed.
... Targeted children have been observed to exhibit psychosocial disturbances due to exposure to parental alienation. These disturbances include disrupted social-emotional development, lack of trust in relationships, depression, anxiety, difficulties controlling their impulses, social isolation, and low self-sufficiency (Baker, 2005b(Baker, , 2010bBen-Ami & Baker, 2012;Friedlander & Walters, 2010;Godbout & Parent, 2012;Johnston, Walters, & Olesen, 2005;Kopetski, 1998b). ...
... Additionally, information about the targeted parent experience largely has relied on American samples. No study to date has employed an international sample (Baker, 2006(Baker, , 2010aFriedlander & Walters, 2010;Godbout & Parent, 2012;Johnston, 2003;Kelly & Johnston, 2001;Vassiliou & Cartwright, 2001). Throughout this literature, targeted parents have been described as rigid and unskilled in their parenting style, emotionally detached and having difficulty managing their emotions. ...
... The current findings are in contrast to previous descriptions of targeted parents as being rigid, controlling, distant, unskilled, passive, and emotionally detached (Baker & Andre, 2008;Drodz & Olesen, 2004;Friedlander & Walters, 2010;Godbout & Parent, 2012;Gottlieb, 2012;Johnston, 2003;Kelly & Johnston, 2001;Rand, 1997aRand, , 1997b. For example, previous literature has described targeted parents as ambivalent about wanting a relationship with their child (Baker & Andre, 2008;Friedlander & Walters, 2010). ...
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The aims of the study were to determine targeted parent experiences of parental alienation post-separation from the alienating parent, and to investigate common targeted parent characteristics. A total of 225 targeted parents completed an online survey. Targeted parents reported experiencing high severity of exposure to parental alienation tactics. Targeted parent sex and targeted child age significantly predicted variance in exposure to parental alienation. Targeted mothers experienced significantly higher severity of exposure to parental alienation than targeted fathers. Severity of exposure to parental alienation tactics significantly predicted increases in the appraisal of the parental alienation situation as threatening. The findings offered new insights into targeted parent appraisals of their parental alienation experience. The results signified the seriousness of the impact of exposure to parental alienation for targeted parents, and highlighted a need for empirical research into the effectiveness of interventions and support services to assist targeted parents.
... W obecnie prowadzonych badaniach zwraca się uwagę na konieczność odejścia od jednostronnego rozumienia alienacji i akcentuje się wieloczynnikowe uwarunkowania sytuacji, w której dziecko odrzuca relację z drugim rodzicem (Friedlander, Walters, 2010;Johnston, Sullivan, 2020;Saini, Johnston, Fidler, Bala, 2016;Warshak, 2020). Wśród tych czynników wymienia się sposób reagowania rodzica alienowanego na zachowanie dziecka, brak umiejętności radzenia sobie z negatywnymi emocjami, doświadczanie osobistej przykrości i związane z nią reakcje (Warshak, 2003), wraz z innymi psychologicznymi i rodzicielskimi charakterystykami (Gordon, Stoffey, Bottinelli, 2008;Johnston, 2003; Johnston, Walters, Olesen, 2005a). ...
... W przypadkach alienacji często okazuje się bowiem, że dziecko pozostawało w dobrych relacjach z rodzicem do momentu pojawienia się problemów w diadzie rodzicielskiej. Powinno to wzmocnić czujność diagnostyczną w kierunku rozważenia zachowań alienujących jako potencjalnej przyczyny takiego stanu rzeczy (Bernet, Baker, 2013;Darnall, 2011;Friedlander, Walters, 2010, Reay, 2015. Nadal jednak występowanie realnego krzywdzenia dziecka musi być brane pod uwagę. ...
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Artykuł jest analizą alienacji rodzicielskiej z perspektywy diagnozy psychologicznej umożliwiającej jej odróżnienie od reakcji dziecka na rodzica faktycznie krzywdzące-go. W pierwszej kolejności należy wskazać, że wywieranie na dziecko wpływu prowa-dzącego do alienacji jest formą emocjonalnej przemocy i powoduje skutki podobne do innych form jego krzywdzenia. Opiniowanie i wyciąganie wniosków wyłącznie na podstawie diagnozy dziecka nie jest wystarczające. Opierając się na współcze-snych modelach alienacji rodzicielskiej, proponujemy systemowe podejście do jej dia-gnozowania, w którym konieczne jest uwzględnienie psychologicznej charakterystyki funkcjonowania dziecka, cech funkcjonowania rodziców oraz interakcji między nimi, podłoża motywacyjnego towarzyszącego alienacji, a także relacji każdego z rodziców z dzieckiem. Artykuł kończą wskazówki mogące służyć diagnozie alienacji rodziciel-skiej i różnicowaniu tej sytuacji z innymi formami przemocy oraz sygnalizujące sytu-acje złożone, w których dziecko doświadcza wielu form krzywdzenia. Słowa kluczowe: alienacja rodzicielSka, przemoc, rodzina jako SyStem, diagnoza różnicowa
... If the parents are unable to agree, or if a practitioner identifies non-compliance or safeguarding issues, a comprehensive assessment by a court appointed expert with specialist knowledge is needed (Fidler & Bala, 2010). This typically includes the analysis of longitudinal information about all of the parties, parents and children, and the family dynamics from many sourcesincluding discussions, observations, appropriate psychometric instruments, court papers, information from individuals and organisations who have experience of the child, parents or family, school and medical information (Ellis, 2008;Fidler et al., 2012;Friedlander & Walters, 2010;Jaffe, Ashbourne, & Mamo, 2010). In the UK, such an assessment is usually a last resort after all else has failed. ...
... Interventions which are appropriate for mild to moderate alienation all share common elements which include psychoeducation about parental alienation and the impact on the child; reduction of the child's psychological distress and improvement of emotional well-being; addressing the child's distorted cognitions and developing their critical thinking skills; support of the alienated parent-child relationship; supporting the alienating parent and challenging their distorted cognition; attempts at reparation of the co-parenting relationship, improved communication and healthy boundaries (Albertson- Kelly & Burkhard, 2013;Fidler et al., 2012;Friedlander & Walters, 2010;Smith, 2016;Templer, Matthewson, Haines, & Cox, 2017;Walters & Friedlander, 2016). Interventions of this type include increasing parenting time between the child and the alienated parent. ...
... Various studies have highlighted common traits of the targeted parent such as impatience, rigidity, emotional distance, skill-deficiency, narcissism, anger, and avoidance (e.g., Baker & Andre, 2008;Friedlander & Walters, 2010;Godbout & Parent, 2012;Johnston, 2003;Kelly & Johnston, 2001;Lamminen, 2013). Baker and Andre (2008) highlighted the necessity of simultaneously acknowledging the pain and loss experienced by the targeted parent without blaming them for the situation, as well as acknowledging areas in which they can improve their parenting skills. ...
... As such, these descriptions may be incomplete in painting the picture of the targeted parent experience of parental alienation. Furthermore, the research exploring the targeted parent perspective has methodological limitations including small sample sizes, which makes it difficult to generalize the findings (Baker & Andre, 2008;Friedlander & Walters, 2010;Godbout & Parent, 2012;Johnston, 2003;Kelly & Johnston, 2001;Vassiliou & Cartwright, 2001). Furthermore, no study to date has explored the perspective of targeted parents in a large international sample and thematically analyzed the collective findings. ...
Article
This study investigated the targeted parent experience of parental alienation and alienating behaviors. One hundred and twenty-six targeted parents provided narratives in response to an open-ended question at the end of an online survey. Braun and Clarke’s (2006) thematic analysis framework was used to identify themes in the data. Six themes were identified illustrating targeted parents’ experience of parental alienation and alienating behaviors. Targeted parents described physical and emotional distance separating them from their child, emotional and financial costs associated with their engagement with “systems” such as legal systems and child protection systems. They described poor mental health and concern for their child’s psychological well-being. Targeted parents considered alienating behaviors to be a form of family violence. Additionally, targeted parents used active coping behaviors. It was concluded that further research is needed to better understand parental alienation. Mental health and legal professionals must collaborate to optimize support for targeted parents.
... Similar issues are seen today with the study of resist-refusal dynamics ("RRD"). That more recent naming convention 3 alone may be an indicator of how poorly defined the phenomena being described are, whether under the rubric of abuse, alienation, and estrangement (e.g., Kelly & Johnston, 2001), or under more behavioral terms (e.g., Friedlander & Walters, 2010). These phenomena are further confused with the addition of "hybrid" labels, 4 poorly-grounded abstractions, 5 and other idiosyncratic terminology. ...
... 4. Friedlander and Walters (2010) identified "Enmeshment + Alienation," "Enmeshment + Alienation + Estrangement," "Enmeshment + Estrangement," and "Alienation + Estrangement" as '"Hybrid" types' noting that "uncomplicated or pure cases of alienation" (p. 100) were relatively infrequent in the cases they treated. ...
