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ALIENATION SYNDROME (PAS)
An Interdisciplinary Challenge for Professionals Involved in Divorce
Induced Parent/Child Alienation and Its Consequences (Parental Alienation
Syndrome - PAS) in the Context of Separation and Divorce
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Update on Parent-Child-Alienation and the Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS)
Introductive Remarks to PAS
In recent years psychiatrists and psychotherapists are confronted in their clinical work more and more often with severe psychiatric and psychosomatic consequences of the Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) in now adult “children of divorce” as well as in parents, who have been traumatized by alienation and rupture of contact with their children. In PAS we deal with a special subcategory of parent-child alienation mainly in separation/divorce conflicts in the sense of an induced disorder in the child, as a result of severe manipulative and aberrant parental behavior in which the child irrationally and without true reason radically refuses contact with a once loved, caring parent.
Research in recent times refers to the condition resulting from induced alienation between parent and child as "pathological alienation", "parental alienation", "parental alienation disorder", "alienated child" or "parental alienation syndrome". The term "parental alienation syndrome" was introduced in 1985 by the american child psychiatrist Richard A. Gardner, who died in 2003. Standard works on PAS include his book "The Parental Alienation Syndrome – a guide for mental health and legal professionals", first edition published in 1992, second edition 1998, and Gardner/Sauber/Lorandos (eds., 2006) "The International Handbook of Parental Alienation Syndrome".
Dr. Gardner, M. D. defined PAS as follows:
"The Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) is a disorder that arises primarily in the context of child-custody disputes. Its primary manifestation is the child's campaign of denigration against a parent, a campaign that has no justification. It results from the combination of a programming (brainwashing) parent's indoctrinations and the child's own contributions to the vilification of the target parent. When true parental abuse and/or neglect is present the child's animosity may be justified, and so the parental alienation syndrome explanation for the child's hostility is not applicable."
The concept “Parental Alienation Syndrome” thus is characterized by three elements:
- Rejection or denigration of a parent that reaches the level of a campaign, i.e., it is persistent and not merely an occasional episode;
- the rejection is irrational, i.e. the alienation is not a reasonable response to the alienated parent's behavior; and
- it is a partial result of the non-alienated parent's influence.
If any of these three elements is absent, the term PAS is not applicable.
In PAS – especially in its moderate and severe manifestation – one can identify a complex of eight chief symptoms in the behavior of the child (in a mild case of PAS not all of them may show up). These symptoms can vary in markedness and strength, which is significant for the decision on the kind of required legal and psychological intervention:
1. A campaign of denigration
2. Weak, absurd, or frivolous rationalizations for the deprecation
3. Lack of ambivalence
4. The "independent-thinker" phenomenon
5. Reflexive support of the alienating parent in the parental conflict
6. Absence of guilt over cruelty to and/or exploitation of the alienated parent
7. The presence of borrowed scenarios
8. Spread of the animosity to the friends and/or extended family of the alienated parent.
The diagnosis and the degree of PAS are established on the basis of the observed behavior of the child, not on the basis of the degree of manipulation to which the child is exposed. A careful evaluation of the entire family system and identification of the manipulating person(s) is indispensable. Also, the role of the so called alienated parent and his/her possible contribution to the process of alienation need to be evaluated, in order to avoid a misdiagnosis.
PAS is not the same as hindrance of visitation, or any kind of refusal of contact and alienation with respect to the non-residential parent -- as many believe --, but a psychiatrically relevant disorder in the child, as a result of traumatization. In contrast to other, e.g. psycho-dynamic interpretations of contact refusal by children, one has in PAS always a massive hindrance of contacts and/or manipulation and indoctrination of the child by others. Active manipulation is carried out -- consciously or not – by the chiefly caretaking parent and/or other important persons to whom the child relates or is dependent upon. In these manipulative persons one can usually identify specific psychological problems, e.g. severe narcissistic and /or borderline personality disorder, traumatic childhood experiences, paranoid coping with the divorce conflict, or psychosis. Also, attitude and behavior of professionals accompanying the divorce process play an important role in the course of the alienation process.
