The Bystander Role

The “bystander” role in the trauma reenactment narrative is critical. 

The choice before the mental health professionals, attorneys, and the court in their role as the “bystander” in the trauma reenactment narrative is to either abandon the child to the psychological abuse inflicted on the child by the psychopathology of a narcissistic/borderline parent, or to enact their duty to protect and rescue the child from the psychological abuse being inflicted on the child by the pathology of the parent, and to thereby restore the child’s healthy and normal-range development.

Descriptions of the Pathology: 

The pathology of “parental alienation” represents the addition of the splitting pathology of a narcissistic/borderline parent into a cross-generational coalition of the parent with the child against the other parent.

The pathology of “parental alienation” represents the reenactment of attachment trauma from the childhood of the allied narcissistic/borderline parent into the current family relationships, mediated by the personality disorder pathology of the allied parent, which is in the false trauma-reenactment pattern of “abusive parent”/”victimized child”/”protective parent.”

Perlman and Courtois (2005) identify four roles in the trauma reenactment narrative,

“Reenactments of the traumatic past are common in the treatment of this population and frequently represent either explicit or coded repetitions of the unprocessed trauma in an attempt at mastery. Reenactments can be expressed psychologically, relationally, and somatically and may occur with conscious intent or with little awareness. One primary transference-countertransference dynamic involves reenactment of familiar roles of victim-perpetrator-rescuer-bystander in the therapy relationship. Therapist and client play out these roles, often in complementary fashion with one another, as they relive various aspects of the client’s early attachment relationships” (p. 455; emphasis added).

In the pathology traditionally called “parental alienation,” therapists, attorneys, and the courts enact the role of “bystander” in the false and delusional trauma reenactment narrative. To ignorantly and unwittingly enact the role of the bystander in the false and delusional trauma reenactment narrative is to collude with the psychological abuse of the child.

To ignorantly and unwittingly enact the role of the bystander in the false and delusional trauma reenactment narrative is to collude with the psychological abuse of the child.

Inducing significant developmental pathology (diagnostic indicator 1), personality pathology (diagnostic indicator 2), and psychiatric pathology, (diagnostic indicator 3) in a child in order to stabilize the psychopathology of the parent reasonably represents a DSM-5 diagnosis of V995.51 Child Psychological Abuse, Confirmed.

Failure to make this DSM-5 diagnosis when it is warranted represents a failure in the mental health professional’s duty to protect.

Making a DSM-5 diagnosis of V995.51 Child Psychological Abuse, Confirmed engages the mental health professional’s duty to protect requiring the mental health professional to take some form of affirmative action to discharge this duty to protect, and to document this affirmative action in the patient’s record.

Failure to take an affirmative action to discharge the mental health professional’s duty to protect, and to then document this affirmative action in the patient’s record, represents a failure in the mental health professional’s duty to protect.

The pathology of “parental alienation” is not a child custody issue, it is a child protection issue.

The choice for the “bystander” mental health professionals, attorneys, and the court is whether they will abandon the child to the psychological child abuse being inflicted on the child by the psychopathology of a narcissistic/borderline parent and thereby allow, and indeed collude with, the child abuse and destruction of the normal-range development of the child, or whether they will rescue the child from the psychological child abuse inflicted by the psychopathology of the narcissistic/borderline parent, and restore the child’s healthy and normal-range development.

The role of the “bystander” is critical.  It is in their hands to either abandon the child to the child’s psychological abuse, and to the destruction of the child’s normal-range and healthy development, or they can rescue the child from the psychological child abuse and restore the child’s healthy and normal-range development.  That is their choice.

The following excerpt is from my book, Foundations, regarding the role of the “bystander” in the trauma reenactment narrative.