Article
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Legal and mental health professionals face significant challenges when addressing situations in which children resist contact with a parent. There remains only limited empirical research on the differentiation of types and severity of contact problems, the resulting impacts on children and adolescents, and the outcomes of interventions. Often, family justice professionals encounter conflicting information that presents wildly diverging views on the scientific knowledge base used to guide understandings of human interaction. In cases involving resist‐refuse dynamics (“RRD”), the polarized claims, characterized by dichotomous thinking, often assert abuse by the rejected parent, on the one hand, or alienating behavior by the favored parent, on the other hand. When presented with conflicting social science research, understanding basic experimental design methodology is critical to resolving questions of the reliability and utility of the information presented. Equally important, is an understanding of cognitive bias and the human tendency to experience difficulty in modifying belief systems when presented with updated information; this understanding includes changing conceptual frameworks for decision making in family law cases. While polarized and often acrimonious debate in the field may be reflective of larger societal strife, recognizing strengths and weaknesses in the ideas presented in research literature allows for an integrative approach to bring more light, and less heat, to the larger conceptualization of human interactions we have to address in the family court setting.
... Clinician accounts and court rulings suggest that court officials often use causal factors (i.e. reason for parental rejection) to make custody decisions (Drozd & Olesen, 2004), and use causal factors to differentiate parent-child alienation from parent-child estrangement (Friedlander & Walters, 2010). Darnall (1998) argues that, for children, the following behaviors might signal parent-child alienation (1) hatred of the target parent, (2) refusing to visit the target parent, (3) holding delusional or irrational beliefs about the target parent, (4) having no capacity to feel guilt regarding the target parent, and (5) unwillingness to forgive past indiscretions of the target parent. ...
... Although the practical application of the legal perspective is evident, conceptualizing parent-child estrangement based on the attribution for desiring distance can be problematic. First, from this approach, estrangement is only something that happens to young children who have divorced parents, one of whom is abusive (Friedlander & Walters, 2010). Second, this conceptualization does not allow for other attributions such as unrealistic/unmet expectations (Jerrome, 1994), departures from family morals/beliefs (Sucov, 2006), or critical life events such as new marriages, childbirths, or deaths (Carr et al., 2015) that are often cited as catalysts for estrangement. ...
Article
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Despite assumptions that families are close and intact, the prevalence of family member marginalization, parent–child alienation, and parent–child estrangement is overwhelming. Largely ignored by the research community, these three family distancing processes pose significant disruptions to the entire family system. Although some of associated behaviors lead to turmoil and decreased well-being, distancing can also be a healthy solution to an unhealthy environment. This manuscript traces the history of these three processes; offering conceptualizations, strengths, and critiques of each perspective. Specifically, we discuss the way communication researchers have influenced these processes as well as how they can contribute to this sparse body of research in the future. Finally, we compare the processes and question whether families should be considered nonvoluntary.
... Most definitions of estrangement indicate that it results in a disruption of normal and appropriate family functioning, if not a complete discontinuation of a relationship altogether. For example, Friedlander and Walters (2010) contend that in its most basic presentation estrangement is the "impairment in the parent-child relationship" resulting from a range of causes, "from intimate partner violence, abuse or neglect, to less dramatic but still significant behaviors such as inadequate parenting or chronic parental insensitivity" (p. 109). ...
... While empirical research focusing on estrangement is sparse, psychological musings on how to rectify the loss of intimacy in family relationships is more abundant with authors providing recommendations to enhance coping (LeBey, 2001;Sichel, 2004), improve communication (Davis, 2013;Sucov, 2006), and resolve conflict (Liberman, 2002). Friedlander and Walters (2010) ultimately rearticulated the importance of family interventions when they said, "A child's resistance or refusal to spend time with a parent often becomes more entrenched over time, highlighting the importance of early intervention" (p. 108). ...
Article
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Critical perspectives remain largely absent from the study of family communication. To interrogate the power of discourse to construct knowledges about how family is and should be, we drew on Judith Butler’s poststructural theory of performativity to critically analyze the common experience of family estrangement. We argue that professional discourse performatively constructs the functional family binary by equating ongoing, open, and positive family communication with functional family identity, while con- structing estrangement as unnatural, dysfunctional, and in need of intervention. We then illustrate how some individuals who self-identify as estranged from a family member “trouble” the functional/dysfunctional family binary by articulating their own families as functionally estranged.
... Divorce has long been viewed as a complex phenomenon. Undoubtedly a source of family stress, especially during COVID-19 times (Lebow, 2020), it could have both negative and positive economic, psychological, and relational consequences for family members (Amato, 2010;Campbell, 2016;de Vaus et al., 2017;Friedlander & Walters, 2010;Frisco et al., 2007). Children might be especially vulnerable to the effects of divorce, with previous findings pointing to several potentially moderating variables, including socio-economic status, socio-cultural context, extended family and social support, and the level of dispute between the parents (Amato & Keith, 1991;Burke et al., 2007;Friedlander & Walters, 2010;Hashemi & Homayuni, 2017). ...
... Undoubtedly a source of family stress, especially during COVID-19 times (Lebow, 2020), it could have both negative and positive economic, psychological, and relational consequences for family members (Amato, 2010;Campbell, 2016;de Vaus et al., 2017;Friedlander & Walters, 2010;Frisco et al., 2007). Children might be especially vulnerable to the effects of divorce, with previous findings pointing to several potentially moderating variables, including socio-economic status, socio-cultural context, extended family and social support, and the level of dispute between the parents (Amato & Keith, 1991;Burke et al., 2007;Friedlander & Walters, 2010;Hashemi & Homayuni, 2017). ...
Article
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It is a wide consensus that high-intensity parental disputes (HIPD) might result in negative ramifications for children. The current study wishes to advance the knowledge regarding what children undergo during the acute time of the dispute, as portrayed by experienced frontline social workers mandated by the court to intervene with parents and their children in the context of HIPD. Ninety-four social workers participated in ten focus groups and five in-depth interviews. A thorough analysis of the narratives revealed three main themes. The first relates to their tremendous fear for the children’s wellbeing, often displayed by the words “burn” and “death.” The second theme addresses the practitioners’ reflections with respect to the various experiences the children undergo during the acute time of HIPD and their risk assessments. The third theme addresses the practitioners’ struggle in identifying how to protect the children during these times. The discussion spotlights the exposure of children to HIPD as a prolonged and chronic risk, with potentially adverse emotional and physical impacts. Key conclusions address the need to advance children’s rights and the protection of children in the context of HIPD.
... When possible, therapeutic interventions should involve both parents and dyadic interventions with the child and targeted parent to allow for the recovery of this important relationship (Baker and Darnall 2006). Interventions based on a systemic approach involving different family elements have been pointed out as being suited to these cases (Friedlander and Walters 2010;Sullivan et al. 2010). Within these interventions, it is important to address both the system's vulnerabilities and resources and the individual psychological problems, such as depression. ...
Article
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The main aim of the present study was to examine the psychological adaptation and beliefs of parents who identified themselves as experiencing a situation of parental alienation (targeted parents). Firstly, we compared psychological adaptation (depression, satisfaction with life) and belief in an unjust world in targeted parents and parents from the community. Secondly, we examined the associations between individual (depression, belief in an unjust world) and family (child behavior related to parental alienation, other parent’s alienating behavior and triangulation) factors and satisfaction with life in targeted parents. A cross-sectional study was conducted with two sub-samples (N = 106) who completed self-report questionnaires assessing depression symptoms, belief in an unjust world, and satisfaction with life. Targeted parents additionally reported on parental alienation and triangulation measures. Results showed that targeted parents presented higher scores of depression symptoms and of beliefs in an unjust world and lower scores in satisfaction with life, compared to parents in the community. Standard multiple regression analysis showed a significant contribution of depression, belief in an unjust world and child behavior related to parental alienation for the satisfaction with life of targeted parents. The findings provide an important contribution to characterize targeted parents’ psychological adaptation and beliefs, and to identify correlates of poorer satisfaction with life in the adverse context of parental alienation.
... The concept of "hybrid" cases (Friedlander & Walters, 2010;Greenberg et al., 2019), with co-existing alienation and abuse, is associated with the belief that the alienation makes the make child's fearful reactions disproportionate to the abuse (Warshak, 2019). Post-traumatic fears are then interpreted as "irrational and maladaptive" because "the feared object is known to present little or no objective threat" (Garber, 2015, p. 97). ...
... With the exception of Agllias's (2011Agllias's ( , 2016Agllias's ( , 2017 as well as Scharp's (2016b;Scharp & McLaren, 2017;Scharp & Thomas, 2016;Scharp, Thomas, & Paxman, 2015) bodies of research, social scientific studies about parent-child estrangement are virtually nonexistent and what little we know about estrangement largely emerges from an amalgam of court reviews, popular press articles, and personal accounts (e.g., Drozd & Olesen, 2004;Friedlander & Walters, 2010;Lally, 2015;LeBey, 2001). Thus, it might come as no surprise that there is not an official conceptualization of estrangement, articulation of its components, or detailed understanding of the process. ...
Article
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A constructivist grounded theory of family distancing emerged from the narrative accounts of 52 adult children in the process of estrangement from their parents. The grounded theory conceptualizes estrangement as a continuum comprised of eight components: (1) communication quality, (2) communication quantity, (3) physical distance, (4) presence/absence of emotion, (5) positive/negative affect, (6) reconciliation/desire to be a family, (7) role reciprocity, and (8) legal action. In addition, 10 communicative behaviors are identified that can help family members move along the estrangement continuum toward greater distance or maintain their position. Together they interplay to constitute a holistic picture of the estrangement process. Scholarly uses, theoretical implications, and practical applications will be discussed.
