Accountability

From Wikipedia:

The germ theory of disease states that some diseases are caused by microorganisms.  These small organisms, too small to see without magnification, invade humans, animals, and other living hosts.  Their growth and reproduction within their hosts can cause a disease.  “Germ” may refer to not just a bacterium but to any type of microorganisms, especially one which causes disease, such as protist, fungus, virus, prion, or viroid.   Microorganisms that cause disease are called pathogens, and the diseases they cause are called infectious diseases.  Even when a pathogen is the principal cause of a disease, environmental and hereditary factors often influence the severity of the disease, and whether a particular host individual becomes infected when exposed to the pathogen.

The germ theory was proposed by Girolamo Fracastoro in 1546, but scientific evidence in support of this accumulated slowly and Galen’s miasma theory remained dominant among scientists and doctors.  A transitional period began in the late 1850s as the work of Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch provided convincing evidence; by 1880, miasma theory was still competing with the germ theory of disease.  Eventually, a “golden era” of bacteriology ensued, in which the theory quickly led to the identification of the actual organisms that cause many diseases

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Germ_theory_of_disease


The continued use of the Gardnerian PAS construct (Parental Alienation Syndrome) is a major hindrance to enacting the solution for the family pathology traditionally called “parental alienation” in the common culture (i.e., the trans-generational transmission of attachment trauma from the childhood of the allied narcissistic/(borderline) parent to the current family relationships, mediated by the personality disorder pathology of the parent that is itself a product of the childhood attachment trauma of the parent).

1.)  The diagnostic indicators of Gardnerian PAS are too vague to be useful in clinical psychology.  The vague and ill-defined diagnostic indicators of Gardnerian PAS allow for the rampant professional incompetence currently displayed by far too many mental health professionals.

2.)  The Gardnerian PAS model is so poorly defined that it is “controversial” and is not accepted by establishment professional psychology.  This allows mental health professionals to discount the solution afforded by AB-PA (attachment-based “parental alienation”) under the false assertion that it is the same as Gardnerian PAS.  The continued existence of Gardnerian PAS prevents mental health professionals from examining the pathology using standard and fully established psychological principles and constructs.

The model of the pathology offered by Gardnerian PAS must die.  It is a bad model and leads to enormous problems. 

I am willing to debate this with any Gardnerian PAS “expert” anytime.  I propose we get a joint WordPress blog and present our arguments.  They can present why they think Gardnerian PAS offers a solution to “parental alienation” and I can offer my arguments as to why Gardnerian PAS needs to die.  I am willing to debate this with any Gardnerian PAS “expert” anytime. 

Or we can debate this in any other forum they’d like.  Anytime.  Gardnerian PAS must die.

The family pathology of “parental alienation” will be unsolvable as long as Gardnerian PAS remains an active paradigm for defining the pathology. 

Thirty years… no solution.  Scoreboard.

The definition of the family pathology of “parental alienation” must switch to an AB-PA model (attachment-based “parental alienation”).  This will provide an immediate solution to the family pathology.

Achieving Professional Competence

The attachment system represents the set of brain networks governing all aspects of love and bonding throughout the lifespan.  The attachment system functions in characteristic ways, and it dysfunctions in characteristic ways.

The pathology called “parental alienation” in the common culture is an attachment-related pathology.  A child’s rejection of a parent is a disorder to the attachment system. 

The pathology called “parental alienation” in the common culture represents the trans-generational transmission of attachment trauma mediated through a false trauma reenactment narrative in the pattern of “abusive parent”/”victimized child”/”protective parent” that is the product of the “internal working models” (schemas) of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent’s attachment-trauma networks.

All mental health professionals must begin assessing for the attachment-related pathology of AB-PA whenever there is evidence of a suppression to the child’s normal-range attachment bonding motivations toward a parent, particularly surrounding divorce and high inter-spousal conflict.

