Wake up! Make noise. Bang on pans with wooden spoons. Yell, shout, rouse the sleeping. The battle to recover your children is about to be engaged. Wake up from the slumber of your victimization.
The road though the courts has been a failed road. The road through mental health has been a failed road. Your experience has been one of disempowerment and helplessness. But all that is about to change.
When I started working on the solution seven years ago, I recognized the pathological structure of trauma. Your helplessness and victimization, with no way to make it stop. The pathogen we are fighting is a trauma pathogen. It acts in sophisticated ways to disempower you, to make you helpless to protect your beloved child.
To solve “parental alienation” requires that you, the targeted parent, the child’s authentically loving parent, become empowered to protect your children. Seven years ago I saw that. So seven years ago I set about that task, to empower you, the child’s authentic loving parent. To empower you to fight for your children, to protect your children, and to ultimately rescue and recover the authenticity and love of your children.
For seven years I have been working toward that goal. Making my progress available to you as quickly as possible through my website and blog. But always working toward the ultimate goal of empowering you to be able to rescue and recover your children.
During that time, understandably desperate targeted parents repeatedly asked me for help, “Dr. Childress, help me. What can I do?” and my response has consistently been the same,
“Nothing. There is nothing you can do. As long as the mental health and legal systems remain so fundamentally broken, there is nothing you can do to protect your child. And if we cannot first protect your child, then we cannot rescue your child.”
I have always told you the truth, and I will unflinchingly speak truth to power. If there is any doubt, read Stark Reality, On Unicorns, the Tooth Fairy, and Reunification Therapy, or Child Custody Evaluations. I will not tell you something that is not true, and I will not give you false hope.
So listen carefully, the time to recover your children has arrived. Now. Today.
I would not say this to you if it wasn’t true.
But this is your fight, not mine. These are your children and it is ultimately for you to rescue them. This is your battle. I am not your warrior… I am your weapon.
A parent who endured the heartbreak of alienation recently had an insight about her alienation from her children. She told me,
“When I refer to myself as an alienated parent, I think of myself as a victim, and the abusing parent gets all of the power. We need a different vocabulary for the alienated parent and eventually the alienated child.”
She’s absolutely right.
My suggestion to her was to begin calling the abusive narcissistic/(borderline) parent the “pathogenic parent” – the parent who is inducing psychopathology in the child.
And to call the targeted parent – you – the “authentic parent.” For you are the authentic parent. You are fighting to protect the healthy development of your child.
In the wisdom of Solomon, when the two mothers disputed who was the true mother of the child, Solomon ordered that the child be cut in two and that half be given to each parent. The false parent agreed, but the child’s true mother said no, and said that the child should instead be given to the other woman. The child’s true mother would rather give up the child to a false parent than see the child destroyed. In his wisdom, Solomon recognized the child’s true mother and awarded the child to the authentic parent.
The pathogenic narcissistic/(borderline) parent is willing to destroy the child. You are not. Because of this, you lose your loving relationship with your child to the pathology of the pathogenic parent. You are the authentic parent. You are fighting for the healthy development of your child.
As the authentic parent you must rise up to protect your children. You must rescue your children from the pathology of the pathogenic parent.
Authentic Parent: “But Dr. Childress, how can I protect my child when mental health and the legal system collude with the pathology?”
Dr. Childress: You’re absolutely right. So our first step is to get mental health to stop colluding with the pathology.
Once we have mental health as your ally, our second step is to get our ALLY of mental health to use its power to get the court system to protect your child.
That is what we are going to do… That is what YOU are going to do, over the next six months to a year.
Authentic Parent: “How? How am I going to be able to do that?”
Dr. Childress: <smiling> Well now, that’s just what we’re going to be taking about in the weeks ahead.
But in the coming battle, I am not your warrior. I cannot fight this battle for you. But I AM your weapon. For seven years I have been forging the weapon for you to use in exactly this battle.
The pathogen we are up against is vicious, dangerous, and very powerful. But so are we. We are fighting to recover your children. We will rescue your children, all of your children. Because we must.
This is your fight. I am your weapon.
In two weeks I am going to post a series of YouTube videos speaking directly to targeted parents regarding the strategy for the upcoming battle to rescue and recover your children.
In this series of YouTube videos I’m going to lay it all out for you. You can watch them, your friends can watch them, the media can watch them, all of mental health can watch them. There will be no secret about our strategy. We want people to know exactly what we’re doing.