... '" [93]; "Helping alienated children with ,Family bridges . . . '" [154]; "When a child rejects a parent: Tailoring the intervention to fit the problem" [66]; "Toxic divorce: A workbook for alienated parents" [124]; "The psychosocial treatment of parental alienation" [48]; "A Family therapy and collaborative system approach to amelioration" [78]; "PIVIP -Programa de intervención para victimas de interferencias parentales" [139]; "Reunification planning and therapy" [133]; "Working with alienated children and families -A clinical guidebook" [11]; "The application of structural family therapy to the treatment of Parental Alienation Syndrome" [79]; "Understanding and working with the alienated child" [156]; "Family reflections: A promising therapeutic program designed to treat severely alienated children and their family system" [125]; "An attachment-based model of Parental Alienation -Foundations" [40]; "Restoring family connections" [7]. Letzteres ist eine Methode, die zugelassenen "Mental health professionals"/Therapeuten zur Verfügung steht, die mit betroffenen Eltern und ihren erwachsenen entfremdeten Kindern ambulant arbeiten. ...
Article
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Bei der induzierten Eltern-Kind-Entfremdung (Parental Alienation) handelt es sich um eine bestimmte Form von psychischer Kindesmisshandlung, die im DSM-5, dem aktuellen Diagnostic and Statistic Manual der American Psychiatric Association (APA) unter der Diagnoseziffer V 995.51 child psycholocical abuse verortet ist. Induzierte Eltern-Kind-Entfremdung, die nicht behandelt wird, kann zu traumatischen psycho-physischen Langzeitfolgen bei betroffenen Kindern führen. Dieser Tatsache wird in familiengerichtlichen Verfahren noch unzureichend Beachtung geschenkt. Der Artikel befasst sich zusammenfassend mit der Definition, der Symptomatik und den verschiedenen Schweregraden von Parental Alienation und beschreibt einige wichtige Entfremdungstechniken und mögliche psychosomatische und psychiatrische Folgen der induzierten Eltern-Kind-Entfremdung. Schließlich wird auf Präventions- und Interventionsprogramme hingewiesen, die inzwischen in einigen Ländern angewandt und evaluiert werden. Zwei Fallbeispiele aus der Praxis und ein ausführliches, internationales Literaturverzeichnis schließen die Arbeit ab.
... The intended objective of RT is not only to reunify or reconnect a child with the rejected parent, but to improve individual functioning for all family members, the co-parent relationship and the family as a whole (Polak & Moran, 2017). A variety of theoretical models appear to be used for the practice of RT including: family-system-based models (Friedlander & Walters, 2010;Gottlieb, 2013;Smith, 2016;Sullivan, Ward, & Deutsch, 2010;Ward, Deutsch, & Sullivan, 2017), attachment-based models (Childress, 2015), cognitive science (Warshak, 2010), cognitive-behavioral-based models (Baker & Andre, 2013;Garber, 2015) and animal-assisted/equine-based models (Judge & Bailey, 2017). Clinical attempts have been made to differentiate between the nature or type of contact problem (i.e., affinity, alignment, justified rejection, alienation, hybrid), and its severity (i.e., mild, moderate, severe) with the use of behavioral indices (Fidler & Ward, 2017;Fidler et al., 2013;Kelly & Johnston, 2001;Gardner, 1999). ...
Article
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Objectives: Reintegration therapy (RT) is an evolving therapy that aims to ameliorate parent–child contact problems and alienation post-separation/divorce. This study explored how RT is defined and practiced among experienced mental health professionals and the underlying theory informing practi- tioners’ understanding of contact problems. Findings were used to generate practice recommendations. Method: A hermeneutic phenomenological design was used based on a purposive sample of 14 clinically experienced mental health professionals from Canada and the United States. Results: Analysis revealed substantial variance among practi- tioners’ underlying theoretical frameworks which inform clin- ical practice and service delivery models. Two distinct themes related to the definition of RT and treatment goals emerged signifying some consensus. Implications: Given the variation in models and practice, find- ings illustrate the need for professionals and researchers to collaborate toward the development of a unified theoretical model and the creation of practice guidelines. This, in turn, will allow for objective assessment and evaluation of its effectiveness.
... This phenomenon in the family dynamics is often a result of traumatic experiences of domestic violence (Drozd & Olesen, 2004;Friedlander & Walters, 2010), physical, sexual, psychological or emotional abuse, parental neglect, parental outbursts (Kelly & Johnston, 2001), conflicts and disagreements between parents, divorce (Campbell, 2005) attachment disorders, differing values and beliefs (religion, homophobia etc.), major life events or poor communication, it may even be a result of the involvement or interference of a third party (Blake, 2017). Majority of the research on family relationships tends to investigate reasons for parent-child estrangement, although more often than not, it tries to pinpoint a situation or one circumstance that brought the estrangement (Carr et al., 2015). ...
Thesis
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Abstract Background: Family relationships are commonly assumed to last a lifetime, however the reality is, that some family members become estranged from one another for various reasons. Method: This study, using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), investigated the aftermath as well as therapy and counselling experiences of adult children estranged from their abusive parents. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 4 participants, who elaborated on their estrangement and described their therapy and counselling experiences. Results: The results suggested that even though participants felt relief and liberation after their estrangement, they also reported feeling some complicated emotions (e.g. anger and sadness) as a result of trauma. Respondents emphasised the importance and value of their traumatic memories as a way of maintaining their estrangement and to recognise abusive behaviours in the future. Participants also described their healing as a lengthy process, which involved using mental health services (e.g. therapy or counselling) to help them deal with their traumas and estrangement. They appreciated and perceived as helpful their therapists’ or counsellors’ support, feedback, and perspective. It was also highlighted by the respondents that there is a lack of general understanding of family estrangement within their social networks, which made their experience lonesome. Conclusion: These understandings of family estrangement may involve implications for further research to develop early interventions to help prevent and recognise all types of childhood maltreatment as well as to provide a better support for the individuals who are estranged from a family member.
... Our findings, from the perspective of the social workers, are indicative of the immense stress with which the children contend while trying to survive in an environment replete with intense conflict, tension, and uncertainty, and to contend with powerful and often contradictory expectations and evident clashes of worldviews, values, and norms. Most of the existing literature in the field of HIPD suggests that only clear symptoms of deficit in the parent-child relationship, or symptoms that the children are experiencing, are indicative of risk situations for such children (Baker 2007;Friedlander and Walters 2010;Johnston and Kelly 2004). The present study, however, takes a few steps back and sheds light on the harm that these experiences, in and of themselves, can do to children. ...
Article
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Exposure to high intensity parental dispute (HIPD) can have harsh consequences for children both in childhood and adulthood. Most of the research on children and HIPD has been conducted in Western societies. Guided by context-informed perspective, the present study was designed to learn about the lives of children in HIPD situations within the Jewish Ultra-Orthodox community in Israel, in which one of the parents has disaffiliated with the community, as perceived by frontline practitioners who intervene with the children and their families in this context. Nine semi-structured interviews with social workers with extensive experience in such cases and 25 written reports authored by social workers were analyzed. The thematic analysis highlighted the impact of the clash between the Ultra-Orthodox world and the secular world on the lives of the children. The findings also underlined the challenges facing social workers in assessing these children’s most urgent needs given the various risks they face, including spiritual risk. The discussion points to an urgent need for further theoretical advancements regarding HIPD and children in other non-Western contexts and the crucial role of context-informed research in understanding this multifaceted phenomenon, which should greatly impact both decision making and intervention. The study’s conclusions indicate the importance of incorporating the findings into policy and practice in order to more effectively adapt interventions for children to situations of HIPD in closed societies.
... Parents and children are expected to have deep, meaningful, and caring communication exchanges that endure in good and bad times [1], but estranged family relationships-those that are dormant, distanced, or dissolved-are common, even between parents and their children [5]. While estrangement is an ongoing process in which one or both parties are actively communicating to adjust and renegotiate intimacy boundaries [6,7], parental estrangement is often the result of the child wanting to decrease their parent's unwanted involvement [8]. These adult child estrangers report betrayal, parental indifference, and lack of support, inclusion, and acceptance among their reasons for distancing [9] with some relationships involving abuse [6,10,11]. ...
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To address Americans’ general attitudes and behavioral intentions toward adult children who are estranged from their parents, the current study employed online survey data from 151 Americans recruited through Amazon MTurk. Their responses revealed negative stereotypes (e.g., childish, ungrateful) and positive stereotypes (e.g., independent, strong) of the adult child who is estranged, as well as negative assessments of the parent who is estranged. Generally, participants perceived the adult children as more competent than warm. Compared to other participants in this sample, those participants who were estrangers or estrangees themselves held more positive attitudes overall, including more positive perceptions of estranged children’s warmth and competence. In response to open-ended survey questions asking participants how they would communicate with someone they knew to be estranged, common responses were avoidance of family-related topics, (heightened) physical distance, and accommodation to the needs of the person who is estranged. Implications are discussed surrounding the lack of warmth associated with those experiencing estrangement.
... An alternative framework for understanding contact refusal following divorce and separation was proposed by Kelly and Johnston (2001) with modifications by Friedlander and Walters (2010). Their framework focuses on contact refusal as the central problem with a variety of possible sources influencing the child. ...
