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PARENTAL ALIENATION: The Handbook for Mental Health and Legal Professionals

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  • PsychLaw.net, PLLC

Abstract

Parental Alienation: The Handbook for Mental Health and Legal Professionals is the essential “how to” manual in this important and ever increasing area of behavioral science and law. Busy mental health professionals need a reference guide to aid them in developing data sources to support their positions in reports and testimony. They also need to know where to go to find the latest material on a topic. Having this material within arm’s reach will avoid lengthy and time-consuming online research. For legal professionals who must ground their arguments in well thought out motions and repeated citations to case precedent, ready access to state or province specific legal citations spanning thirty-five years of parental alienation cases is provided here for the first time in one place.
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... Furthermore, none of the writers quoted here provided an adequate source or a relevant reference for the misinformation they expressed; there is no source in the PA literature for the claims of these writers. For readers who need more background information, PA theory is explained comprehensively in Lorandos, Bernet, and Sauber (2013), Lorandos and Bernet (2020), and Warshak (2015). ...
... Also, there is a chart in a book by Lorandos, Bernet, and Sauber (2013) with the heading, "Criteria for the Diagnosis of Parental Alienation" (p. 17). ...
... While the recurrent misinformation discussed in this article may have been prompted by misreading and misunderstanding statements such as Gardner (2001) and Lorandos et al. (2013), there must have been additional factors that kept this woozle going for 27 years. It seems likely that PA critics have had negative preconceptions regarding this topic (e.g., "PA theory is deeply flawed."), ...
Article
Full-text available
Misinformation regarding parental alienation theory has been published many times in journals and books since the 1980s. This article discusses a specific example of misinformation, i.e., variations of the statement: Parental alienation theory assumes that the favored parent has caused parental alienation in the child simply because the child refuses to have a relationship with the rejected parent, without identifying or proving alienating behaviors by the preferred parent. This is an unusual phenomenon, i.e., the same misinformation was found in journal articles, books, and presentations by critics of parental alienation 40 times between 1994 and 2020. This trail of recurrent misinformation is not trivial; it is a major misrepresentation of basic tenets of parental alienation theory. The article concludes with action items, including the proposal that these false statements should be corrected and/or the journal articles should be withdrawn from publication.
... Page 34: "This syndrome or disorder has been promoted by some (Lorandos, Bernet, & Sauber, 2013;Warshak, 2010), but it is strongly disputed by many others because of the lack of valid and reliable peer-reviewed research regarding PAS/PAD during the last 25 years (Bond, 2008;Kelly & Johnston, 2001;Meier, 2009;Walker & Shapiro, 2010;Zorza, 2009)." ...
... Controversial since its inception, proponents o f PAS have developed different names for it over the past 2 decades, including more recently paren tal alienation disorder (PAD) and parental alienation relational problem . This syndrome or disorder has been promoted by some (Lorandos, Bernet, & Sauber, 2013;Warshak, 2010), but it is strongly dis puted by many others because of the lack of valid and reliable peer-reviewed research regarding PAS/PAD during the last 25 years (Bond, 2008;Kelly & Johnston, 2001;Meier, 2009;W alker & Shapiro, 2010). In fact, PAS/ PAD has been discredited by most mental health professionals (Geffner, Conradi, Geis, & Aranda, 2009;W alker & Shapiro, 2010;Zorza, 2009). ...
... A diferencia de la AP, que se considera un fenómeno sistémico que incluye a todo el sistema familiar y social de los afectados (Balmer, Matthewson, and Haines, 2017;Harman y Biringen, 2016;Lee-Maturana, 2020). Se han identificado en la literatura Alienación parental: una revisión sistemática de la literatura basada en evidencia publicada en idioma español tres perspectivas en los intentos de definir la AP y abordar su estudio de manera más integral: desde una perspectiva enfocada en los comportamientos de los niños (Bernet, 2010;Garber, 2013;Lorandos, Bernet, and Sauber, 2013); desde una perspectiva enfocada en las conductas y estrategias alienantes de los alienadores (Baker, 2005a;Harman and Biringen, 2016); y la que se enfoca en el estudio del fenómeno desde la perspectiva del progenitor alienado (Balmer, Matthewson, and Haines, 2017;Lee-Maturana, 2020;Templer, Matthewson, Haines, and Cox, 2017;Vassiliou and Cartwright, 2001). ...
Article
A systematic literature review about parental alienation published in Spanish language was conducted, in order to provide a state of art of this phenomenon and suggest further recommendations for future research. Following the PRISMA-P protocol, the academic data bases Web of Science, PubMed, ProQuest, EBSCOHost, Science Direct, PsylNFO, Scopus, Scielo, Latindex y Redalyc were systematically searched for a three months period. Four articles were included in this review reporting evidence-based studies on parental alienation in Spanish speaking countries. Despite the scarce number of articles, valuable information published in Spanish language about parental alienation was obtained, which is similar to that published in English. This review showed that research published in Spanish is sparse and more studies are needed in order to gain a better understanding of the phenomenon in Spanish speaking countries.
