You will need mental health as your ally in order to defeat the pathogen of “parental alienation” and rescue your children from the pathology that has captured them and destroyed your lives.
As long as the mental health response to the pathogen of “parental alienation” remains so deeply inadequate and flawed, then there will be no solution. The legal system will be unable to act with the decisive clarity necessary to protect your children as long as the mental health system remains frozen in unproductive and irresponsible internal debate between entrenched and intransigent factions.
“Parental alienation” is not a child custody issue; it is a child protection issue.
The debate within mental health is about to be brought to a close.
Within an attachment-based reformulation of the “parental alienation” construct, it is the professional obligation of mental health to identify the severity of the pathology expressed in “parental alienation” as a child protection issue. Once mental health identifies the severity of the pathogen, we can then achieve an appropriate child protection response from the legal system.
Our first series of battles will be to reclaim the mental health system from the pathogen. The pathogen has disabled the mental health response to the pathology of “parental alienation” by locking up the mental health system in an unproductive internal debate. Foundations provides a fundamental theoretical reformulation for the construct of “parental alienation” that allows both sides in this unproductive debate to come together, to reach synthesis and agreement, and to bring the unproductive debate in mental health to an end.
Our first set of battles will be to reclaim the mental health system from the pathogen, and restore the mental health system as your ally. Once mental health is your ally, we will turn next to the legal system and, with the power of your new ally of establishment mental health, we will obtain the necessary child protection response to the pathogen of “parental alienation” from the legal system.
First the mental health system, then the legal system.
The citadel of establishment mental health has been assaulted before, without success. But always with the Gardnerian model of “Parental Alienation Syndrome” (PAS).
This time, for this battle, we are not fighting under the battle flag of Gardnerian PAS. There will be NO Gardnerian PAS banner on this battlefield.
Gardnerian PAS has failed to take the citadel of establishment mental health. The Gardnerian model of PAS is a failed paradigm. There will be no Gardnerian PAS battle flag on this battlefield.
The most recent effort to storm the citadel of establishment mental health with the Gardnerian PAS model occurred with the publication of the DSM-5 in 2013. This afforded the Gardnerian warriors their best opportunity to breach the gates of establishment mental health and plant the flag of “parental alienation” within the citadel of establishment mental health. The staunch Gardnerian warriors launched an all-out effort with the DSM committees, seeking to have the construct of “parental alienation” recognized as a legitimate psychological process.
They failed. The citadel remains in the hands of the pathogen.
The DSM-5 completely and fully rejected inclusion of the construct of “parental alienation” as a recognized phenomenon within establishment mental health. The Gardnerian contingent tried to put as good a face on their defeat as possible, but in truth their defeat was complete and total.
The Gardnerian model of PAS is a failed paradigm. It has been repeatedly and consistently rejected by establishment mental health across 30 years and with a full examination of its scientific and theoretical basis.
At the time of the DSM-5 defeat, I was well on the way to an attachment-based reformulation of the “parental alienation” pathology. The defeat of Gardnerian PAS did not surprise me. I had conducted an analysis of the pathogen, the situation, and the solution when I first set out on my journey seven years ago to empower you to be able to protect and rescue your children from the pathogen of “parental alienation.” That the pathogen had once again defeated the PAS model was disappointing, but of absolutely no surprise.
This is the most malicious, sophisticated, and dangerous pathogen I have ever encountered. Its category is a “trauma pathogen,” like domestic violence, physical abuse, and sexual abuse, and it has defensive information-structures designed to disable efforts to interfere with the enactment of the pathology. This is a very sophisticated pathogen.
When Gardner first penetrated the “veil of concealment” that hides the trauma pathogen of “parental alienation” from view he didn’t realize just how sophisticated and malignant this pathogen is. His initial description of the pathogen using the eight anecdotal indicators of PAS and his proposal of a “new syndrome” based on these anecdotal indicators was totally inadequate to the task.
The sophisticated defensive structures of the pathogen simply acquired allies in mental health and then feasted on the unsophisticated PAS model. Gardner totally underestimated the sophistication and malevolence of this pathogen. The most devastating counter-attack was labeling the PAS model with the epithet of “junk science.” This was a devastating label that effectively disabled the PAS paradigm as an effective theoretical model.