Significant alienation techniques in the induction of PAS are, among others, denigration, reality distorting negative presentation of the other parent, boycott of visitation, rupture of contacts, planned misinformation, suggestive influence, and confusing double-bind messages. Sometimes direct psychological (e.g. threats of withdrawal of love, suicide threats) or physical threats ( hitting, locking in) are used against the children. The loyalty conflict in the child, which exists anyway in a divorce situation, is enhanced. Fear, dependence on and identification with the alienator play an important role. A related psychodynamics is found in the Stockholm Syndrome, in cases of hostage taking, or also within sect systems. Some cases of PAS of the severe degree show similarities in their dynamics with the Munchausen-by-Proxy-Syndrome. The affected children depend upon outside help.
In order to be able to better support children of divorce, affected by PAS, by appropriate prevention and intervention measures numerous international experts recommend that the diagnosis “Parental Alienation Syndrome” (or “Parental Alienation Disorder”) in the sense of an induced child disorder be included in the forthcoming DSM-5 of the American Psychiatric Association. Appropriate intervention in the case of PAS by divorce accompanying professionals – especially in the context of the family court system -- often is precluded by the fact that PAS is not diagnosed, its psychotraumatic importance or its existence even denied, with reference to the fact that the disorder is not included in DSM (-IV). The alienated children often are left for years in a pathological environment, with corresponding risks for their psychological development and mental health.
It remains to be seen whether sufficient clinical research results will exist at the time of the concluding preparation phase for DSM-5, in order to further clarify open questions on the validity and reliability of the PAS diagnosis, on long-term effects of PAS-induction on the child of divorce, and on the effectiveness of intervention for the various degrees of this particular child disorder. Various studies so far indicate that moderate to severe alienation scenarios require, besides guiding psychotherapeutic treatment, first of all structural intervention in the form of court directed custody-, visitation-, and residence orders, in order to protect the contact of the child with both parents (cf.. Lampel, 1986; Clawar & Rivlin, 1991; Dunne & Hedrick, 1994; Gardner, 2001; Kopetski, Rand & Rand, 2005).
An important clinical research topic appears to be a clarification in as far there are connections between induction of PAS in the child of divorce and later Borderline-, personality-, or other trauma- related disorders in the adult, as well as a trans-generational passing on of corresponding pathological behavioral patterns. Furthermore: whether and what kind of psycho-pathology can be found in severely alienating parents, what role the alienated parent and perhaps also the participating professionals possibly play in the process of alienation.
It remains to hope that the considerable confusion on the concept of Parental Alienation and Parental Alienation Syndrome can soon be ended, in order to better, as up to now, help pathologically alienated children of divorce and their families.
Further information about Parent-Child-Alienation and Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS)
- A survey of the current international scientific literature on parent-child-alienation and PAS can be found at: http://home.att.net/~rawars/pasarticles.html and www.beideeltern.de/paslit.php
There now exists an international body of specialist literature with in excess of 600 scientifically relevant publications from more than 30 countries and 6 continents on the subject of Parental Alienation and Parental Alienation Syndrome (see Bernet, W. et al.: "Parental Alienation, DSM-5 and ICD 11" in American Journal of Family Therapy, 38 (2): 76 – 187, 2010. See here in particular "References", pp. 143 – 182. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01926180903586583.
- In July 2006 publication of: Gardner/Sauber/Lorandos, “International Handbook of Parental Alienation Syndrome: Conceptual, Clinical and Legal Considerations”, Charles C. Thomas Publisher Ltd., Springfield, Illinois. This is a comprehensive textbook of remarkable quality for interested professionals of the various divorce related disciplines. In this handbook 32 experts from 8 countries present the current scientific knowledge about the Parental Alienation Syndrome, as well as on the theoretical and practical questions connected with it.
Contents and details about the handbook can be found at http://www.ccthomas.com/details.cfm?P_ISBN13=9780398076474 (book orders directly from the publisher, Amazon.com (USA), or other book sellers).