... This specific family dynamic mostly occurs during or after parental separation or divorce (e.g., during child custody disputes), with the result that the child allies strongly with the preferred parent and rejects a relationship with the targeted parent, without legitimate reasons for doing so (Lorandos et al., 2013). In this situation, the targeted parent often feels defeated and no longer worthy of the child's love and attention; this victimization can even extend to his/her wider family (Harman et al., 2019). ...
Article
Full-text available
The present study aimed at understanding the personality features of mothers and fathers engaged in parental alienation—a family dynamic in which one parent behaves in a way that foments a child’s unfounded emotional rejection of the other parent. The process is considered a complex form of child psychological maltreatment, with significant negative consequences. In cases of conflictual separation and divorce, parental alienation can be difficult—yet important—to identify. In this context, use of psychological assessment to understand parents’ personality characteristics may facilitate the early identification of parental alienation and related abuses. A comparative analysis of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2 profiles of 41 couples engaged in parental alienation and 39 control couples (i.e., not involved in parental alienation) was used to assess the personality characteristics of mothers and fathers engaged in parental alienation. The results indicated that mothers who were classified as alienating presented a faking-good defensive profile, denied hostile and negative impulses, blamed others for their problems, and displayed excessive sensitivity. On the other side, fathers who were classified as targets of alienating behaviors were adapted to chronic depressive states, social isolation, and interpersonal conflict. The results suggest that the personality profile of parents involved in parental alienation may provide useful insight for custodial cases, prevent further abuse, and contribute to improving psychological and rehabilitative programs. Clinical and forensic implications are discussed.
... A diferencia de la AP, que se considera un fenómeno sistémico que incluye a todo el sistema familiar y social de los afectados (Balmer, Matthewson, and Haines, 2017;Harman y Biringen, 2016;Lee-Maturana, 2020). Se han identificado en la literatura Alienación parental: una revisión sistemática de la literatura basada en evidencia publicada en idioma español tres perspectivas en los intentos de definir la AP y abordar su estudio de manera más integral: desde una perspectiva enfocada en los comportamientos de los niños (Bernet, 2010;Garber, 2013;Lorandos, Bernet, and Sauber, 2013); desde una perspectiva enfocada en las conductas y estrategias alienantes de los alienadores (Baker, 2005a;Harman and Biringen, 2016); y la que se enfoca en el estudio del fenómeno desde la perspectiva del progenitor alienado (Balmer, Matthewson, and Haines, 2017;Lee-Maturana, 2020;Templer, Matthewson, Haines, and Cox, 2017;Vassiliou and Cartwright, 2001). ...
... Targeted parents' experience, extended family and social networks surrounding affected families have been ignored in definitions of PA. The literature has demonstrated that there is a symptomatic and explicit manifestation of PA in children due to the manipulation of an alienating parent (Baker & Darnall, 2007;Gardner, 1992;Lorandos, Bernet, & Sauber, 2013). This manifestation in children might be the 'tip of the iceberg' of a more complex problem. ...
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.
Article
The purpose of this study was to apply interdependence theory to understand the power dynamics in families affected by parental alienation. We hypothesized that the power dynamics between alienating and alienated parents are imbalanced such that this form of family violence (Harman et al., 2018) more closely resembles intimate terrorism than situational couple violence, where power dynamics are more similar between partners. We also hypothesized that shared parenting custodial arrangements would afford more power to targeted parents than unequal parenting plans and provide them with more opportunities for action. A qualitative analysis of transcripts from interviews with targeted parents of alienating behaviors (n = 79) using interdependence theory as a framework found support for our hypotheses: most situations described by parents were of asymmetric dependence, with power concentrated almost exclusively with the alienating parent, and/or were direct challenges made by the alienating parent to gain control over their children and the targeted parent. In addition, the proportion of situations in which asymmetries in power were described was highest when the alienating parent had primary or sole custody of the children. Discussion focuses on the need to better understand and consider the role of power in the assessment of parental alienation so that appropriate and effective interventions may be implemented to protect children and their family members.
Article
The role of nonjudicial officers occupies a hidden space in the U.S. judicial system. Statutorily sanctioned in many jurisdictions, such officers have a wide range of duties and responsibilities, including hearing certain pretrial motions in criminal cases and making decisions as to conditions of probation for sex offenders. These latter officers are frequently not lawyers, and there is significant evidence that many of the basic rudiments of the criminal trial process are often not honored. There has been virtually no consideration of this phenomenon in the scholarly literature, and absolutely no consideration from the perspective of therapeutic jurisprudence (TJ). An investigation into TJ’s basic inquiry into whether legal rules, procedures, and lawyer roles need to be reshaped suggests that TJ is not practiced in the systems under discussion here.
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