From Foundations (p. 252-258):


The Bystander Role

Perlman and Courtois (2005) identify four characteristic roles in the reenactment of trauma; the “roles of victim-perpetrator-rescuer-bystander.” The three primary roles in the trauma reenactment of attachment-based “parental alienation” are:

  • The “abusive parent” role, corresponding to the “perpetrator” role identified by Perlman and Courtois,
  • The “victimized child” role, corresponding to the “victim” role identified by Perlman and Courtois
  • The “protective parent” role, which corresponds to the “rescuer” role of Perlman and Courtois.

In addition to these three primary trauma reenactment roles, the “bystander” role identified by Perlman and Courtois also plays an important part in the trauma reenactment narrative of attachment-based “parental alienation.” The role of the “bystander” in attachment-based “parental alienation” is filled by all the various therapists, attorneys, judges, teachers, and extended family members. These “bystanders” serve three separate functions in the trauma reenactment narrative of attachment-based “parental alienation.” The role of the “bystander” is first to legitimize the “truth” of the reenactment narrative. The second role of the “bystander” in the trauma reenactment narrative is to publicly shame the targeted parent. The “bystander” role also acts to provide “narcissistic supply” by legitimizing the wonderful-parent presentation of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent.

Legitimize the Reenactment Narrative

By accepting the reenactment narrative as being true, the “bystanders” validate the legitimacy and authenticity of the reenactment narrative. The trauma reenactment narrative of attachment-based “parental alienation” actually represents a false drama created by the narcissistic/(borderline) parent. In truth, the targeted parent is not abusive, the child is not a victim, and the narcissistic/(borderline) parent is not protecting the child. In truth, the targeted parent is a normal-range and affectionally available parent, the child is a normal-range child who loves both parents, and the narcissistic/(borderline) parent is using the child as a weapon to inflict suffering on the targeted parent. The reenactment narrative created by the narcissistic/(borderline) parent is a delusion.

Yet when the “bystander” therapists and attorneys accept the trauma reenactment narrative as being a reasonable explanation for the child’s rejection of the targeted parent, they are allowing their power and authority in their role as therapist or attorney to be used by the pathology of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent to confirm the legitimacy of the trauma reenactment narrative. Their acceptance of the reenactment narrative legitimizes the truth of the reenactment narrative. The reenactment narrative of “abusive parent”/”victimized child”/”protective parent” becomes true because the “bystanders” in the trauma reenactment narrative accept it as being true. The role of the “bystander” in attachment-based “parental alienation” is to validate the truth of the trauma reenactment narrative.

When therapists and children’s attorneys accept the validity of the false drama created by the pathology of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent in attachment-based “parental alienation,” they are inadvertently fulfilling their “bystander” roles within the trauma reenactment narrative. By conferring legitimacy to the delusional construction of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent, these “bystander” mental health professionals and attorneys are actively colluding with the psychopathology. Through their ignorance regarding the psychopathology involved in attachment-based “parental alienation,” these “bystander” mental health professionals and attorneys are allowing their professional standing to be exploited by the psychopathology of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent to confer legitimacy to a delusional belief and false drama that ultimately destroys the lives of both the child and the targeted parent.

Shaming of the Targeted Parent

The “bystander” role in the trauma reenactment narrative of attachment-based “parental alienation” also serves to confer public shaming onto the targeted parent. The “bystanders” bear public witness to the exposed parental (personal) inadequacy of the targeted parent. The “bystanders” provide the audience for the public humiliation of the targeted parent, who is being rejected by the child for being an “abusive” and inadequate parent (person).

The divorce represents a narcissistic injury in which the inadequacy of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent as a spouse is publicly exposed. The narcissistic/(borderline) parent is being publicly rejected as a spouse by the targeted parent because of the inadequacy of the narcissistic/(borderline) personality. This public exposure of the inadequacy of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent threatens to collapse the narcissistic defense against the experience of primal self-inadequacy. The processes of attachment-based “parental alienation” represent the efforts of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent to restore the narcissistic defense by projectively displacing onto the targeted parent the fears of inadequacy and abandonment. The child’s rejection of the targeted parent defines the targeted parent as being the inadequate and rejected parent (person).