The professional database of the American Psychological Association (APA) cites two reviews of the “International Handbook of Parental Alienation Syndrome”:
Robert M. Pressmann, American Journal of Family Therapy. Vol. 35 (3) May-Jun 2007, 284 – 285. " The International Handbook of Parental Alienation Syndrome (IHPAS) is a powerful volume that provides therapists and justices a wealth of knowledge and wisdom that may positively impact the lives of children who have become fodder in marital and custodial conflicts. The International Handbook of Parental Alienation Syndrome delivers on several fronts. Structurally, it is comprehensive, well organized and easy to navigate. It provides both an historic and cross-cultural perspective. It reads well, with many brief case presentations as illustrations. In addition, it provides solid diagnostic and treatment guidance." (APA PsycINFO Database Record 2007).
Christine Dunkley, British Journal of Guidance & Counseling. Vol 25 (3) Aug 2007, 357 – 358 "The strengths of this volume are its comprehensiveness and its clinical components. There is much to learn from the contributions about how children are manipulated in the aftermath of separation, and how to prevent and repair the damage. I would recommend it to any child welfare professional, particularly those involved in residency and contact disputes." (APA PsycINFO Database, 2007).
- A very informative, new book on the Parental Alienation Syndrome by the British clinical and forensic psychologist L. F. Lowenstein was published in 2007: „How to Understand and Address Parental Alienation Resulting from Acrimonious Divorce or Separation“, Russell House Publishing, Lyme Regis Dorset, www.russellhouse.co.uk. Based upon the international research results on this topic, this book deals with the problems and the effects on children affected by PAS and on parents affected by alienation and rupture of contacts. The role of legal professionals is considered in full and therapeutic intervention in PAS cases is treated in detail. In a separate chapter, Lowenstein illuminates the Stockholm-Syndrome in connection with the well known Austrian abduction case Natascha Kampusch and shows the relation to the Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS)..
- A scientifically excellent review of the concepts and the controversies relating to PAS can be found in Warshak, R. A., (2006), Social science and parental alienation: Examining the disputes and the evidence; in: Gardner, R. A., Sauber, S. R. & . Lorandos, D. (eds.), International Handbook of Parental Alienation Syndrome. C.C. Thomas Publisher, Springfield, IL., p. 352 – 371(German translation in Warshak, R. A. (2005), Eltern-Kind-Entfremdung und Sozialwissenschaften – Sachlichkeit statt Polemik, Zentralblatt für Jugendrecht (ZfJ) 92 (5), S. 186 – 200.)
This publication is an update of his article: “Bringing Sense to Parental Alienation: A Look at the Disputes and the Evidence” in Family Law Quarterly 2003, 37 (2): 273-301. In this article professor Warshak presents the current status of research on PAS. He discusses in detail the familiar points of criticism and also in his presentation of the PAS concept makes numerous suggestions for further scientific research. In addition to the formulation “Parental Alienation Syndrome” (R. A. Gardner), he also deals with the alternative formulation developed by Kelly and Johnston (2001), “The Alienated Child”. Among the controversies surrounding PAS he states in particular his position regarding the very questionable article by C. S. Bruch, “Parental Alienation Syndrome: Getting it Wrong in Child Custody Cases, Family Law Quarterly 2001, 35 (3): 527 – 552. This article, in the German translation ,,Parental Alienation Syndrome und Parental Alienation: Wie man sich in Sorgerechtsfällen irren kann“ (FamRZ 2002, 49 (19): 304 – 315) is despite the devastating criticism, also by other internationally recognized experts, still used in Germany to down play the problem of induced parent-child alienation.
- In connection with the Parental Alienation Syndrome the standard commentary to the German civil code (Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch –BGB), Palandt, C. H. Beck-Verlag, München 2006, 65th edition, Vol. 7, § 1684, Rd-Nr. 7, p. 1970 and 2007, 66th edition, Vol. 7, § 1684, Rd.-Nr. 7, p. 1975 as well as 2008, 67th edition, Vol. 7, § 1684, Rd.-Nr. 9, p. 1952 refers to the German translation of Warshak’s paper in Zentralblatt für Jugendrecht (ZfJ) 05: 186 - 200.