Gardner’s error was in too quickly abandoning the professional rigor necessary to define the pathogen from within established psychological processes and constructs. With all due respect for the clinical acumen of Richard Gardner in penetrating the pathogen’s “veil of concealment” by identifying the existence of the pathogen, he was simply too conceptually lazy in defining the information-structures of the pathology. His error was in proposing a “new syndrome” (a conceptually lazy approach) rather than working out the pathogen’s information structures. This allowed the allies of the pathogen in mental health, the pathogen’s “binding sites of ignorance” that are used by the pathogen to disable the mental health response to the pathology, to attack Gardner’s efforts to interfere with the enactment of the pathology.
The refrain from establishment mental health became:
“There is no such thing as a new syndrome of parental alienation”
“Parental alienation doesn’t exist.”
This denial of the pathogen is allowed by the Gardnerian PAS model because it proposes a “new syndrome” that is not based in any preexisting and established psychological principles and constructs.
The fundamental problem lay in the proposal of a “new syndrome” which could then be rejected by establishment mental health.
The failure to ground the theoretical formulation of “parental alienation” within established psychological principles and constructs means that we are unable to establish accepted standards of practice for the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of the pathology known as “parental alienation.” Without established standards of practice, professional ignorance and incompetence goes unchecked.
For example, I can write a report to the court saying that the child needs to be protectively separated from the pathology of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent, but then some ignorant mental health professional will nullify my recommendations by telling the court that “the child’s wishes should be respected” in rejecting a normal-range and affectionally available parent, and that the child “isn’t ready” to be reunited with the targeted-rejected parent. So knowledge is nullified by ignorance.
Only the legal system has the power to protect your children. In order to achieve a solution in the legal system, the mental health system must speak with a single voice.
This is a child protection issue.
The court needs to immediately transfer care of the child to the child’s authentic, normal-range, and protective parent (i.e., the currently targeted-rejected parent) and the court must impose a no-contact order on the child’s communications with the pathogenic parent during the period of the child’s active treatment and recovery stabilization.
When knowledge speaks to the court, there must be NO dissenting opinion from ignorance that colludes with the psychopathology. Our adversary is the pathogen; our enemy is ignorance.
We will need to cleanse the mental health system of ignorance with regard to the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of the “parental alienation” pathogen. This will require that we have clearly established domains of professional knowledge necessary to establish professional competence in assessing, diagnosing, and treating this “special population” of children and families to which ALL mental health professionals can be held ACCOUNTABLE.
Gardnerian PAS cannot provide these defined domains of professional knowledge needed to establish professional competence to which all mental health professionals can then be held accountable.
Foundations can. That is exactly why I wrote it.
Seven years ago, it became evident to me that the solution to “parental alienation” required the development of an alternative paradigm for defining the pathogen. One that did not propose a “new syndrome” but that instead defines the pathology of “parental alienation” from entirely within standard and established psychological principles and constructs.
This would mean that the allies of the pathogen (the pathogen’s “binding sites of ignorance” in establishment mental health) could no longer claim that “parental alienation doesn’t exist.”
In an attachment-based reformulation, ALL of the component psychological processes used in defining the construct of “parental alienation” are already fully established and accepted psychological processes and constructs. Personality disorders exist. The attachment system exists. Delusional beliefs exist. Role-reversal relationships, cross-generational coalitions, regulatory objects, trauma reenactment. All of these things are already accepted by establishment mental health as existing.
An attachment-based model makes no proposal for a “new syndrome” that somehow needs to be accepted by professional mental health. All of the component processes of an attachment-based model of “parental alienation” are ALREADY ACCEPTED by establishment mental health.
This is important to understand: Since an attachment-based model of “parental alienation” is based entirely on established and accepted psychological principles and constructs, there’s nothing for establishment mental health to “accept.” Establishment mental health has already accepted ALL of the component processes.
Hopefully, I’m beginning to see some light-bulbs of understanding starting to light up.