The role of the “bystander” is to provide social validation for the inadequacy and abandonment of the targeted parent. Within the reenactment narrative, the fundamental inadequacy and “abusive” parenting of the targeted parent is being publicly exposed to the social community, represented by the “bystanders” in the trauma reenactment narrative. The public display to the “bystanders” through the trauma reenactment narrative of the child’s rejection of the targeted parent represents a public shaming of the targeted parent for his or her primal inadequacy as a parent (person).

The “bystanders” act as the social community for this public shaming of the targeted parent. By publicly exposing the fundamental inadequacy and abandonment of the targeted parent to the social community represented by the “bystanders,” the narcissistic/(borderline) parent is able to counteract and repair the public exposure of his or her own inadequacy as a spouse that was triggered by the targeted parent through the divorce.

Witness to Narcissistic Grandiosity

The “bystanders” in the trauma reenactment narrative also serve as public witness to the displayed magnificence of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent as the wonderfully nurturing and “protective parent.” In choosing to reject the “abusive” and inadequate targeted parent in favor of being with the narcissistic/(borderline) parent, the child is used to validate to the “bystanders” the magnificence of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent as being the ideal and wonderful parent. The possession of the narcissistic object of the child represents a symbol of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent’s superiority and victory over the targeted parent. It is the targeted parent who is rejected as the inadequate parent (person) by the child. The narcissistic/(borderline) parent is the all-wonderful and perfect parent (person) who is being selected by the child.

The narcissistic/(borderline) parent is secure in the child’s well-rehearsed criticisms of the targeted parent:

  • The child hates being with the targeted parent because of some past parental failure or inadequacy. This past parental failure by the targeted parent is simply too heinous to be forgiven.
  • The child is afraid of the targeted parent, having panic attacks and stress at simply the thought of being with the targeted parent, or at having the targeted parent attend the child’s event or activity.
  • The targeted parent never spent enough special time with the child in the past, and is too involved with the new spouse.
  • The targeted parent is too controlling and never listens to what the child wants. The targeted parent is too insensitive to the child’s feelings.
  • The child wants to be allowed to “decide” which parent the child wants to be with, and maybe, if the targeted parent “respects the child’s wishes” and allows the child to be completely with the allied and supposedly favored narcissistic/(borderline) parent, then maybe the child might want to spend time with the targeted parent sometime in the future (maybe).

Confident in the child’s oft-rehearsed criticisms of the targeted parent, the narcissistic/(borderline) parent will eagerly present the child to the “bystanders” of therapists and attorneys, which allows the narcissistic/(borderline) parent to conspicuously display for the “bystanders” the coveted role as the wonderfully nurturing and understanding “protective parent.”

Having psychologically surrendered to the will of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent, the child eagerly embraces the “victimized child” role by offering to the “bystander” therapists and attorneys a litany of well-rehearsed criticisms of the targeted parent, both as a parent and also as a person. The child fully expects that these criticisms will be met with the same understanding support from the “bystander” as they received from the narcissistic/(borderline) parent. If, perchance, the “bystander” somehow challenges the legitimacy of the child’s rehearsed criticisms, the child will become confused and disoriented, and the reporting of criticism begins to break down.

If a “bystander” therapist fails to validate the reenactment narrative and challenges the legitimacy of the child’s criticisms, then the narcissistic/(borderline) parent will quickly seek to have this therapist removed from treatment. For the narcissistic/(borderline) parent, the purpose of therapy is not to have the child get better and restore a relationship with the targeted parent. For the narcissistic/(borderline) parent, the purpose of therapy is for the “bystander” therapist to validate the legitimacy of the trauma reenactment narrative of “abusive parent”/”victimized child”/”protective parent.” If the therapist fails in their “bystander” role in the trauma reenactment narrative, then the narcissistic/(borderline) parent will replace this “bystander” therapist with one who will validate the legitimacy of the reenactment narrative.