We will not, under any circumstances, continue to surrender your children to their psychological abuse by the pathogenic parent. It stops. We will begin to fight back.
The pathogen we are fighting disempowers you, it seeks to make you victims.
In the days ahead, you will be victims no more. You are about to live into your power. For seven years I have been forging your weapon against this pathogen. It is ready.
Our Adversary is Ignorance
The pathogen we fight seeks allies, principally in mental health, but also in the legal system. It then exploits the power of these allies to disempower you, and to disable any effort to interfere with the enactment of the pathology.
To locate allies, the pathogen seeks “binding sites of ignorance” in mental health (i.e., ignorant mental health professionals) to infect the mental health system and disable its response to the pathogen. Once it locates a “binding site of ignorance,” it then does it’s “dance of display” to entice and seduce the ignorance into becoming an ally.
The pathogen then exploits the ally to disempower you and to disable efforts to interfere with the enactment of the pathology.
Our response is going to be to disempower the pathogen by cutting it off the from its allies in mental health.
We are going to target the binding sites of ignorance that the pathogen is using to achieve its power to disempower you and its power to disable our efforts to stop the pathology.
Our adversary is ignorance. The vulnerability of the pathogen is the binding sites of ignorance which it uses to acquire allies.
You must arm yourself with knowledge. If you have not already bought Foundations, shame on you. Foundations is our weapon. Our weapon is knowledge. Our adversary is ignorance. We are going to cut the pathogen off from its binding sites of ignorance that the pathogen uses to gain access to the mental health system, that then allows the pathogen to disable the mental health response to the pathogen.
For seven years I have forged the weapon. It is ready. Read Foundations. You will need the words it contains in the coming battle – role-reversal; regulatory object; splitting; attachment schemas; trauma reenactment; special population. The pathogen we fight is powerful. Its ally is ignorance. Your weapon is knowledge.
Wake up, and prepare yourself. The time to commiserate in your helplessness and suffering is over. The time for empowerment and action has arrived.
Your weapon has been forged. It is available to you. Read Foundations, watch the YouTube series, and let’s set about the task to be accomplished.
In this opening round of battles, we are going to demand – not ask – demand – a revision of the APA Statement on Parental Alienation Syndrome based on an attachment based model of “parental alienation” as laid out in Foundations. And we are going to demand – again, not ask – demand – formal recognition of your children and your families as representing a “special population” requiring specialized knowledge and expertise to diagnose and treat, based on an attachment-based model of “parental alienation.”
Arm yourself. Read Foundations. It is your weapon.
Learn the words of empowerment. Role-reversal; regulatory object; reenactment narrative; cross-generational coalition; splitting. But focus on the final section of Professional Issues. The first three sections establish the foundations, but the final section is your weapon, forged from the foundation of the first three sections.
I will give to two weeks to prepare yourself. Then I will begin to move forward once more. Time is precious.
Here’s a preview of additional publications that are planned to be appearing on Amazon.com over the next few months.
Essays on Attachment-Based Parental Alienation: The Internet Writings of Dr. Childress
This will be a compilation of my website and blog essays. Nothing new, but a more convenient format for newly discovering mental health professionals.
An Attachment-Based Model of Parental Alienation: Single Case ABAB Assessment & Remedy
This booklet is designed for targeted parents to provide to the court through their attorneys, parenting coordinators, guardians ad litem, therapists, custody evaluators, or simply pro se, as a proposed approach to an empirically-based assessment of attachment-based “parental alienation” in cases where there may be some doubt (of the court’s) as to whether there is “parental alienation,” or alternatively as a remedy version of the ABAB protocol in cases where there is likely “parental alienation.”
We are beginning to work on the next phase of addressing the legal system response.
Across the Summer and Fall:
I have a series of booklets planned for the various “bystanders” in the trauma reenactment narrative (I’m trying to keep these booklets to about the 75 to 100 page range – shorter is better), with the following titles:
The Narcissistic Parent: A Mental Health Guide for Children’s Attorneys
The Borderline Parent: A Mental Health Guide for Children’s Attorneys
These booklets are comprised primarily of quotes from the research literature with my commentary surrounding the areas of pathology documented by these quotes.
Assessment and Remedy for Parental Alienation: Guidelines for Child Custody Evaluation
A discussion of the constructs of “parental capacity” and the assessment of parenting.