- a) A detailed review of the discussion on PAS from the view point of civil law can be found in von Staudingers Kommentar zum Bürgerlichen Gesetzbuch mit Einführungsgesetz und Nebengesetzen, Buch 4 Familienrecht §§ 1684 – 1717 (Elterliche Sorge 3 – Umgangsrecht), Neubearbeitung 2006 von Michael Coester, Thomas Rauscher, Ludwig Salgo, Sellier – de Gruyter-Verlag, Berlin, Randnummer 37 – 39, Seite 55 – 60. (Worth reading here also Randnummer 16 a and b with reference to decisions of the European Court on Human Rights against Germany for violation of Article 8 of the convention e. g. Elsholz, Sommerfeld, Sahin, Haase and Görgülü).
b) An important comment on PAS by D. Büte can also be found in: Gerhardt, P./von Heintschel-Heinegg, B. & Klein, M., Handbuch des Fachanwalts Familienrecht, 6th edition, 2008, 4., Rd.-Nr. 595 – 599, p. 446 – 447, Luchterhand-Verlag, Munich.
- The topics “Parental Alienation Syndrome“, “Patterns of Behavior and Personality Structure of Alienating Parents“ and “Problems of child psychiatric attestations in visitation- and custody conflicts” are dealt with by W. Andritzky in: Deutsches Ärzteblatt, 100 (2) 2003, p. 81 – 82, in: Psychotherapie in Psychiatrie, Psychotherapeutischer Medizin und klinischer Psychologie 7 (2) 2002, p. 166 – 182 and in: Praxis der Kinderpsychologie und Kinderpsychiatrie, 52 (10) 2003, p. 794 – 811. See also in english language The International Handbook of Parental Alienation Syndrome. Conceptual, Clinical and Legal Considerations (eds. R. A. Gardner, S. R. Sauber, D. Lorandos), C. C. Thomas Publ., Springfield, Ill., 2006, p. 195 – 208.
- The psychological consequences of PAS-induction for manipulated, alienated children of divorce and for mothers and fathers affected by alienation and rupture of contacts are considered by v. Boch-Galhau, W. & Kodjoe, U. (2006): “Psychologicial consequences of PAS indoctrination for adult children of divorce and the effects of alienation on parents”, in: Gardner, R. A., Sauber, S. R. & Lorandos, D. (eds.) International Handbook of Parental Alienation Syndrome: Conceptual, Clinical and Legal Considerations, C. C. Thomas, Springfield, Il., p. 310 – 322.
- The handbook Kindesmisshandlung und Vernachlässigung (Child Abuse and Neglect) by Deegener, G. and Körner, W., (Eds.) Hogrefe, Göttingen, 2005, refers on pages 684 f. and 694 to the "Parental Alienation Syndrome"as a particular kind of psychological violence against children in the context of custody and visitation conflicts, which we consider worth mentioning here.
- We would like to draw attention to: Katona, E. (2007). Parental Alienation Syndrome - Der Verlust des eigenen Kindes durch Trennung und Scheidung. Eine Studie über den Verlauf des Kontaktabbruchs zum eigenen Kind und der daraus resultierenden Auswirkungen. Unpublished diploma thesis at the Psychologische Institut der Universität Freiburg i. Br. (http://www.freidok.uni-freiburg.de/volltexte/6203)
The psychologist Esther Katona analyzed in her extensive work (2007) the experiences of fathers and mothers separated from their children. 80 % of the participants in this study had not seen their children for at least one year, 20% even not for more than 7 years. The psychologist was surprised by the extent of their health, psychological and social impairments. The quality of life was graded by 64% of the participants as mediocre or poor. Unsatisfied with their psychological condition were 53 %. The physical condition was seen by 45 % as „severely impaired“. More than 2/3 suffered from chronic fatigue, insomnia, as well as neck -and back pain. 67 % showed clinically relevant symptoms of depression. In addition to the effects on health the rupture of contacts to the children also had significant effects on their social life. Many of the fathers and mothers separated from their children reacted with social withdrawal, lack of motivation, and other symptoms of depression. Some experienced the rupture of contacts as ,,worse than the death of a child“
- We would also like to mention the studies by Baker (2005 and 2007) about long-term effects of parent-child alienation and of Baker & Darnall (2006) about alienation strategies:
a) Baker, A. J. L. (2005). The Long-Term Effects of Parental Alienation on Adult Children: A Qualitative Research Study. American Journal of Family Therapy, 33: 289 – 302. In this study 38 adults participated who as children were affected by parental alienation. Seven key effects were found: Low self esteem - depression – drug/alcohol abuse – lack of trust – alienation from their own children -divorce - others.