Article
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This article describes the development of a self-report measure to assess children refusing contact with their parents following divorce or separation. Two samples of young adults were collected to conduct an exploratory factor analysis (N = 96) and a confirmatory factor analysis (N = 332). The fit of the CFA was found to be adequate. Comparison to qualitative descriptions of participants’ families indicated good validity. The Contact Refusal Scale also correlated appropriately with related measures. The results suggest that the Contact Refusal Scale may be a useful measure in better understanding the complex relationships and actions that follow parental divorce or separation.
... By contrast, children who have reasonable cause to have such attitudes and beliefs (e.g., due to parental neglect or abuse) are termed "estranged" and are categorically excluded in all of the above conceptualizations. Others, avoiding all reference to cause, defi ne the problem in behavioral terms as a child who resists or refuses visitation (Friedlander & Walters, 2010 ;Johnston, 1993 ). ...
... This phenomenon in the family dynamics is often a result of traumatic experiences of domestic violence (Drozd & Olesen, 2004;Friedlander & Walters, 2010), physical, sexual, psychological or emotional abuse, parental neglect, parental outbursts (Kelly & Johnston, 2001), conflicts and disagreements between parents, divorce (Campbell, 2005) attachment disorders, differing values and beliefs (religion, homophobia etc.), major life events or poor communication, it may even be a result of the involvement or interference of a third party (Blake, 2017). Majority of the research on family relationships tends to investigate reasons for parent-child estrangement, although more often than not, it tries to pinpoint a situation or one circumstance that brought the estrangement (Carr et al., 2015). ...
Thesis
Family relationships are commonly assumed to last a lifetime, however the reality is, that some family members become estranged from one another for various reasons. This study investigated the aftermath as well as therapy and counselling experiences of adult children estranged from their abusive parents. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 4 participants, who elaborated on their estrangement and described their therapy and counselling experiences after their estrangement. The results suggested that even though participants felt relief and liberation after their estrangement, they also reported feeling some complicated emotions (e.g. anger and sadness) as a result of trauma. Respondents emphasised the importance and value of their traumatic memories as a way of maintaining their estrangement and recognise abusive behaviours in the future. Participants also described their healing as a lengthy process, which involved using mental health services (e.g. therapy or counselling) to help them deal with their traumas and estrangement. They appreciated and perceived as helpful their therapists’ or counsellors’ support, feedback, and perspective. It was also highlighted by the respondents that there is a lack of general understanding of family estrangement within their social networks, which made their experience lonesome. These understandings of family estrangement may involve implications for further research to develop early interventions to help prevent and recognise all types of childhood maltreatment as well as provide a better support for the individuals who are estranged from a family member.
... They maintain that it starts first like a problem within the triadic or between the dyadic. In other words, they argue that there are three factors that lead to the dysfunctionality of the father; violence is the major factor, along with abusiveness and neglection (Friedlander & Walters, 2010). Moreover, in "Troubling the Functional/Dysfunctional Family Binary Through the Articulation of Functional Family Estrangement" Allen and Moore (2017) argue that the binaries functional/dysfunctional are interchangeable, if the communication is accessible and democratic between family members, the family is functional. ...
Article
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This study seeks to offer a comprehensible understanding of the father figure in family and how the father character in Hanif kureishi’s “The Buddha of Suburbia” becomes dysfunctional to some extent. However, critics, historians or literary figures concentrate less on the structure and more on the description such as a happy family or a sad family, etc. Add to that, writers succeed to depict the image of a ruling father who owns everything inside the family including his wife and children. Also, they may portray a successful mother who manages to take care of her children in the absence of a husband. Nevertheless, fathers as abusive and dysfunctional in particular families are seldom taken into consideration; perhaps because of the patriarchal stereotypes in certain communities. Thus, Fatherhood is the main reason to family destruction and disintegration in contradiction to the patriarchal system that positions the father as the symbol of unity and at the same time of power. Index Terms—the dysfunctional father, family, dress, Hanif kureishi
... Implementing large scale, evidence based clinical interventions to address child abuse has been challenging because many coun- tries around the world lack professionals with the knowledge base, skills, and expertise, the infrastructure or funding to support such programs, prevalence data to demonstrate the scope of the prob- lem, and the ability to evaluate the programs ( Mikton et al., 2013). A number of models of clinical intervention for children with severe parental alienation have been developed (e.g., Friedlander & Walters, 2010), the best-known being Warshak's (2010) Family Bridges Program. Family Bridges is an educative and experiential program focused on allowing the child to have a healthy relation- ship with both parents, removing the child from the parental conflict, and encouraging child autonomy, multiple perspective- taking, and critical thinking. ...
Article
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Despite affecting millions of families around the world, parental alienation has been largely unacknowledged or denied by legal and health professionals as a form of family violence. This complex form of aggression entails a parental figure engaging in the long-term use of a variety of aggressive behaviors to harm the relationship between their child and another parental figure, and/or to hurt the other parental figure directly because of their relationship with their child. Like other forms of family violence, parental alienation has serious and negative consequences for family members, yet victims are often blamed for their experience. In order to be recognized as a form of family violence and to secure protection for victims under law and social policies, a formal review and comparison of parental alienating behaviors and outcomes to child abuse and intimate partner violence has been sorely needed. The result of this review highlights how the societal denial of parental alienation has been like the historical social and political denial or other forms of abuse in many parts of the world (e.g., child abuse a century ago). Reframing parental alienating behaviors as a form of family violence also serves as a desperate call to action for social scientists to focus more theoretical and empirical attention to this topic. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved).
Chapter
Parent–child alienation occurs when parents persuade their children to reject or distance themselves from the other parent. First introduced as a syndrome, scholars interested in parental alienation have shifted diagnostic focus from children's symptoms toward parents' alienating behaviors. This phenomenon is of importance particularly to members of the justice system who must make informed decisions about custody arrangements.
Article
Parental alienation is a post-divorce family dysfunction characterized by a children’s unjustified rejection of a parent in response to inter-parental conflict and loyalty issues. Researchers and clinicians have developed a number of interventions specifically targeted to children who refuse visitation with a parent and their family. Following PRISMA guidelines, a systematic review of current interventions for parental alienation has been conducted. Twenty four publications were included and classified in three categories. Categories, based on the type of intervention described and/or evaluated, are as follows: change of custody and reunification programs; psychotherapy; counseling.
Article
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Contact refusal by children following parental divorce or separation is a difficult experience for families. Although theorists have written much about contributions and effects of contact refusal, empirical exploration of the topic is under developed. The three papers included in this dissertation seek to expand the empirical literature on contact refusal and the long-term effects of the behaviors that relate to it. The first paper presents two studies designed to develop a measure of contact refusal. Study 1 used responses from 96 participants to narrow an initial pool of 25 question to 12 questions using an exploratory factor analysis. Study 2 used responses from 332 participants to confirm the fit of the Contact Refusal Scale developed in Study 1. The fit was found to be adequate. The Contact Refusal Scale also correlated appropriately with related measures. The second paper presents an expansion of a model proposed by Friedlander and Walters (2010) that suggested that multiple causes predict any given case of contact refusal. Models predicting contact refusal were tested based on retrospective data from 292 young adults. Forming a coalition with one parent was a strong predictor of refusing contact with the other parent. Alienating behaviors were mediated by the coalition that was formed. Parental warmth was also a protective factor against a child refusing contact. Parental violence was also a significant predictor. Adolescents were marginally more likely to refuse contact. The third paper explores the long-term consequences of contact refusal and the behaviors that were related to it in the second paper. Using self-report data from 292 participants, circumstances following divorce were used to predict current relationships with parents and personal mental health. Coalitions with mother and father's warmth and violence were predictive of relationships with fathers in young adulthood. No significant predictors of relationships with mothers were found. Coalitions with mothers and parental warmth were predictors of current mental health. The research demonstrates the importance of exploring children's responses to divorce from a complex framework, rather than attributing outcomes to single causes.
Article
Children often need help before their parents are ready to stop fighting. Children at the center of high-conflict disputes, particularly those who resist contact with a parent, face extraordinary risks of maladjustment. Years of investigation and litigation may precede any meaningful attempt at intervention, based on the questionable belief that all elements of causality (or blame) must be established before any effective treatment can occur. Children's functioning may continue to deteriorate during this time, undermining their future adjustment and reducing the chance of successful intervention later. We illustrate the application of the coping-focused, multisystemic Child Centered Conjoint Therapy model to assisting these families. Methods to assist children without compromising external investigations are discussed.
Article
A subgroup of intractable families, in which a child refuses post separation contact with a parent, perplexes and frustrates professionals who work with them. This article discusses the underlying forces that drive the family's intractability, as well as guidelines for working with the family. The guidelines include specific court orders developed from the very beginning of the case that elaborate the court's stance about goals and expectations for the family, along with specialized individual and family therapies that are undertaken within a framework of planned collaboration with the court. The collaborative team of legal and mental health professionals works in an innovative and active way to structure, support, and monitor the family's progress in resolving the resist/refuse dynamic.