Diagnostic Checklist for Pathogenic Parenting

All mental health professionals must begin providing an accurate DSM-5 diagnosis when the three diagnostic indicators of AB-PA are present in the child’s symptom display:

Pathogenic parenting that is creating significant developmental pathology in the child (diagnostic indicator 1), personality pathology in the child (diagnostic indicator 2), and delusional-psychiatric pathology in the child (diagnostic indicator 3) in order to meet the emotional and  psychological needs of the parent represents a DSM-5 diagnosis of V995.51 Child Psychological Abuse, Confirmed.

Pathogenic parenting (patho=pathology; genic=genesis; creation) is the accurate clinical psychology term for this form of family pathology – not “parental alienation.” 

Pathogenic parenting is the creation of significant psychopathology in the child through aberrant and distorted parenting practices. 

All mental health professionals should begin using the accurate clinical psychology terminology to refer to this form of family pathology.  Targeted parents and the general population can still refer to this pathology with the common-culture term of “parental alienation,” but all mental health professionals should use the correct and accurate clinical psychology term for this form of pathology; pathogenic parenting (the creation of psychopathology in the child through aberrant and distorted parenting practices).

All targeted parents must begin holding mental health professionals accountable for properly assessing and diagnosing this form of family pathology (i.e., the trans-generational transmission of attachment trauma from the childhood of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent to the current family relationships, mediated by the personality disorder pathology of the parent which is itself a product of the childhood attachment trauma of this parent).

All targeted parents must request a proper assessment of the pathology and should lay the proper “paper trail” to hold the mental health professional accountable under Standard 9.01a and Standard 2.01a of the Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct of the American Psychological Association.

These are established standards of professionally competent practice in professional psychology.  Mental health professionals are not allowed to be incompetent.

AB-PA activates for targeted parents Standard 9.01a and Standard 2.01a of the APA’s ethics code. 

Gardnerian PAS does not activate these Standards of professional practice.  Gardnerian PAS proposes an entirely new and unique form of pathology that is unlike any other pathology is all of mental health and which is identified by an equally unique set of poorly defined symptom identifiers.

By analogy, Gardnerian PAS represents “Galen’s miasma theory” of disease which proposed that disease is caused by “bad air.”  Just as Galen’s miasma theory was replaced by a more scientifically accurate germ theory (an accurate identification of the pathogen causing the pathology), Gardnerian PAS needs to be replaced by a more scientifically accurate attachment-based description of the pathology (AB-PA) in order to create the solution to the pathology of “parental alienation” (pathogenic parenting in high-conflict divorce).

Targeted parents need to begin fighting for each other; to eliminate active professional incompetence for the next family and the next child.  To do this, targeted parents need to:

  • Provide involved mental health professionals with my email address (drcraigchildress@gmail.com) and ask that the mental health professional involved with your family seek professional-to-professional consultation with me.

I will provide one hour of professional-to-professional consultation without charge to any mental health professional who contacts me by email requesting this professional-to-professional consultation.

Please Note: I cannot provide consultation to targeted parents directly unless you come and see me in my office in Southern California.  I can only provide professional consultation to other mental health professionals who are diagnosing and treating cases of AB-PA or to attorneys who are litigating cases of AB-PA.  This limitation is based on the guidelines governing professional standards of practice.


Targeted parents should lay the “paper trail” regarding your request to the mental health professional that he or she assess the pathology of… pathogenic parenting (AB-PA).  Be kind, not demanding.  Be respectful, not arrogant.  But be clear in what you want.

And document your request of the mental health professional in a letter to the mental health professional.  This lays the “paper trail” to hold the mental health professional accountable.

Document in this letter that you have provided the mental health professional with the Diagnostic Checklist for Pathogenic Parenting.

Document in this letter that you have requested that the mental health professional assess for the specific symptoms identified in the Diagnostic Checklist for Pathogenic Parenting.  

Document in this letter that you have provided the mental health professional with the booklet Professional Consultation and with my email address.

Document in this letter that you are requesting that the mental health professional seek a professional-to-professional consultation with Dr. Childress.

Lay the paper trail.  Remember, your letter is ultimately going to be included with your licensing board complaint.  Don’t be angry.  Be measured, reasonable, and appropriate.