b) Baker, A. J. L. & Darnall, D. (2006). Behaviors and Strategies Employed in Parental Alienation: A Survey of Parental Experiences, Journal of Divorce & Remarriage. 45 (1/2): 97 – 123.
c) Baker, A. J. L. (2007). Adult Children of Parental Alienation Syndrome – Breaking the Ties that Bind. W. W. Norton & Company, New York, London. This book is based upon on detailed questioning of 40 now adult children affected by PAS. Their experience is analyzed in the context of clinical and child developmental theories (A review, in German, of this work can be found at http://www.vaeterfuerkinder.de/Baker.htm)
In addition to these:
Baker, Amy J. L. (2005). The cult of parenthood: A qualitative study of parental alienation. Cultic Studies Review 4(1):np. (Comparison of indoctrination in sect systems and in cases of PAS)
Baker, A. J.L. (2010). Parental alienation: A special case of parental rejection. Parental Acceptance, 4(3), 4-5.
Baker, A. J. L. (in press). Resisting the pressure to choose between parents: A school-based program. Cultic Studies Journal.
Baker, A. J. L. & BenAmi, N. (in press). To turn a child against a parent is to turn a child against himself. To appear in Journal of Divorce and Remarriage .
Baker, A. J. L. & Chambers, J. (2011). Adult recall of childhood exposure to parental conflict: Unpacking the black box of parental alienation. Journal of Divorce and Remarriage, 52(1), 55-76.
BenAmi, N. & Baker, A.J.L. (in press). The long-term correlates of childhood exposure to parental alienation on adult self-sufficiency and well-being. American Journal of Family Therapy.
- a) The Belgian journals Divorce et Séparation no 3, 2005, La Revue d’Action Juridique et Sociale, no 222, 2002 : p. 31 – 35 and no 237, 2004 : p. 11 – 17, and Acta Psychiatrica Belgica, no 108/4, 2008: pp. 25 – 36, as well as the French journals Actualité Juridique famille, no 11,2004 : p. 397 – 399, Synapse, Journal de Psychiatrie et Système Nerveux Central, no 188, 2002, p. 23 – 34 and no 227, 2006: p. 11 – 18 and Revue Internationale de Psychosociologie Vol. XIII, no 30, 2007, p. 89 - 111 deal extensively with the topics of „Aliénation Parentale“ and „Syndrome d’Aliénation Parentale“ (SAP).
b)La Gazette du Palais (note de J. Pannier, Avocat à la Cour de Paris) 18 – 20 nov. 127 (322 – 324) 2007, p. 11 – 15 reports a significant decision of the Tribunal de Grande Instance de Toulon (JAF) RG no 04/00694 of June 4th, 2007, in which the Syndrome d’Aliénation Parentale is discussed in detail. Compare also La Revue d’Action Juridique et Sociale, no 270, 2007, p. 58 – 62.
c) In France, a medical dissertation (thèse de doctorat de médecine) has been presented on 22 oct. 2008 by B. Goudard, at the Faculty of Medicine, Lyon-Nord, University Claude Bernard Lyon 1, with the issue Syndrome d’Aliénation Parentale, (this work can be downloaded from: http://www.acalpa.org/pdf/sapthese.pdf .
d) Conferences on l'aliénation parentale were held on May 20-21, 2011 in Clermont-Ferrand, on June 17, 2011 in Grasse and on June 24, 2011 in Grenoble. (For further information see www.acalpa.org)
- In the october-issue of the American Journal of Family Therapy 36 (5) 2008: 349 – 366 an important article by the American clinical and forensic psychiatrist W. Bernet, M. D. “Parental Alienation Disorder and DSM-5” has been published.