Article
In response to a growing number of requests to help reunify parents and children separated by allegations of child abuse, we developed a model for intervention informed by clinical experience, feedback from clients and professionals, and insights from a growing body of interdisciplinary literature. This article presents a retrospective analysis of 29 intrafamilial cases describing the intervention, outcomes, and problems presented by these challenging situations. The safety and protection of the child was the paramount consideration in determining success, whether or not reunification was achieved. Using informal follow-up data, 24 of the 29 cases were categorized as successful, 21 resulted in full or partial reunification, and 3 cases resulted in the voluntary or court-ordered withdrawal of an accused father believed to pose a risk to the child. In 5 cases, the nonaccused parent thwarted efforts at reunification, and the case returned to the court of relevant jurisdiction.
Article
This study examined communication apprehension within parent–child relationships as a function of parental alienation and self-esteem. We posited that parental alienation in childhood was positively associated with parent–child communication apprehension in adulthood, and that self-esteem in adulthood mediated the association. Results from 211 college-aged students indicated that parental alienation from male and female caregivers in childhood was positively associated with communication apprehension with female caregivers in adulthood. In addition, parental alienation from male caregivers in childhood was positively associated with communication apprehension with male caregivers in adulthood. The findings also indicated a stronger positive relationship between parental alienation and parent–child communication apprehension when self-esteem was low rather than high.
Article
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Boşanma, kısaca, eşler arasında evliliğin hukuki açıdan sona erdirilmesi olarak tanımlanabilir. Çatışmalı ayrılık veya boşanma davalarında, ebeveynlerden birinin öfke/kızgınlık hissiyle birlikte sözleri, davranışları ve tutumlarıyla diğer ebeveyni kötülemesi, çocuklarının bu ebeveyniyle olan kişisel görüşme haklarını engellemesi sonucunda çocuklar, hedefteki ebeveyne karşı yabancılaşma geliştirebilmektedir. Alanyazında ebeveyn yabancılaşması (ebeveyne yabancılaşma sendromu), özellikle yüksek çatışmalı boşanma davalarında çocukların ebeveynlerinden biriyle (yabancılaştıran ebeveyn) güçlü bir şekilde ittifak kurması ve herhangi bir meşru gerekçe olmaksızın diğer ebeveyniyle (hedefteki veya yabancılaşılan ebeveyn) ilişki kurmayı reddetmesiyle sonuçlanan dinamik bir süreç olarak kavramsallaştırılmakta ve çocuklar açısından bu sürecin duygusal istismarın bir türü olduğu belirtilmektedir. Bu derlemede ebeveyn yabancılaşması sürecinde etkili olabileceği düşünülen faktörlerin dinamik etkileşimlerinin ekolojik sistem kuramı perspektifiyle gözden geçirilmesi amaçlanmıştır. Bu kapsamda çalışmada, ebeveyn yabancılaşması kavramının genel özellikleri üzerinde durulmuş ve her bir sistem düzeyinde (mikrosistem, mezosistem, ekzosistem, makrosistem, kronosistem) ebeveyne yabancılaşma sürecini etkileyebilecek risk faktörleri ile yabancılaşmanın çocuk üzerindeki genel etkileri gözden geçirilmiştir.
Article
One of the consequences of divorce, especially when it involves high-intensity parental dispute (HIPD), is impairment in parent-child relations. The current qualitative study examined how this impairment in in the context of HIPD is perceived and experienced by highly experienced frontline practitioners. These practitioners are mandated to protect children in the context of HIPD and they therefore provide a unique opportunity for understanding this phenomenon. Ninety-four practitioners participated in ten focus groups and five in-depth interviews. Guided by grounded theory methodology, the analysis of the practitioners’ narratives was based on the examination of the practitioners’ perspectives of this phenomenon. The analysis resulted in a process model relating to the impairment in parent-child relations in the context of HIPD. This included three stages: ambivalence and confusion, taking sides, and entrenchment. We discuss two main conclusions that should be further explored. First is the escalation of the HIPD and its tremendous impact on the various informal and formal systems involved. This leads to a two-sided spillover process, stressing the urgent need for professional systems to avoid possible escalations in their interventions. Second, the study highlights the potential relevance of the concept of trauma in the study of children’s exposure to HIPD. The practitioners in the current study provided a rare glance into how the children’s adaptation response to this prolonged traumatic exposure was often the only response that ended the escalation of the dispute.
Article
In order to meet the crying needs of high-conflict families and professionals who work with them, a Canadian psycho-legal team developed an intervention protocol called Parentalité–Conflit–Résolution. Sixteen parents completed validated questionnaires to measure co-parenting, parental conflict, and psychological adjustment. Nonparametric analyses were performed to measure pre- and post-intervention effects. Results confirm the severity of communication problems and the high degree of hostility in families participating in the intervention protocol. Parents perceived fewer alienating behaviors in the other parent at the end of the intervention. Mothers perceived a more positive alliance with the other parent, whereas fathers perceived less parental conflict and fewer negative interactions. Longitudinal research should be conducted to measure the sustainability of changes over the long term.
Article
Over the past 20 years, a number of evidence-based and evidence-informed mental health treatment models, interventions, and best practices have emerged for use with a wide range of client populations, with many different mental health conditions and diagnoses. Unfortunately, many family court-involved children and families do not have access to mental health programs and services that have been identified as evidence-based or evidence-informed. The reasons for this disparity are complex and multi-layered. The primary aim of this paper is to identify the challenges and possibilities of adopting evidence-based or evidence-informed practices when working in the family court arena. To achieve this, the authors will describe a potential decision-making model to help practitioners determine what is evidence-based and evidence-informed and what model or interventions may fit the context. This model has been referred to as a “levels-of-evidence” approach for evaluating family-focused mental treatment interventions and programs and making informed clinical decisions to better serve children and families. As an example, the authors illustrate how a levels-of-evidence approach could be used to identify how evidence-based practices such as Functional Family Therapy (FFT), designed for use in the juvenile justice setting, could be adapted for use in child custody cases. The authors hope this paper serves as a catalyst to further build a bridge between the family law and evidence-based mental health research communities.
Article
This article proposes a conceptual group approach using trauma-based cognitive behavioral therapy for children involved in high conflict custody disputes. Traditionally, interventions for this population have focused on repairing the relationship between parent and child and less on addressing the traumatic symptoms with which the child is suffering. The proposed intervention focuses solely on the needs of the child and provides an outline for seven sessions during which the PRACTICE model of trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy is used. Additionally, ethical implications and directions for future research are discussed.
Article
Parental alienation (PA) is a highly consequential family dynamic that causes harm to children and parents. While many mental health and legal professionals agree that PA is common and potentially very harmful to children, there is still the appearance that there is controversy and discord in the field. The purpose of this study was to test the extent of consensus in the field regarding the basic tenets of PA theory. Specifically, 11 key terms related to PA were identified through expert input and preliminary field‐testing. An on‐line survey was created specifically for the study to assess level of agreement with these key terms among custody evaluators. This profession was selected because of their high degree of training and experience with a variety of family conflict situations; 119 child custody evaluators selected as members of a professional custody evaluator listing (88% response rate) rated their endorsement of these 11 key definitions with response options including: strongly agree, agree, neither agree nor disagree, disagree, and strongly disagree. Results revealed that roughly 80% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed with each of the 11 definitions. These results demonstrate a high degree of consensus and should guide future trainings of legal and mental health professionals to ensure a common language and understanding of this phenomenon.
Chapter
In the last decade and a half, there have been significant changes in Spanish legislation on marital breakdowns. One of the reforms with the greatest impact has been the possibility of shared custody. However, although regulations have not ceased, there have been no studies, such as this one, that relate to the legislation on joint custody in Spain. The data source used is the Survey of Annulments, Separations and Divorces by the Spanish National Institute of Statistics. The study concluded that the presence of a specific law promotes shared parenting, although it increases in Autonomous Communities where its presence was previously greater. However, other variables are involved, as confirmed by cases in the Balearic Islands and the Community of Valencia.
Article
Despite widespread rejection of Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS), some custody evaluators use the presence of its components to invalidate abuse allegations and blame the preferred parent. Although PAS supporters claim that the elements of PAS are unique to Parental Alienation (PA) and can, therefore, be used to diagnose it, no scientific study has yet demonstrated this. Reanalysis of Gardner’s data, and our current knowledge of children, indicate that the elements of PAS are not unique to PA. Many PA/PAS advocates approach custody cases assuming that when children reject parents, it is probably the result of a denigration campaign by the preferred parent. Confirmation bias then leads the evaluator to spin, value, and vet information so that it support their expected conclusion. Children’s avoidance of significant visitation with a parent is often driven by a desire to remain with their primary attachment figure, rather than a rejection of the other parent. Forcing visitation and cutting the children’s time with the primary attachment figure leads to rejection of that parent, rather than solving it. The article suggests a method of scientifically assessing if a child’s rejection of a parent is due to PA, affinity, or justified rejection.
Article
Scientific literature has pointed to a growing body of empirical studies that contribute to an accurate mapping of parental alienation. This descriptive literature review of empirical research on parental alienation - in peer-reviewed scientific journals between January 2000 and December 2018 – seeks to characterize the research methodologies and to provide a summary of the main research themes. Several academic databases (B-On: Online Knowledge Library–Search, Ovid, ProQuest, Web of Knowledge, PsycINFO and Google Scholar) were systematically searched and the review followed the PRISMA guidelines for reporting systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Forty-three studies were included, the majority of them following a quantitative, retrospective and cross-sectional design. Parental alienation was mainly associated with divorce and child custody dispute contexts. Results also revealed the main themes targeted by empirical research: Development and use of assessment measures for parental alienation; Parental alienation patterns; Validation of the parental alienation syndrome construct; Parental alienation impact; Parental alienation viewed as child abuse; Professionals’ voices and maps on parental alienation. Limitations and recommendations for future research on parental alienation are discussed, highlighting common themes and research gaps.