I recommend you read:  Letter to a Stranger

The “Letter to a Stranger” is a strategy for advocacy in a school setting.  I recommend that you apply this strategy in advocating in a mental health setting.  In this specific case the “stranger” is the licensing board who will ultimately review the actions of the mental health professional.  You want to seem reasonable.  Not angry.  Not arrogant.  Not demanding. 

You want to be kind, reasonable, and oh-so-concerned for the emotional and psychological well-being of your child.  And clear in your request.

Dear Dr. So-n-So,

As we discussed in our recent meeting, I am deeply concerned regarding the potential pathogenic parenting of my ex-spouse that is creating significant behavioral and emotional pathology in my child.  I love my child dearly and I am deeply distressed by the changes to my child’s behavior surrounding the divorce that I believe are the product of my ex-spouse triangulating our child into the family conflict surrounding the divorce, in which a cross-generational coalition of my ex-spouse with the child has been formed that is severely distorting my child’s relationship with me.

This letter is to confirm that I have provided you with a copy of the Diagnostic Checklist for Pathogenic Parenting developed by Dr. Childress which is designed to specifically assess for the pathology of pathogenic parenting in the family that is of concern to me, and this letter also confirms that I have asked that you specifically assess for the symptom features identified on this symptom checklist.  I love my child dearly and I deeply appreciate your cooperation in assessing specifically for the pathology identified on this symptom checklist, and I look forward to discussing with you the outcome of your assessment.

Dr. Childress is an expert in the attachment-related pathology of pathogenic parenting surrounding high-conflict divorce and he has indicated that he is available for professional-to-professional consultation if this professional consultation is sought by mental health professionals.  His email address is drcraigchildress@gmail.com, and I am also asking that you seek his professional-to-professional consultation that he may more fully describe the nature of the family dynamics that are of concern to me.

Thank you so much for your cooperation with this.  My child means the world to me, and all I want is to restore the loving bonds of affection we shared prior to the divorce.  All children deserve to love both parents and to receive the love of both parents in return, and I truly appreciate your help in restoring the bonds of deep love and affection between my child and me that have been so severely disrupted by the divorce process.

Sincerely,
Loving Parent

Become Dangerous to Incompetence

In defining AB-PA from entirely within standard and established psychological principles and constructs, I have made targeted parents dangerous to incompetent mental health professionals.  Become dangerous.  We need to ensure that all actively incompetent mental health professions will – with 100% certainty – face licensing board complaints for their professional incompetence. 

It may not change your specific situation with your specific child, but you must fight for each other.  You must ensure that ALL actively incompetent mental health professionals will – with 100% certainty – face a licensing board complaint for their professional incompetence so that the next family they treat will receive professionally competent assessment, diagnosis, and treatment.  You must fight for each other and for each others’ children.  You must fight for the next family.

I guarantee that your allies in mental health, the mental health professionals who properly assess and accurately diagnose the pathology of AB-PA will – with 100% certainty – face a licensing board complaint from your narcissistic/(borderline) ex-spouse.

Narcissistic/(Borderline) Parent: “How dare you say I am psychologically abusive of the child.  The child and I have a wonderful bond of shared affection.  You’re incompetent to say our wonderful bond of shared affection is psychologically abusive of the child.  It’s the other parent who is the abusive parent.  You’re incompetent.” – a licensing board complaint will be filed by the narcissistic/(borderline) parent.

I guarantee that your allies in mental health, the mental health professionals who properly assess and accurately diagnose the pathology of AB-PA, will – with 100% certainty – face a licensing board complaint from your narcissistic/(borderline) ex-spouse.

Targeted parents must stand up for us, for your allies in mental health who properly assess for the family pathology of AB-PA and who have the courage to face the licensing board complaint from your narcissistic/(borderline) ex-spouse that is certain to follow from our accurate diagnosis of the family pathology as V995.51 Child Psychological Abuse, Confirmed .

The way you can protect your allies in mental health is to become as dangerous to the ignorant and incompetent mental health allies of the pathogen as the pathogen is to your mental health allies.