This text is similar to a proposal submitted by Prof. Bernet and a group of clinical and forensic psychiatrists and psychologists to the Disorders in Childhood and Adolescence Work Group of the American Psychiatric Association for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5).
- An article by Deirdre C. Rand titled "Parental Alienation Critics and the Politics of Science" was published in the American Journal of Family Therapy, 39: 48 – 71, 2011. This article looks into claims mainly put forward by two groups of critics of parental alienation syndrome and parental alienation. The issues discussed include the following: the role of the alienated parent, structural interventions such as custody changes, the relationship between PAS and accusations of sexual abuse, and the controversy over the use of the word "syndrome".
- a) In Spain, the Co-ordination Council of Forensic Psychologists attached to the General Council of the Official College of Spanish Psychologists (Coordinadora de Psicologia Juridica del Consejo General de Colegios Oficiales de Psicólogos de España) published a declaration on 18 of june 2008, in which the advisability of PAS analysis in psychological expertises for family court proceedings and thus concomitant fields finds wide support. Accordingly, researchers and psychologists largely agree in considering PAS a cognitive, emotional and behavioral disorder of a child that requires corresponding scientific and professional attention. It goes without saying that in the diagnosis any form of abuse and neglect in the child`s care must be completely precluded. (The Spanish text “Consideraciones en torno a la Pertinencia del Síndrome de Alienación parental en la evaluación psicológica” is to be found on http://www.infocop.es/view_article.asp?id=1942&cat=9.) Further Spanish literature and information about PAS in Spain is also available at the Web pages: www.jmaguilar.com, www.asunte.blogspot.com; http://amnistia-infantil.org/sap.htm; www.separaciones-divorcios.com; Some Spanish PAS-titles can also be found at www.beideeltern.de/paslit.php.
b) On 14 of june 2007 an important judgement concerning PAS/SAP was taken in Manresa/Spain See: Sentencia pionera sobre el síndrome de alienación parental, Sentencia del Juzgado de Primera Instancia número 4 de Manresa, de 14 de junio de 2007, (No. 567/06). (http://www.separaciones-divorcios.com/noticias/index.php?id=31). Custody was withdrawn from a mother and transferred to the father, for having, out of hatred, programmed her 8 year old daughter against the father. For the subsequent 6 months she and the maternal family at large were prohibited from contacting the daughter. Until transfer of residence to the father the child was to live temporarily with the paternal grandparents.
c) We would like to draw attention to an international conference on the subject of "Sindrome de Alienacion Parental y Custodia Compartida", which was held from June 10 to 13, 2009 in Leon (Spain). A second international conference on the same subject took place from May 27 to 29, 2010 in Madrid, Universidad de Alcalá de Henares, and a third from March 24 to 26, 2011 in Zaragoza. (See www.congresointernacionalsap.org/index.html).
- We would like to draw attention to the book by E. Schmidt & A. Mees, “Vergiss, dass es Dein Vater ist! Ehemals entfremdete Kinder im Gespräch”, Books on Demand GmbH, Mainz 2006. In this book four children of separation at the current ages of 15, 20, 28 and 34 tell in interviews, how they experienced the separation of their parents and the loss of their father. They describe their experiences with youth welfare authorities and the courts and also report on the re-encounter with their father. These reports once again confirm: Children need both parents, regardless of whether the parents remain together or not.
- Professionals, as well as affected parents, frequently report to us that the self-help book (in german language) by Gabriele ten Hövel, “Liebe Mama, böser Papa – Eltern-Kind-Entfremdung nach Trennung und Scheidung –Das PAS-Syndrom” (Kösel, Munich, 2003) is found to be very helpful.
- A concise description of the Parental Alienation Syndrome by the American psychologist and attorney, D. Lorandos, PhD., JD., (www.psychlaw.net) co-editor of the International Handbook of Parental Alienation Syndrome can be seen online at:
http://www.falsely-accused.net/clientvideos/clientWMV/Parental%20Alienation%20cases.wmv (7:22 min.)