Article
One hundred and twenty licensed mental health professionals were surveyed about their work conducting court-ordered reunification therapy with moderate to severe cases of children’s rejection of a parent. Four issues were examined in particular: assessment/screening of alienation VS. estrangement, development of treatment goals, definition and measurement of treatment success, and barriers to successful treatment. Predictors of successful treatment were also examined. Results indicate that how success was defined, whether joint sessions are offered, number of barriers, and percent of cases perceived to be hybrids all predicted percent of successful cases. Findings offer many opportunities for refining and enhancing this very challenging work.
Article
Over the last few decades, the phenomenon of child maltreatment (CM) has been recognized as a major social problem by professionals, policymakers, and researchers. Relatedly, high-intensity parental dispute (HIPD) has been increasingly recognized, particularly in terms of its detrimental effect on the family unit and on child welfare in particular. Few studies, however, have considered these two phenomena jointly. The present study examines experiences and perceptions of children situated at their intersection. The sample comprised forensic interviews with 42 children referred to the Israeli Service of Child Forensic Interviews following alleged maltreatment. The results of a thematic analysis pointed to the centrality of children's exposure to HIPD in the context of the CM allegations for which they were referred to and about which they were asked during the interview. In addition, the analysis identified various displays of potential deficiencies in parent-child relationship in the context of HIPD and two main profiles for the disclosure of the CM allegations. The discussion stresses the exposure of the children to HIPD as a possible risk context that should receive further attention by scholars and practitioners. Moreover, it highlights the multifaceted nature of the children's experiences, which generate enormous challenges for practitioners in both clinical and forensic contexts, as well as the importance of an integrated approach that considers the HIPD context while not ignoring the CM allegations.
Article
The concept of parental alienation (PA) has expanded in popular usage at the same time that it remains mired in controversy about its scientific integrity and its use as a legal strategy in response to an increasing range of issues in family court. In this paper we describe how competing advocacy movements (for mothers, fathers and children) in the family justice field have, over time, helped shape the shifting definitions and widening focal concerns of PA‐ from children who make false allegations of abuse, to those who resist or refuse contact with a parent, to parent relocation, and to the emotional abuse wrecked upon children who are victims of a manipulative parent. In search of common ground for a sound approach to using PA concepts, we argue that the Single Factor model of PA (asserting that an alienating preferred parent is primarily the source of the problem) is inadequate, overly simplistic and misleading. A Single Factor model rests on the fallacy that abuse or poor parenting on the part of either parent have been, or are able to be, ruled out as sufficient reason for the child's rejecting stance. By contrast, multi‐factor models of PA make more useful, valid, differentiated clinical predictions of children's rejection of a parent, informed by basic and applied research on children and families. However, multi‐factor models are complex and difficult to argue in court and to use in assessment and interventions. Suggestions are made for developing intervention‐focused prediction models that reduce the number of factors involved and are applicable across different types of interventions.
Article
Parent–child contact problems may arise in the context of high conflict separation/divorce dynamics between parents. In cases where there are parent–child contact problems and children resist or refuse contact with one of their parents, there may also be incidents of child maltreatment, intimate partner violence, or compromised parenting that can be experienced by a parent or child as traumatic. The circumstances around separation and/or post‐divorce often result in intense stress for families. In this paper we distinguish between the stressful circumstances that may arise as a result of high interparental conflict and pulls for alignment from a parent, and the real or perceived trauma as a factor which contributes to resistance or refusal of a child to have contact with a parent. Interventions to address both trauma responses and the resist‐refuse dynamics are differentiated and discussed. After screening and assessment, the intent is to treat trauma responses with short‐term, evidence‐based therapy, either before or concurrent with co‐parent and family intervention.
Article
Had Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's fictional detective, the great Sherlock Holmes, actually engaged in deductive reasoning, he would have solved many fewer crimes. In fact, Holmes' logical progression from astute observation to hypotheses is a model of a type of inductive reasoning. This paper argues that mental health professionals tasked to evaluate why a child is resisting/refusing contact with one parent must approach each family the way that Holmes approached each case, without a presumed suspect, moving systematically from detail to hypothesis, well‐versed in the full range of dynamics that may be at play, and erring in favor of parsimony rather than pathology. By contrast, the custody evaluator who approaches these matters through a deductive process, seeking data that support an a priori theory, is vulnerable to confirmatory bias and doing harm to the child whose interests are paramount. The literature concerned with resist/refuse dynamics is reviewed, yielding 13 non‐mutually exclusive variables that evaluators must consider so as to more fully identify why a particular child is resisting or refusing contact with one parent. On this basis, the hybrid model is expanded to include the full spectrum of contributing dynamics. Specific recommendations are made for judicial officers in the interest of writing orders for custody evaluations that minimize the risk of confirmatory bias. Key Points for the Family Court Community • Deductive reasoning seeks to confirm or refute an a priori hypothesis • Deductive reasoning is highly vulnerable to confirmational bias • Confirmational bias can corrupt and invalidate forensic evaluation to the detriment of all involved • Resist/refuse dynamics must be understood through an inductive process that is open to all possible hypotheses • A survey of the literature identifies at least thirteen mutually compatible hypotheses, all of which must be evaluated • Courts must take care to word orders for forensic family evaluations in a manner that minimizes confirmatory bias and invites inductive investigation
Book
Preface The text that follows is a group of proposals borne from the necessities of clinical practice, informed by the literature, and refined by collegial discussions as well as legal cases across the state of Montana. For those of you who may not be familiar with the geography of this part of the world, it is five hundred rugged miles in any direction to the next major city from Billings, Montana. What that means for a practitioner, such as this author, is that the scope of practice is unusually broad and need for sound services high. Every day and each case is different, demanding in its own way, and often times requires a renewed familiarity with the area of practice as well as its literature. It follows that the referral request is either addressed thoroughly, or many a time these clients will need to travel to Denver, Salt Lake City or Seattle to have her or his needs met. The concept of an Interrelated Multidimensional Diagnosis was derived out of such needs in our state and this author’s inability to find a more useful way to approach these phenomena. What is an Interrelated Multidimensional Diagnosis? That will be answered in a myriad of ways over the balance of this book. The short version is that this term was meant to define a set of diagnoses that holistically describe interrelated individual and system characteristics. These characteristics, together with subdynamics, cumulatively create a multidimensional pathological dynamic. It will be argued that the pathological dynamic created is known, for example, by the name of one of the three other terms that are the focus of this book: Munchausen’s Syndrome by Proxy, Factitious Disorder by Proxy or Parental Alienation. These phenomena each describe a pathological dynamic, wherein Munchausen’s Syndrome by Proxy or Factitious Disorder by Proxy is the number one health concern for most child protection agencies, since estimates are that between one-in-ten and one-in-twenty children who carry the diagnosis dies. Meanwhile, the latest estimates are that Parental Alienation here in the United States impacts between twenty-two and forty-four million children, and recent estimates are far higher in other countries. So, this approach was developed to address a need in my community. This conceptualization of an Interrelated Multidimensional Diagnosis will not answer every problem given the convoluted nature of these phenomena. But, what you may find across the pages of this book are a series of proposals, one proposal after another intended to address the needs and problems related to these phenomena. What is being offered here is admittedly a conceptual leap too. My colleague Dr. Evans and I put it this way in our most recent article (2019, in press): We recognize that what we are proposing throughout this article may seem radical. Yet, we argue that clinicians have continually wrestled with ways to more fully describe the experiences they have encountered with these sorts of complex multidimensional phenomena. In many cases these clinicians have been dissatisfied with the status quo and struggled to stem the suffering and/or death of the children whom they ultimately serve in medical and legal systems. What follows in the pages ahead is a journey, and it is my hope that it will prove to be worthy of the reader’s time and attention. Practitioners and professionals should, I hope, find this an interesting read with multiple vantage points from which to examine these phenomena. There will be conceptual analogies, real-world practice applications and discussions, as well as innovations that include, for example, a new diagnostic approach to each phenomena at the end of Chapters 5 and 6. For those of you who are academics and researchers, there will be plenty of citations, details, and patterns that are repeated over and over by different authors in different parts of this text that clarify some of the remarkable consistencies within the literature on these two diagnostic topics. To start with, heroes and heroines from different disciplines and different fields will be discussed to demonstrate the inherent challenges of articulating novel insights. Do not be alarmed when quantum physics and the structure of DNA are discussed at the outset, since it will also be argued that behavioral scientists, practitioners in healthcare and professionals in law have long been dealing with equally complex phenomena. Understanding the concept of an Interrelated Multidimensional Diagnosis may sound insurmountable, but there are regular encounters with similar phenomena on a daily basis. Further, the concept is no more difficult to understand than a campfire or, at times perhaps, the workings of an orchestra. On this journey there are awful sounds, such as those that were produced by the Portsmouth Sinfonia, and still thoughts will turn toward understanding what Leonard Bernstein envisioned as art. There will also be examples of how an Interrelated Multidimensional Diagnosis may be revealed in practice early on, both with regard to the matter of Parental Alienation and in cases where there is Factitious Disorder by Proxy. There are, as stated earlier, some highly technical theory and definition matters that do need