There are two ways that the narcissistic/(borderline) parent can remove a non-cooperative “bystander” therapist from treatment. The first way is to simply withdraw parental consent for treatment with the non-cooperative “bystander” therapist. The most effective way of ensuring that the therapist fulfills the “bystander” role in the reenactment narrative is for the narcissistic/(borderline) parent to only consent to the child’s treatment with providers who legitimize the trauma reenactment narrative.

If withdrawing parental consent for treatment with the non-cooperative “bystander” therapist is not possible as a means to remove a non-cooperative “bystander” therapist, then the narcissistic/(borderline) parent will employ a tried-and-true method of achieving power and control; i.e., inducing and then exploiting child symptoms. Following a therapy session, the narcissistic/(borderline) parent will elicit a child criticism of the therapist, typically that the therapist is not sufficiently “understanding” of the child’s feelings (meaning that the therapist does not accept the legitimacy of the trauma reenactment narrative). The narcissistic/(borderline) parent then uses this child complaint to petition the court for a change in therapists to one who is more “understanding” of the child, and with whom the child feels more “comfortable.” In this way, the child is empowered to select a therapist who does not challenge the child’s presentation as a “victim” of the supposedly “abusive” parental inadequacy of the targeted parent.

Together, the narcissistic/(borderline) parent and the child put on their show of the reenactment narrative for the audience of “bystanders,” with the child in the leadership position of offering a well-rehearsed set of criticisms of the targeted parent around select themes that were previously provided to the child by the narcissistic/(borderline) parent during the induction process. Meanwhile, the narcissistic/(borderline) parent takes the opportunity to make a full display to the “bystanders” of being the perfectly nurturing and concerned “protective parent.” The role of the “bystander” therapists and attorneys is to accept and thereby validate the legitimacy of the reenactment narrative; that the targeted parent is the “abusive” and inadequate parent who is being rejected by the child for being a fundamentally inadequate parent (person).

The failure of mental health and legal professionals to recognize the extreme degree of psychopathology involved with attachment-based “parental alienation” will result in their seduction by the psychopathology into adopting their collusive role as the legitimizing “bystander” in the trauma reenactment narrative. In this “bystander” role, therapists and attorneys will wind up actively supporting and colluding with the psychopathology in the family, to the psychological and developmental harm of the child and the emotional and psychological harm of the targeted parent.

Attachment-based “parental alienation” is not a child custody issue, it is a child protection issue. Mental health professionals and legal professionals assigned to represent the child’s interests must possess the level of professional competence necessary to serve the best interests of the child. Failure to recognize the extraordinary severity of the pathology involved in attachment-based “parental alienation,” and failure to protect the child from the profound psychological and development harm associated with attachment-based “parental alienation,” is to collude with the pathology and psychological abuse of the child.

Childress, C.A. (2015). An Attachment-Based Model of Parental Alienation: Foundations. Claremont, CA: Oaksong Press. (p. 252-258)


Craig Childress, Psy.D.
Clinical Psychologist, PSY 18857

21 thoughts on “The Bystander Role”

  1. +1. Ditto. Like. This might be the greatest post in the history of Western civilization. Thank you.

    Yes, reenactment trauma is real. In an ironic twist, I might possibly have reenactment trauma surrounding all of this. I was unable to explain “parental alienation” in time to save my kids and it was the worst experience of my life. Now, I find myself spending my time attempting to explain to bystanders around the world how “parental alienation” works. Why else would someone repeat that misery? There are about 6 billion people out there who do not understand.

    1. Welcome to the club Howie!
      At least there’s a meaning in all of this now. Once you’ve read the book you know where it’s coming from and where it’s going to.
      There is no taboo area anymore.