- An excellent report on parental alienation and parental alienation syndrome was broadcast on Canadian television. An online version is available. "W5 investigates: Children on the frontlines of divorce" W5: Poisoned Minds, part one and W5: Poisoned Minds, part two.
Among the persons appearing in this film is Pamela Richardson who describes her extremely tragic case in which her child, having been alienated by the father, eventually jumped from a bridge and died at the age of 16. (She has also written a book about it: Pamela Richardson (2006), "A kidnapped mind: A mother's heartbreaking memoir of parental alienation. Toronto: Dundurm.) http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20091106/w5_divorce_091107/20091107?hub=Canada
The documentary on the topic of child abduction and alienation, “Victims of Another War –The Aftermath of Parental Alienation”, with interviews of three adult victims is suitable as an educational film for divorce related professions. A description of this film can be found in Summers, C. C. & Summers, D.M. (2006): “Parentectomy in the crossfire”, American Journal of Family Therapy, 34 (3): 243 -261, DVD, 30 min. Orders: www.victimsofanotherwar.com .
- For the further training of family judges on the topic of PAS with its three degrees of severity the Superior Court of Maricopa County, Phoenix, AZ (M. K. Jeanes) created in 2003 the documentary “Children of Divorce –A View from the Bench” (DVD, 42 min.). A description of this film can also be found in the above article by Summers & Summers (2006).
- a) The film “Family Ties and Knots: Children of Divorce“ is suitable for facilitating the contact between non-custodial parents and their children. The film can be used for making parents aware of the harmful effects of alienating behavior. Orders: http://www.familysupportcenter.com/tiesandknots/videos.html (16 min., DVD, also online as video stream and for download).
b) The film “Family Ties and Knots: Parents on the See-saw“ can be helpful for parents who try to engage in constructive discussions, in order to promote a positive contact of the child with both parents and for conveying a feeling of continuity and stability between the two parental households. A psychologist informs on visiting models and schedules which are suitable for the various age groups. Orders: http://www.familysupportcenter.com/tiesandknots/videos.html (25 min., DVD, also online as preview and for download).
- On July 20th 2006 the European Court on Human Rights at Strasbourg came to a sensational decision in the family conflict case of Koudelka vs. Czech Republic (App.-No. 1633/05), regarding a violation of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. In paragraphs 35, 39 and 62 the term “Syndrome d'Aliénation Parentale" is used explicitly, which amounts to a legal recognition of the PAS phenomenon by this high supranational court.
The decision (in French) can be found at the web site of the ECHR ( http://www.echr.coe.int/ECHR/EN/Header/Case-Law/HUDOC/HUDOC+database/ List of recent judgements – Search – select French as language – enter application number). A press release in English can be found at this web-site by entering the name or case number into the search field. A detailed commentary, with a partial translation from the French into German, which we recommend, can be found at www.vaeterfuerkinder.de/Koudelka_Teil.htm.
- On January 18, 2007, the European Court on Human Rights at Strasbourg issued in the family law case Zavřel vs. Czech Republic (no. 14044/05) a further decision regarding violation of article 8 of the European Human Rights Convention. Also this decision, in §§ 16, 24, 28, 45 and 52, refers in detail to the "Syndrome d'Aliénation Parentale", as diagnosed by psychological experts, with detailed substantiation especially in §§ 48, 50, 52 and 53. The decision can be found in French on the web site of the ECHR, http://www.echr.coe.int/ECHR/EN/Header/Case-Law/HUDOC/HUDOC+database/. A press release in English can be found at this web-site by entering the name or case number into the search field.
- On August 26, 2010, Brazil's then President Lula signed a "Parental Alienation" law (LAW 12318). This law penalizes alienating behavior by divorced or separated parents. A German translation can be found at: http://www.vaeterfuerkinder.de; the original text of the law in Brazilian Portuguese is published at: http://www.planalto.gov.br/ccivil_03/_Ato2007-2010/2010/Lei/L12318.htm).