The capacity for empathy is THE central defining feature of “parental capacity” and needs to be the central defining feature in any assessment of parenting. Narcissistic and borderline personalities are characterologically incapable of empathy. Assessing for narcissistic and borderline personality processes in a parent therefore becomes a central professional obligation of child custody evaluations.
Treating Parental Alienation in High-Conflict Divorce: A Therapist’s Guidebook
Provides the basic structure for treating the pathology of attachment-based “parental alienation” using therapy principles and constructs.
Understanding Children and Families of High-Conflict Divorce: A Guide for Teachers, Principals, and School Counselors
A broad discussion of the family processes of high-conflict divorce and how school personnel can support children caught in the middle of their parents’ spousal conflict
Fall of 2015:
An Attachment-Based Model of Parental Alienation: Diagnosis
This will be the second book in the series (Foundations – Diagnosis – Treatment). In this book I will more fully elaborate on the three diagnostic indicators for attachment-based parental alienation and on the DSM-5 diagnosis for this pathology.
Linked to the discussion of the DSM-5 diagnosis of attachment-based “parental alienation” will be a discussion dedicated to the issues surrounding a more explicit inclusion of an attachment-based model of “parental alienation” into the DSM diagnostic system (in the Trauma and Stress Related Disorders section).
The primary focus of the Diagnosis book, however, will be to provide a full description of each of the variety of associated characteristic features (Associated Clinical Signs) of attachment-based “parental alienation” that regularly co-occur in association with this pathology. I touched on several of these associated clinical signs in Foundations, such as:
The use of the specific term “forced” to characterize efforts to encourage the child’s formation of a bonded relationship with the targeted parent (“I don’t want to be forced to see my mom. Maybe later, when I’m ready.” – “I can’t force the child to go on visitations with the other parent.”);
The allied parent seeking to have the child testify in court to reject the targeted parent;
The various themes of rejection offered by the child (and by the narcissistic/(borderline) parent), such as a past “unforgivable event” that is used to justify the child’s rejection of the targeted parent (these characteristic themes for rejection are actually projections of narcissistic/borderline personality traits onto the targeted parent)
Statements by the allied narcissistic/(borderline) parent of “We need to listen to what the child wants” and “We should let the child decide whether to go on visitations,”
The “exclusion demand” made by the child that the targeted parent be excluded from attending the child’s events
In Diagnosis, I will more fully elaborate on each one of the many associated clinical signs evidenced in attachment-based “parental alienation,” providing a full description for why we see that specific associated clinical sign.
Foundations was first. Then comes Diagnosis. Treatment is planned for the spring of 2016 (but I’m hoping that Treatment may not be necessary because “parental alienation” will, hopefully, be solved by the spring of 2016. It’s your fight, it’s up to you).
September/October of 2015 (following Diagnosis)
Conducting a Treatment Needs Assessment of Parental Alienation: An Alternative to Child Custody Evaluations
This booklet will be an instructional guide directed toward mental health professionals for conducting a focused assessment of the three diagnostic indicators of attachment-based “parental alienation” for the court.
A focused treatment needs assessment will require about six hours of clinical interviews, two hours of report writing, and can be completed in less than six weeks at a cost of less than $2,000, as an alternative to a full child custody evaluation.
This will be a companion booklet to Diagnosis and to the Single-Case ABAB Assessment & Remedy booklet for the court.
This is an ambitious writing schedule, we’ll see how much I can get done. We are moving forward. Behind the scenes, the solutions to the legal system and therapy are being worked out. First mental health. Then the legal system. Then therapy. The battle for mental health is about to be engaged. Wake up and empower yourself. The time to recover your children has arrived.
And we plan to recover ALL the children, even the adult survivors of childhood alienation. I will have a special YouTube segment discussing the strategy for recovering the adult survivors of childhood alienation.
I will give you about two weeks to empower yourself with the constructs of Foundations. I will then post a series of YouTube videos discussing the strategy for recovering your children.
For the Gardnerian PAS experts, the time for sitting on the fence is rapidly coming to a close. You must decide on a paradigm. The Gardnerian paradigm offers no solution. The attachment-based paradigm does. Join us and add the power of your voice to enacting the solution to “parental alienation.”
I will wait two weeks for you to arm yourself with Foundations. Then I will begin to move forward once more to rescue and recover the children. Time is precious.
Craig Childress, Psy.D.
Clinical Psychologist, PSY 18857