  2. please help me Dr Childress my child has already threatening suicide from the Parental Alienation that has taken place over the last 5 years I’m disabled and I have no finances all I have is my love for my child that has been stripped and taken from me I just don’t know what to do anymore I try to fight but I hit brick walls everywhere I go

    1. I am doing what I can.

      In order to solve the pathology of “parental alienation” in any one specific case, we must solve it for all children and for all families. You are all in this together. The magic of the solution is contained in this. If you seek your own solution, you will have no solution, and brick walls will be everywhere you turn. If you work for a solution for your brothers and sisters who are caught in this pathology, then the doors will magically open for you as well, and you will have a solution for yourself and your child. We are fighting the pathology of narcissism. Our weapon is empathy and self-sacrifice given to others. Work for your brother’s and sisters, work to solve their pain rather than your own (empathy and self-sacrifice), and the solution for your own pain will become manifest. That is the magic contained within the solution.

      You are all in this together, come together as an unstoppable force, each working for the other.

      The solution is already here. There is nothing for the citadel of establishment mental health to accept or reject. They have already accepted the component constructs on which the Foundations of the solution are laid. We simply need professional competence, enforceable under Standards 2.01 and 9.01 of the APA ethics code, and enforceable through the obligation of mental health professionals under their “duty to protect.” Require that the American Psychological Association assert its authority to demand professional competence. Be kind, but be relentless.

      Craig Childress, Psy.D.

      1. I am a parent and Grandmother who has experienced six years and counting of hell watching my son be destroyed by not one but two malicious ex’s who have joined forces in this reenactment scenario to exclude my son and all our extended family from the lives of his children. I am a Social worker 30 years and the $ and stress this puts on entire family is undescriable. Thank you for your work as the system is a hungry monster that turns a blind eye rather than doing what is best for children.

      2. I love psychology and just the ways and whys or ppls actions.i emailed a mental health support and therapy fing they r called mine,i told that thats it nw im out of hope but i love ur work so i came acros this 2day and now know whos wrong with me im awful &publicly shame angry n isolated coz iv choose its safer,i had a parent with this narc/borderline evilnes she wasnt ill she was a saint to t outside world. N my siblings say im a liar and i cnt understand it obvs they dnt av the love i have or the heart my mam made me belive i wud kil my brother n pretend i was asleep so i didnt dare sleep n nw i cant handel my insomnia n my mental health just changd frm fine to far from it in t space of a month im so damaged i was told i was born wif 666 on my hed m n t antichrist born 5days early in attempt to fool her,i made her hemorage made her fat wantd to make my parents divorce n i was beaten badly punchd in t face many times 4yr old at t oldes id nt cry or cover myself if i cud help it n id play her perfect mam game bt ppl knew t household seen t lot even wen we got a phoneline 286661 was t number n she was histerical n wantd t devil to go bk 2 hel meanin me im at a point nw dr wer i just want be kind and good but that means forgivin my mam whos nw passed away i dnt wana hate her im destructive n ppl who love me suffer tho ow i am have u ever had a case like this and do u fink im rite that this is my problem i undastand u dnt know if its t truth bt if it is is it wots wrong wif me its neva ever nt in my head n i hate ovas who didnt help n im a vile person alot of t time im realy sufferin n i stil fear i myt turn evil i wish she wuda just drown me at birth than go thru that n im getin worse im 32 nw n its ten times worse since i found my true love bt im gona stres him to death i need to find t problem to be able 2 get pasd it ryt?

  3. Bravo again Dr. Childress. Thank you.

    It was difficult to read Shaming of the Targeted Parent. I became angry and I had to walk away. Then I cried.

    How did you know this is what we experienced word for word. How did you know……
    Thank you.

    1. I’m so sorry that you all are made to endure this pathology, so unsupported by professional mental health. It is cruel on the part of the narcissistic/borderline parent, and it is cruel on the part of mental health professionals who should know better.

      The shaming component is most severe for targeted-parent mothers. They are more likely dealing with a more highly narcissistic ex-spouse (targeted parent fathers are more likely dealing with a more prominently borderline ex-spouse; not always, but tends toward). The more highly narcissistic father seeks to more actively demean and humiliate the ex-wife/mother because she had the audacity to leave his self-perceived magnificence (causing his narcissistic injury).