- A form of interdisciplinary cooperation, practiced successfully since 1993 in the court district of Cochem, Rheinland-Pfalz, and known meanwhile in Germany as “Cochem Practice” (see www.ak-cochem.de ) appears to us as an effective means for preventing the development of PAS and of the social, medical-psychological and economic consequences connected with it. The Cochem methodology, in the sense of "Konfliktlösung durch multiprofessionelle Vernetzung" and of a "Verordnete Kooperation im Familienkonflikt als Prozess der Einstellungsänderung" is described in more detail by T. Füchsle-Voigt, from a psychological point of view (in Familie, Partnerschaft und Recht [FPR] 10 (11) 2004: 600 – 602, and in Divorce et Séparation, 5, 2006: 101 – 109), as well as by family judge J. Rudolph from a juridical point of view (in: “Du bist mein Kind – Die Cochemer Praxis, Wege zu einem menschlicheren Familienrecht”, Berlin, 2007). The Cochem methodology was developed from practical working experience and has its theoretical foundations in the classical social-psychological attitude research and in the well known dissonance theory (L. Festinger). This methodology aims at the reduction of conflicts and the restitution of parental autonomy and responsibility on the basis of the protection of the rights of children, as well as of the parents.
- In 2008, the internationally distinguished Canadian authors Fidler, B. (psychologist), Bala, N. (legal scholar), Birnbaum, R. (social scientist) & Kavassalis, K. (legal scholar) published a book aimed at professionals involved in divorce cases, with the title "Challenging Issues in Child Custody Disputes – A Guide for Legal and Mental Health Professionals", Thomson, Carswell, Toronto, Canada. This publication provides a detailed scientific review of the subjects Parental Alienation and Parental Alienation Syndrome. The controversies surrounding these subjects are presented in objective and clearly understandable terms, with reference to key international literature in the field, and recent interdisciplinary intervention models for cases of severe parental alienation are discussed (on this subject see also item 26 below).
This work also includes a scholarly treatment of important issues, such as residential moves and relocation, domestic violence and sexual abuse allegations in connection with custody disputes, devoting two comprehensive chapters to each of these topics. We thoroughly recommend this book.
- An international working group of more than 70 psychiatrists, child psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, legal professionals, practitioners and scholars from 12 countries has developed a proposal for the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) calling for the inclusion of "Parental Alienation Disorder" in the diagnostic systems DSM-5 and ICD-11. This was submitted to the respective scientific committees for consideration in late 2009 (see: Bernet, W. et al.: "Parental Alienation, DSM-5 and ICD 11" in American Journal of Family Therapy, 38 (2): pp. 76 - 187, 2010, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01926180903586583). An extended version of this text is due to be published as a book in summer/fall 2010: Bernet, W. (2010 in press). Parental Alienation, DSM-5, and ICD-11. Charles C. Thomas Publisher Ltd., Springfield, Illinois, http://www.ccthomas.com).
- In January 2010, the highly respected journal Family Court Review (see Family Court Review, Vol. 48, no. 1 (Jan. 2010), see http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/118499535/home) published over 200 pages of works by distinguished scholars and professionals from the US and Canada on the subject of “Alienated Children in Divorce and Separation”, which examine various aspects of the scientific discussion on this subject and present well-established intervention models for cases of severe parental alienation (e.g. by R. A. Warshak,; R. A. Warshak & M. R. Otis and by J. Sullivan, P. A. Ward & R. M. Deutsch). These psychological programs, which may also be of interest in other countries, attempt to rebuild the lost relationship to a parent and the lost identity of severely alienated children of divorce, and show that – contrary to popular opinion – it is indeed possible to mitigate parental alienation in high-conflict cases.
- After roughly a dozen international conferences on Parental Alienation and Parental Alienation Syndrome in Europe, South and North America and Canada between 2002 and 2010 (to name a few examples: www.pas-konferenz.de,www.cspas.ca, www.congresointernacionalsap.org), the renowned Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC) in the US is devoting its 47th Annual Conference (June 2 to 5, 2010 in Denver, Colorado) entirely to the subject of Parental Alienation with over 80 presentations and workshops. All key aspects and controversies surrounding this subject will be covered at the conference and various intervention models will be presented (see www.afccnet.org).
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