attention in Chapter 3. These matters will be intertwined with a progression through the history of Munchausen’s Syndrome by Proxy and Factitious Disorder by Proxy, as well as Parental Alienation, to provide a grounding in each phenomenon. Simultaneously, there will be attention to challenges with naming conventions. These matters will be tackled with a set of novel solutions to the Gordian Knot that these matters have created at present, and even the Platypus Paradox will be offered with a cartoon to illustrate the point. After these clarifications, it will be time to get down to the nuts and bolts of what an Interrelated Multidimensional Diagnosis is, how it develops, how it is structured, how individuals and systems interact, and how it turns into a pathological dynamic. This phenomenon has interrelationships on multiple dimensions, wherein one dimension builds on the other and under the right circumstances creates a pathological dynamic—a pathological dynamic that punctuates as a new steady state that describes a change in one member of the family system whose behavior creates a change in the whole system. Once an Interrelated Multidimensional Diagnosis has been defined, the concept will be applied first to Munchausen’s Syndrome by Proxy and Factitious Disorder by Proxy to see if its architecture and dynamics are fitting and explanatory. Parental Alienation will follow, and the literature associated with each phenomenon will be reviewed in detail as each is applied to the psychological surround of these phenomena with background dimensions. These considerations will be followed by individual characteristics and symptoms, systemic interactions and subdynamics, which again under the right conditions create a pathological dynamic. Tables and proofs will be developed from each phenomenon’s literature and research in order to derive a diagnosis and diagnostic process that allows these pathological dynamics to be recognized and studied to the extent that each either conforms to a qualitative description and may be measured against a quantitative cut-off of more probable than not. These data and literature-rich chapters are followed by a shift back to conceptual matters. In Chapter 7 the journey leads to a discussion of how, despite the fact that the two phenomena under discussion are very different and occur in very different environments, all Interrelated Multidimensional Diagnoses hold a number of characteristics in common. Each also has variable criteria unique to the individuals in the system and the quality of the systems with which they interact. To clarify these matters the role of stress in time and space will be discussed by way of its lasting impact in development stresses, which, coupled with contemporary and situational stresses, amplify the symptoms that create pathological dynamics. Also within that chapter the Interrelated Multidimensional Diagnosis Symbolic Language will be introduced in order to facilitate gathering information from family systems in a fashion consistent with the concepts herein and to create a ready medium with which to converse among colleagues about the structure and functioning of these family systems and the individuals and other systems they interact with. Chapter 8 then deals with the prospect of intervention and the necessity of follow-through with an active Interrelated Multidimensional Diagnosis. Several aspects of intervention will be described with Factitious Disorder by Proxy and Parental Alienation. These discussions will eventually lead to the necessity for systems change in healthcare and law, as well as change in governmental policies and procedures in order to arrest, intervene and treat Interrelated Multidimensional Diagnosis as a larger societal matter. With these discussions behind us, then, four Interrelated Multidimensional Diagnoses will be proposed for future consideration. It is this author’s hope that this journey will prove challenging and informative, and that it will promote a new way of considering these phenomena and the families and individuals they impact. https://www.routledge.com/Parental-Alienation-and-Factitious-Disorder-by-Proxy-Beyond-DSM-5-Interrelated/Butz/p/book/9780367345815
Article
Children in highly conflicted, divorced families can become triangulated and polarized in their relationships with their parents. In time, this can lead to a child refusing to have a relationship with a parent, refusing for example, to see or talk to him or her. This access refusal can sometimes become extended, lasting months to years. When this occurs, the courts may request professional involvement to help facilitate parent-child reunification. This article outlines a family-based treatment model for parent-child reunification cases. This family-based treatment incorporates treatment goals for each family member and each family member is asked to be a part of the solution in resolving the family's problems. I provide a case illustration as well as helpful tips for treating these families.
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FACTORS AFFECTING RECONCILIATION BETWEEN THE CHILD AND TARGET PARENT IN SEVERE PARENTAL ALIENATION SYNDROME Deirdre Conway Rand and Randy Rand OVERVIEW & INTRODUCTION This chapter explores factors affecting reconciliation between the child and target parent in severe parental alienation syndrome (PAS), where the parent-child relationship has been seriously damaged or destroyed. “Severe” includes several types of scenarios: child obsessed with denigrating the target parent; child displaying chaotic, destructive and bizarre behavior in response to intense post-divorce conflict over which parent will stay and which parent will go; child abducted by the alienating parent; child involved in false allegations of sex abuse; little or no contact with the target parent for a period of several years or more. Alienation is the process by which the child’s love for the other parent is extinguished and replaced by an attitude of reflexive hostility. Reconciliation is the process of reversing alienation and becoming open to the relationship once more. Some severely alienated children eventually seek out the target parent on their own and are able to reconcile, but little is known about how often this occurs. Gardner (2001b) conducted a follow-up study of 99 PAS children in which spontaneous reconciliation appears to have occurred in four of 77 cases, or 5 percent. Stuart-Mills-Hoch & Hoch (2003) estimated that spontaneous reconciliation occurred in 10 percent of severe PAS cases. This chapter provides numerous case examples with this type of positive outcome, as well as descriptions of failed reconciliation attempts, and worst-case scenarios. Case reports from published sources, and from our own work over the last 30 years are used to explore the factors associated with reconciliation of the child and target parent in severe PAS. The published cases were drawn from the professional and popular literature, including books, articles in journals and magazines, and newsletters of non-profit organizations. The vignettes designated "case known to authors" are based on the accounts of parents, children, and colleagues we have encountered over the years. They were disguised in accordance with the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (2001). In the 1970s, we were fortunate enough to interface professionally with Wallerstein, Kelly, and Johnston, as their research on children of divorce was getting underway in Marin County, California. This exposure stimulated our interest in high-conflict divorce and interventions that enable children to have relationships with both parents. We learned about parental alienation in the 1980s, when Gardner began writing about PAS. In the 1990s, interventions with severe PAS families became a focal point of our work. The reunification protocol we follow involves the whole family, including the alienating parent. Children who have successfully reconciled with the target parent after participating in our brief, intensive intervention (4 days on average), typically feel that the alienating parent would benefit from the program as well. It all comes back to the idea that children of divorce, like children in intact families, need both parents.
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The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of structural and therapeutic interventions for interrupting parental alienation syndrome (PAS) toward the severe end of the spectrum. Follow-up was obtained on 45 PAS children from a custody evaluator's practice. The child's adjustment and relationship with both parents at evaluation and follow-up were compared. Children who had enforced visitation with the target parent, or were in target parent custody, maintained relationships with both parents unless the alienator was too disturbed. In the completed alienation outcome group, the alienating parent had custody before and after the evaluation, and was able to violate court orders with impunity. Therapy as the primary intervention was ineffective and sometimes made things worse.
Article
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Allegations of family violence, child abuse, and alienation often occur in the same contested child custody case. Custody eval-uators often are poorly trained in forensic assessment of allegations of domestic violence and allegations of alienation. The authors of this article suggest language that is designed to differentiate between cases in which the term alienation is appropriate, as in non-abuse cases, and when it is best to use other language such as estrangementsabotaging, and counter productive protective parenting in cases where there is abuse. This article describes a decision tree that is designed to assist evaluators in identifying the causes of multiple allegations of maltreatment and abuse.
Article
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In this article, controversies and problems with parental alienation syndrome are discussed. A reformulation focusing on the alienated child is proposed, and these children are clearly distinguished from other children who resist or refuse contact with a parent following separation or divorce for a variety of normal, expectable reasons, including estrangement. A systemic array of contributing factors are described that can create and/or consolidate alienation in children, including intense marital conflict, a humiliating separation, parental personalities and behaviors, protracted litigation, and professional mismanagement. These factors are understood in the context of the child's capacities and vulnerabilities.
Article
In a previous issue ofthis journal, Joan B. Kelly and Janet R. Johnston describe their reformulation of the parental alienation syndrome (PAS). Here, 1 prewnt area\ in which I agree with the authors and areas in which 1 disagree. Particular focus is placed on these PAS-related issues: the syndrome question, PAS versus parental alienation, the medical model, custodial transfer, gender bias, DSM-/C: empirical studies, and the misapplication of PAS. In their reformulation of the parental alienation syndrome (PAS), Kelly and Johnston (200 I) described a model that overlaps a great deal with my own work on PAS but also differs in a few aspects. Although separated by a continent, I believe we are essentially seeing the same kinds of psychological problems, as divorce is ubiquitous, and similar problems are caused everywhere for the families involved. I believe we could also agree that all solutions to psychological problems have drawbacks and that we are not dealing with right answers and wrong answers, but have to select what we consider to be the least detrimental of the options available to us. Our differences are probably not as wide as the July 200 1 issue might imply (for a similar view, see Warshak, 2001), and it is my hope that this response will serve to narrow these differences. Furthermore, because the PAS arises so frequently in the context of litigated child-custody disputes, and because such families turn to the courts for assistance in the resolution of these conflicts, professional differences are likely to become exaggerated and more polarized in the courtroom, which is an inevitable outcome of adversarial proceedings.