We must ensure that every single mental health professional who is assessing, diagnosing, and treating this form of family pathology (i.e., attachment system suppression surrounding high-conflict divorce) will – with 100% certainty – face a licensing board complaint:

Either from the narcissistic/(borderline) parent if the mental health professional makes the accurate DSM-5 diagnosis of the pathology as V995.51 Child Psychological Abuse, Confirmed…

Or from the targeted parent if the mental health professional does not assess for the pathology and does not make an accurate DSM-5 diagnosis of the pathology when the three diagnostic indicators of pathogenic parenting are present in the child’s symptom display.

You, the child’s authentic protective parent, must ensure that one way or the other ALL mental health professionals who are assessing, diagnosing, and treating the pathology of attachment system suppression in high-conflict divorce will – with 100% certainty – face a licensing board complaint, either from your narcissistic/(borderline) ex- or from you.

When the field becomes incredibly dangerous for ALL mental health professionals, many mental health professionals may withdraw from practice in this area of specialty.  Good.

If 98 out of 100 mental health professionals stop practicing in this domain of psychology it means that 98 ignorant and incompetent mental health professionals are no longer assessing, diagnosing, and treating your families.  The two remaining mental health professionals will know what they’re doing and they will accurately assess and diagnose the pathology. 

They will use the Diagnostic Checklist for Pathogenic Parenting and will document the findings of their assessment in the patient record. 

And they will make an accurate DSM-5 diagnosis of V995.51 Child Psychological Abuse, Confirmed when the three diagnostic indicators of pathogenic parenting are present in the child’s symptom display.

We will have established a domain of specialized professional expertise and a defensible standard of practice for the assessment and diagnosis of the pathology as child psychological abuse.

Will the licensing board do anything about your complaint?  No, probably not.  But it doesn’t matter what the licensing board does.  We cannot control what they do.  If they choose to allow professional incompetence, so be it. 

But you are not fighting for your child alone; you are fighting for each others’ children.  You are fighting for the next targeted parent and the next child who comes to this mental health professional.  You are demanding professional competence in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of this pathology.

Gardnerian PAS Must Die

There is no such pathology in clinical psychology as Gardnerian PAS.  It doesn’t exist. 

No one is talking about Gardnerian PAS.  The pathology is AB-PA (i.e., an attachment-based model of “parental alienation” that is fully defined within established and accepted psychological principles and constructs).  Gardnerian PAS must die in order for us to achieve the solution.

We must begin to hold mental health professionals accountable for standards of professional competence defined through fully established, fully accepted, and scientifically validated forms of mental health pathology – an AB-PA definition of the pathology.

An attachment-based model of “parental alienation is not a theory.  The application of standard and established psychological principles and constructs to a symptom set is called diagnosis.

Assessment leads to diagnosis. Diagnosis guides treatment.

Assessment:  Diagnostic Checklist for Pathogenic Parenting

Diagnosis:  Pathogenic parenting that is creating significant developmental pathology in the child (diagnostic indicator 1), personality pathology in the child (diagnostic indicator 2), and delusional-psychiatric pathology in the child (diagnostic indicator 3) in order to meet the emotional and psychological needs of the parent represents a DSM-5 diagnosis of V995.51 Child Psychological Abuse, Confirmed.

Professional psychology must return to the solid bedrock of established and scientifically validated constructs and principles in the assessment and diagnosis of the family pathology called “parental alienation” in the common culture (i.e., pathogenic parenting by an allied narcissistic/(borderline) parent)

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

4 thoughts on “Accountability”

  1. “All mental health professionals must begin assessing for the attachment-related pathology of AB-PA whenever there is evidence of a suppression to the child’s normal-range attachment bonding motivations toward a parent . . .”

    If your teen is sullen and refuses to live with you in favor of the other “perfect” parent, virtually all mental health providers assume that it’s your garden variety troubled-teen situation, that you need to improve communication with therapy, etc.

    If you’re a dad and it’s your daughter, then it’s also because their mom understands them more and they feel naturally closer to the same sex parent. And a dozen other reasons.