“Ohhhh, I think I get it. So by using an attachment-based reformulation for defining what “parental alienation” is, we can skip that whole step of “seeking the acceptance” of establishment mental health.”
“We only need to seek acceptance if we’re proposing a “new syndrome” – like PAS.”
“But with an attachment-based model we’re not proposing a “new syndrome.”
“So there’s nothing for establishment mental health to accept or reject”
“They just need to become aware.”
So seven years ago I set out to provide you, the child’s authentic and protective parent, with the theoretical Foundations – the professional “words-of-power” – that you would need to storm the citadel of establishment mental health and reclaim the mental health system as your ally in fighting the pathology of “parental alienation.”
Forging Your Weapon
Seven years ago I set about unraveling the pathology of “parental alienation” from entirely within standard and established psychological principles and constructs. Not one idea or construct is borrowed from Gardner. An attachment-based model is an entirely alternate reformulation of the pathology from completely within standard and established psychological principles and constructs.
Along this journey I would post to my website my gains in unraveling the pathology as soon as I had them, in the possibility that one of you might be able to use the emerging insights of this alternate model of “parental alienation” to solve your particular situation. But I knew that the actual solution involved reclaiming the citadel of professional psychology from the current ignorance and collusion with the pathogen. Until we solved the mental health system, we could not solve the legal system, and only the legal system has the power to protect your child from the pathogen.
So we must first fix the mental health response to the pathogen, then use the power of the mental health system to fix the legal system’s response to the pathology. Then, and only then, will we be able to solve “parental alienation” for your specific family and your specific child.
And when we fix the mental health and legal systems, we will solve “parental alienation” for ALL children and ALL families. So you are all in this together. You cannot achieve a solution for your specific situation until we achieve a solution for all children and all families.
Once I had the basic structure of the model, I shifted to my blog to begin describing the component pieces of the model as these became organized, again in the possibility that someone somewhere might be able to use this formative information as I set about forging the actual weapon from this theoretical foundation.
With the publication of Foundations, your weapon is forged and is now available to you.
Foundations provides to you with the solid theoretical bedrock of established and accepted psychological principles and constructs – the professional “words-of-power” – that will allow you to assault the citadel of establishment mental health… and win.
With the professional “words-of-power” I provide you in Foundations, you will take the citadel of professional psychology.
When you march and fight under the field banner of Foundations, you will not be asking establishment mental health to “accept” some new syndrome. You will be expecting them to recognize existing and accepted forms of psychopathology.
However, be aware – you are fighting ignorance. You cannot be ignorant if you are fighting ignorance.
If you use a Gardnerian PAS model, thinking that you can just throw the words “parental alienation” at the citadel for another countless time… you will lose. Just like you’ve lost for 30 years. Nothing will change.
If you think you can simply throw up to establishment mental health the words “parental alienation” and that something will be different now, you’re simply being ignorant. You cannot fight ignorance by remaining ignorant.
There will be NO Gardnerian PAS banner on this battlefield.
This battle will be fought under the field banner – the professional “words-of-power” – of Foundations.
If you use the professional “words-of-power” I provide you in Foundations – narcissistic/(borderline) personality disorder, disorganized attachment, attachment trauma, splitting, cross-generational coalition, trauma reenactment, role-reversal relationship, regulatory object – then you will be victorious.
I have forged for you the weapon you need to protect your children, and if you come together as one you will be an unstoppable force. Across seven years I have forged this specific weapon for you from out of the solid bedrock of established psychological principles and constructs for exactly this fight – to reclaim mental health as your ally.
The time to end “parental alienation” has arrived. Today. Now. We do not need professional mental health to accept anything. We expect them to be competent. The pathology of “parental alienation” ends. Today. Now.
“Parental alienation” – as defined in Foundations – is not a child custody issue; it is a child protection issue. And we expect professional competence in assessing, diagnosing, and treating the severe psychopathology of an attachment-based reformulation for the construct of “parental alienation.”
On July 1, 2015 my series on your Empowerment will be posted to YouTube.
On July 1, 2015 we begin our fight to reclaim the citadel of establishment mental health as your ally.
Craig Childress, Psy.D.
Clinical Psychologist, PSY 18857