      The social role of fathers following divorce is accepted as being more variable. To be an every-other-weekend father following divorce is socially acceptable. So when asked by co-workers, “Hey Bob, how are your kids?” for Bob to say, “Haven’t seen them is a while” doesn’t involve quite the level of social wonderment as when a mother who is asked the same question says, “I haven’t seen them in a while.” (“Really? Why not?” – “Because they don’t want to be with me.” – “Wow. You must be a really bad mother for your own kids not to want to be with you.”). The public “shaming” of the mother by the prominently narcissistic father (“How dare you have the gall to reject my wonderfulness – you’ll be sorry, I’ll make you suffer for rejecting my wonderfulness”) is a particularly prominent feature of the demeaning narcissistic cruelty of the pathology directed toward mothers.

      The level of this cruelty is stunning. What is appalling, however, is that mental health professionals collude with this pathological cruelty. The collusion of mental health professionals with the pathology and its immense cruelty MUST STOP. Today. Now. This is not in any way acceptable professional practice.

      We must bring the pathology and the unfathomable cruelty of “parental alienation” to an end. Today.

      Craig Childress, Psy.D.

      1. Thank you for your kind words of comfort. I wish to clarify It is my husband who has been and still is the “target parent”. My apologizes for not being clear.

      2. Kelly, Same here. The scenario painted by Dr Childress is strangely exactly what my ex wife is doing to me. Perhaps there are more narcissistic woman out there then previously thought? Who knows? Or perhaps it’s more related to the person being more narcissistic (man or woman) who portrays these particular cruel and hurtful actions. I’ve certainly seen woman and men going through similar situations . The problem is further exacerbated by incompetent “professionals” (mental health & legal) allowing themselves to be used and strung along the narcissists’ tune. To make matters worse these ignorant professionals abuse their position and further entrenches the alienation and totally dismisses the target parent’s importance/role in the child’s life, while the alienator gets more arrogant and daring knowing they’re exempt from any criticism. The biased double standards is appalling and enough to drive any sane person crazy with disappointment, anger and a general feeling of hopelessness.

        All target parents and children owes a great deal to the diligent and self sacrificing work of Dr Childress. He has given us hope that finally someone “gets it”; like the lights has suddenly been switched on. The realization that you are not crazy, this IS happening to you; BUT finally there is a solution. We have been re-energized to take the fight to the next level; to be smart about how we approach the problem instead of emotional, and most importantly to never give up.

        For probably the first time targeted parents are realizing that we’re not alone and that the problem is spread world wide. We are all linked through our pain and suffering, but it will not be in vain. We will harness our pain and draw strength from it, for we are fighting for our kids authenticity.

        We shall overcome and defeat the pathogen and it’s allies.

      3. My God. Thank you, Dr. Childress- this is unbelievable. I just contacted you via your website, but I see now what you’re saying about the need to help all children to help any. I will do anything in my power to do this.