Article
In this reply to Richard Gardner, we outline our points of disagreement with his formulation of parental alienation syndrome (PAS), showing that his focus on the alienating parent as the primary cause of children's negative attitudes and rejecting behavior toward the other parent is overly simplistic and not supported by findings from recent empirical research. It follows that we strongly object to Gardner's recommendations for legal and mental health interventions with alienated children as well as the use of the term PAS when referring to this problem.
Article
This paper describes a desensitization protocol that uses the one-way mirror as a tool to reintroduce children to an alienated or estranged parent. The one-way mirror provides a physical and psychological barrier from direct contact with a parent whom the child fears and allows the clinician to more easily control the pace of the reunification process. Allowing a child to view the estranged parent from behind the one-way mirror can significantly reduce a child’s anxiety and provides a shield of safety that can make the reunification process tolerable, if not fun. A well equipped viewing room that uses electronic communications technology can permit the child and parent to talk to one another by speaker, thus further alleviating anxiety as the child can hear the estranged parent’s voice and ask questions from behind the mirror. A protocol is described that can be adapted to clinics without access to a one-way mirror, and a case example is provided.
Article
The authors argue that current formulations of the problem of resistance to visitation in separation and divorce are conceptually weak because they fail to take into account the adversarial influence of the legal paradigm. First- and second-order change theory is used to clarify the problem, and a new formulation is proposed that shifts the focus from the parent and/or child exclusively to the resistance dynamic as a whole. General guidelines for intervention are proposed based on a holistic, participatory model that takes into account the tensions involved in working toward compliance while upholding the best interests of the child.
Article
This article describes goals and strategies for family-focused counseling and therapy when children are alienated from a parent after separation and divorce. The confidential intervention takes place within a legally defined contract and is based on a careful assessment of the dynamics of the multiple factors that contribute to the alienation and how the chil?s development is affected. Strategies for forming multiple therapeutic alliances with often reluctant, recalcitrant, and polarized parents are discussed together with ways of helping the child directly.
Article
A child's visitation resistance and refusal (VRR) in the context of parental separation, divorce, and post-divorce litigation must not prematurely be interpreted as evidence of alienation, a conclusion which can be as detrimental to the family system as it is ill founded. The present article proposes a child-centered, developmentally informed heuristic with which forensic evaluators might begin to more uniformly approach the potential causes of and remedies for VRR. An attachment-based, step-wise decision tree is described together with an overview of the remedies presently believed most appropriate to each. Recommendations for empirical study of the multiple convergent dynamics which determine VRR and establishment of corresponding interventions follow.
Article
As the field of forensic family law has become more empirical and in need of novel behavioral health services, it has become necessary to broaden the duties of practitioners, to clarify forensic roles, and to develop more comprehensive court orders. This article introduces the application of Forensically Informed Evaluations and Therapeutic Interventions in family court; a constellation of evaluations and interventions developed to better meet the needs of children and families during and after dissolution or reconstitution. These family court appointments also meet the growing demands of the court and contribute to the trend toward discriminative application of empirically informed behavioral health services in forensic family law.
Article
Preliminary findings on the outcomes of family-focused counseling interventions for alienated and estranged children are presented based upon data from a longitudinal study of children in chronic custody disputes who were interviewed as young adults and from the clinical records of long-term therapy with these children who were resisting visitation.
Article
In a previous issue of this journal, Joan B. Kelly and Janet R. Johnston describe their reformulation of the parental alienation syndrome (PAS). Here, I present areas in which I agree with the authors and areas in which I disagree. Particular focus is placed on these PAS-related issues: the syndrome question, PAS versus parental alienation, the medical model, custodial transfer, gender bias, DSM-IV. empirical studies, and the misapplication of PAS.
Article
Overcoming Barriers Family Camp is an innovative program designed to treat separating and divorced families where a child is resisting contact or totally rejecting a parent. Both parents, significant others, and children participate in a 5-day family camp experience that combines psycho-education and clinical intervention in a safe, supportive milieu. This article describes the components of the program, from referrals to intake to aftercare. Evaluation immediately following the camp experience is provided for the camps that ran in 2008 and 2009, and 6-month follow-up interview information is provided for the 2008 camp program as well as 1-month follow-up about the initiation of aftercare with the 2009 families. A discussion of the strengths and challenges of this approach with entrenched, high-conflict family systems concludes the article.
Article
Cases entering the family court with an alienated child require intensive and coordinated case management to intervene effectively. It is critical to link the authority of the court with the delivery of mental health services to address the complex systemic factors that may entrench a chil?s unwarranted rejection of a parent. This article provides principles of legal and psychological case management for families with an alienated child, followed by various structural interventions, including sample court orders, for managing these cases as they progress through the family court process. Finally, criteria for making custody recommendations in the most severe cases of child alienation are provided.
Article
This article describes an innovative educational and experiential program, Family Bridges: A Workshop for Troubled and Alienated Parent-Child RelationshipsTM, that draws on social science research to help severely and unreasonably alienated children and adolescents adjust to court orders that place them with a parent they claim to hate or fear. The article examines the benefits and drawbacks of available options for helping alienated children and controversies and ethical issues regarding coercion of children by parents and courts. The program's goals, principles, structure, procedures, syllabus, limitations, and preliminary outcomes are presented. At the workshop's conclusion, 22 of 23 children, all of whom had failed experiences with counseling prior to enrollment, restored a positive relationship with the rejected parent. At follow-up, 18 of the 22 children maintained their gains; those who relapsed had premature contact with the alienating parent.
Interventions with alienated families
  • P Ward
Ward, P. (2007). Interventions with alienated families [PowerPoint Slides]. Retrieved from http:// www.californiaparentingcoordinator.com/2007/06/09/afcc-annual-conference-in-washington-dc/.
The international handbook of parental alienation syndrome
  • S R Gardner
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  • Lorandos
Gardner, S. R. Sauber, & D. Lorandos (Eds.), The international handbook of parental alienation syndrome (pp. 163–176). Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas.
Resistance to visitation: Rethinking parental and child alienation
  • Stoltz
Stoltz, J. M., & Ney, T. (2002). Resistance to visitation: Rethinking parental and child alienation. Family Court Review, 40, 220-231.
The parental alienation syndrome: A guide for mental health and legal professionals
  • R A Gardner
Gardner, R. A. (1998). The parental alienation syndrome: A guide for mental health and legal professionals (2nd ed.). Creskill, NJ: Creative Therapeutics.
The international handbook of parental alienation syndrome: Conceptual, clinical and legal considerations
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Kopetski, L. M. (2006). Commentary: Parental alienation syndrome. In R. A. Gardner, S. R. Sauber, & D. Lorandos (Eds.), The international handbook of parental alienation syndrome: Conceptual, clinical and legal considerations (pp. 378-390). Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas.
Working with alienated children and their targeted parents: Suggestions fore sound practices for mental health professionals. Annals of the American Psychotherapy Association
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Baker, A. J. L., & Andre, K. (2008). Working with alienated children and their targeted parents: Suggestions fore sound practices for mental health professionals. Annals of the American Psychotherapy Association. Retrieved from http://www.annalsofpsychotherapy.com/articles/summer08.php?topic=article7
Managing contact difficulties: A child-centred approach
  • R Freeman
  • G Freeman
Freeman, R., & Freeman, G. (2003). Managing contact difficulties: A child-centred approach. Retrieved from http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/pi/pad-rpad/rep-rap/2003_5/2003_5.pdf.
Interventions with alienated children and their parents: Evolution and innovation. Presentation at the California Chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts: Annual Conference
  • S Friedlander
  • M G Walters
  • K Horwitz
Friedlander, S., Walters, M. G., & Horwitz, K. (2009). Interventions with alienated children and their parents: Evolution and innovation. Presentation at the California Chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts: Annual Conference. San Francisco, CA.
Family therapy for parental alienation syndrome: Understanding the interlocking pathologies
  • C A Everett
Everett, C. A. (2006). Family therapy for parental alienation syndrome: Understanding the interlocking pathologies. In R. A. Gardner, S. R. Sauber, & D. Lorandos (Eds.), The international handbook of parental alienation syndrome (pp. 228-241). Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas.
Adult children of parental alienation syndrome: Breaking the ties that bind
  • A J L Baker
Baker, A. J. L. (2007). Adult children of parental alienation syndrome: Breaking the ties that bind. New York: W. W. Norton.
Clinical 1. Child or family psychotherapy for the prevention of alienation 2. Psychotherapy for the allegedly alienated child or child at risk of alienation 3. Psychotherapy for the allegedly alienated child and the rejected parent 3a. Re-unification counseling or therapeutic reunification
  • Appendix Interventions
  • Children
  • Who
  • Or
  • Contact
  • With
  • Parent
APPENDIX INTERVENTIONS WITH CHILDREN WHO RESIST OR REFUSE CONTACT WITH A PARENT Clinical 1. Child or family psychotherapy for the prevention of alienation 2. Psychotherapy for the allegedly alienated child or child at risk of alienation 3. Psychotherapy for the allegedly alienated child and the rejected parent 3a. Re-unification counseling or therapeutic reunification (Markan & Weinstock, 2005).