      4. Please just tell me, what can I do to help?
        Anything!
        My daughter is a first time mother and for several years the Dx was Autism Spectrum Disorder and the father played off the child’s Dx to the courts and mother and several other professionals that SHE contacted could not believe her son was Dx with autism but the father has the courts believing the mother is just AWFUL because she wasn’t accepting that Dx! Okay, well the child doesn’t have Autism now so how was it cured?? The courts are under this psycho fathers influence! You don’t cure Autism and mother knew that the child didn’t have autism! just because he played with trains!!! Lined them up, that’s how you play with the trains and they also have magnets to hook them up, at that point in time EVERY LITTLE BOY & maybe some girls too, were into THOMAS the TRAIN!
        The father is sick! He has received temporary full custody and it’s all based on lies and an inexperienced judge that is a LIAR!!! Yes she lied on the bench and I know she did, she lied on me!!! She’s always making derogatory comments about my daughter and she acts like a teenage school girl when this father gets on the stand and gives him a way out of the testimony he’s lying about! It’s just been 8 years of HELL! Well father finally received temporary full custody 8 months ago and it’s really gotten HEATED!
        I am worried about my daughters mental health as well as my grandsons!
        We were very close and now I’m not allowed to talk to him, his mothers family members or even his own MOTHER is not allowed to talk to him as father has told the courts, my grandson has severe anxiety if he has to talk to ANY of us or even think he’s going to have to see us! Well before the ignorant judge gave him to the psycho father he wasn’t doing any of that!!! We have pictures!, he wasn’t afraid of us!!!
        Why, How can these people sit there and think this stuff is TRUE!!!?? Well I know part of it is the judge, and some of it may be the father is a field supervisor for the guardian ad litum program in the Administration Office of the Courts! And he has THE NUMBER ONE TOP LAW FIRMS in the state & she is taking full advantage of the inexperienced judge in family court and I totally feel like this judge is only ruling in her favor because she really doesn’t know how to rule but she thinks that attorney does.! And the father doesn’t want to seek real treatment for his son and that’s why he chose a therapist that works for the parent coordinator that my daughter didn’t agree with about an incident that happened involving a tonsillectomy for her son!
        These kind of people are so cunning it’s hard to wrap your head around the WHOLE WORLD they live in!!!!!
        Our family has suffered migraine headaches, depression, money loss just a bit of everything!!!
        It’s so hard to know what you know and these other people don’t see or hear what’s going on! They’re all supposed to be so educated and for the child’s best interest!! I have only seen a lot of ignorant people who don’t have any common sense! My GOD I feel like I could see through this case not having ANY EDUCATION!!! Maybe that’s it. It’s to simple for them!
        I don’t know how or what to do to help! I’ve prayed more than ever before! I feel like that’s all we can do!
        I can put the puzzle pieces together now since I have read Dr Childresses’ articles and blogs and others’ stories
        And watched the seminars.
        Thanks so much for giving us information, I don’t feel like we’re all crazy in my family!
        Thank you so much!
        Sincerely,
        1959gayle

  4. I guess I still don’t know what I should be doing exactly. Should I file a complaint with the therapist’s board of licensure? What good exactly will that do because if this therapist realizes her error, the narcissistic father will only stop the therapy or change to a compliant therapist. So, do I find an attorney who will take the case and understand what is going on and sue the therapist? Again, what will that accomplish for the children? now. They are a year older than when this began, a year more of the abuse. How many more years?

  5. Dr Childress,
    I begged the last “reunification” therapist to read your blog as well as look at Dr Warshaks website or to go to YouTube and listen to your lecture series. All I got was a how dare I attitude, more anger directed at me and a bigger power play on the part of the therapist.
    This was my second experience like this running into a therapists ego. I am usually quite good at working around someones ego but in this case because of the co-opting into the child’s narrative and the power differentia held by the therapist I could not make any headway.
    The therapists anchoring to the narrative provided by the child and allied parent and behavior towards me and the constant use (attempted) use of bias confirmation was starting to make me feel crazy.
    My point is that some therapist become so entrenched that there is absolutely no reasoning with them. They hold power over your relationship with your child and you must submit to their belief system or risk losing the relationship with your child. It is a sick power play. It creates more damage to the relationship by validating the enmeshment and cross generational coalition. It is being repeated over and over for so many alienated parents.
    The mental health establishment is not aware and is aware that this is going on. What is going to take to make the mental health establishment stand up and take notice or change the methods by which these cases are treated? In my opinion rash of complaints to the appropriate boards. If these therapists are held to task time after time then things will begin to change.
    The question then is how to write a complaint that will be taken seriously so that it is not written off as the ramblings of some dissatisfied resentful angry vindictive parent?
    Thank you so much for all your hard work for this special population who’s children are being hurt through pathological parenting.

  6. Dr. Childress ,this is so easy to see how this all can happen because I’m seeing your emanating through the experienced eyes of a mom that these professionals have u nknowingly collude with the attack ex husband and his calculated moves to dismiss those who saw through his guise and to coach my son to say that these therapist are on my side and how can he trust them to be honest and REALLY listen to what he is saying.
    My question is I have sent your work to a nationally known child psychologis that had testified in my case. He said he has not heard of you or your work and asked he esteemed peers the same. They have come back with the same answer. He asked to to be aware of anyone speaking on behalf of alienation without the work being based on empirical studies. I would live it if you can show me the following.
    That there are attorneys and judges that recommend you and what i feel is” your “revolutionary approch” is bases of empirical data or research.
    I want so much to believe there really and truly is a professional willing to devote his career to this heinous crime and child safety issue.

    Thank you,
    Alessandra

    1. Alessandra- Dr. Childress states on another thread:

      “There is NOTHING for establishment mental health to accept or reject. It has already been accepted.

      This is key for you to understand. For too long you have been forced by the Gardnerian PAS model to fight for a “new syndrome” to be accepted in mental health. No. This stops. The pathology is NOT a “new syndrome.” It is a manifestation of well-established and well-defined forms of already accepted psychopathology.”

  7. Thank GOD for Dr Childress!
    How can we get this into the courts and educate those who “work” with these families? Some of the parent coordinators the courts use are more harm than good! Then it’s always reported back to the judge that it’s the “normal” parent that’s the problem! They sign affidavits and all the empathy goes towards the ALIENATOR! Yes the other parent has been persecuted for the child acting what looks like it must be the targeted parent that’s causing this child to have these anxieties about being around or even speaking of them!
    This is such a relief to understand what is really happening!
    People who are familiar with this need more training and seek employment in the family court system!
    CASA workers, parent coordinators, guardian ad litum etc.
    Thank you Dr Childress!

      1. Hello,
        Have a question, the child is 9 yrs old and has been seeing therapist for approx. 4 months and she tells my daughter that her son doesn’t like his grandparents and didn’t ever like going to their home and her son doesn’t want to see his mother and her bedroom is a scary place???oh and he has been going to bed every nite crying for his step mom!!?? and he has held all of this inside until just since he’s been seeing her( therapist) is when he’s felt comfortable enough to talk about this, he trusts this therapist!
        My daughter is so DEPRESSED and beat down she’s ready to sign her rights away!!! She doesn’t believe her son has thought this and I can’t believe it either! The child LOVED or what I call love and felt love and saw love and joy excitement when we would visit and he visit mamas and papaw!!
        This was mind blowing to hear that he said those things!!!
        What is wrong with this therapist?, she wanted to know how my daughter could hide her alcohol and drug problem so well!!!! My daughter has passed hair follicle drug test a urine test and she doesn’t do drugs or alcohol!!!
        This therapist was chosen by this father and she testified in court that the child came to her EXCITEDLY one day and said, “did I tell you about the bad man at mommys house??” This was a lie that has been entered in court without any proof, just that the father said it! Oh and supposedly mommy said to this child, ” go back to sleep, it’s just a BAD MAN” in my room!!!
        We know this is a LIE, she would NEVER said that to her child!! Even if she did have a man in her bedroom, that child would have clung to her leg and not turned loose and I’m just playing devils advocate, but I know my grandson and my daughter and I know that never happened!!! They live in a duplex and there’s an elderly gentleman on the other side of the wall.! IF he heard somebody it could’ve been him and the part about mommy saying go on back to bed it’s a BAD MAN!!!, BLOWS MY MIND!!!
        My daughter needs to get rid of this therapist but the father has temporary full custody and mother can only do what therapist says or she will tell father and go back to court and they will say mother is not cooperating!! Then it will be over cause this is the judge that is only hearing the fathers side and he has the court entwined in his web of deciete and brainwashing!
        Anything we can do??That’s not her son or our grandson! We don’t know this little boy the therapist knows!!

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