    How do you make it clear that there is evidence of a suppression to the child’s normal-range bonding motivations toward you, and not the usual preconceived lazy assumptions? Are there distinguishing features? And how many providers are even familiar with the idea of such a suppression, much less could accurately assess it when it’s in front of them?

    This seems to be one of the initial hurdles.

    1. Once we switch away from the construct of “parental alienation” and re-anchor the pathology within standard and established psychological principles and constructs, then our diagnosis can guide treatment.

      Since this form of pathology (an attachment-based model of “parental alienation”; AB-PA) is associated with borderline personality traits of the parent, Dialectic Behavior Therapy (DBT) would be one of the options in working with the pathogenic “alienator” parent. The key in working with the borderline-style parent is addressing the tremendous amount of reactivated childhood trauma anxiety experienced by this parent. There is increasing evidence, which I tend to agree with, that the construct of borderline personality pathology is more accurately understood as a trauma-related pathology (variously called developmental trauma or complex trauma) and is often associated with sexual abuse victimization in childhood.

      The “obsessive” feature of the borderline-style AB-PA reflects an intense anxiety management issue for this parent regarding reactivated trauma anxiety (and abandonment fears). Helping this parent understand the origins of the authentic experience of anxiety as related to reactivated trauma anxiety rather than current threats would be helpful in reducing the “obsessive” fixation of this parent on “protecting the child” and the obsessive need to disrupt the relationship of the child with the other parent (to prevent their abandonment by the child).

      Dialectic Behavior Therapy would likely be helpful in this. It would need a slight adjustment to incorporate the family component of AB-PA, since DBT is typically an individually focused treatment, but this would likely be only a minor adjustment.

      Another potentially helpful form of therapy for both the narcissistic-style and borderline-style of AB-PA relative to working with the allied narcissistic/(borderline) parent might be Schema Therapy of Dr. Young. I have not yet had the chance to look into this at any great depth, but from my superficial familiarity Schema Therapy will likely be my recommendation for working with the allied narcissistic/(borderline) parent once we get establishment mental health up to speed on diagnosing the pathology of AB-PA.

      The core feature of the pathology of AB-PA is the false trauma reenactment narrative that is embedded in the “internal working models” of the allied narcissistic/(borderline) parent’s attachment networks. These “internal working models” are also called “schemas” by the preeminent figure in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Aaron Beck. Here is Beck’s description of schemas:

      “Evaluation of the particular demands of a situation precedes and triggers an adaptive (or maladaptive) strategy. How a situation is evaluated depends in part, at least, on the relevant underlying beliefs. These beliefs are embedded in more or less stable structures, labeled “schemas,” that select and synthesize incoming data.” (Beck et al., 2004, p. 17)

      “The content of the schemas may deal with personal relationships, such as attitudes toward the self or others, or impersonal categories… When schemas are latent, they are not participating in information processing; when activated they channel cognitive processing from the earliest to the final stages… When hypervalent, these idiosyncratic schemas displace and probably inhibit other schemas that may be more adaptive or more appropriate for a given situation. They consequently introduce a systematic bias into information processing.” (Beck, et al., 2004, p. 27)

      “In personality disorders, the schemas are part of normal, everyday processing of information.” (Beck, et al., 2004, p. 27)

      “When particular schemas are hypervalent, the threshold for activation of the constituent schemas is low: they are readily triggered by a remote or trivial stimulus. They are also “prepotent”; that is, they readily supersede more appropriate schemas or configurations in processing information.” (Beck, et al., 2004, p. 28)

      The schemas in AB-PA are the trauma patterns of “abusive parent”/”victimized child”/”protective parent.” The allied narcissistic/(borderline) parent actually believes the targeted parent represents an “abusive” threat to the child, and the allied narcissistic/(borderline) parent actually believes that they represent a “protective parent” for the supposedly “victimized child.” It’s a false belief system that is maintained despite contrary evidence. It is a delusion. An encapsulated persecutory delusion.

      Schema therapy would then need to address the underlying trauma schemas that are creating the false interpretation of reality. As soon as I have the chance I plan to look into schema therapy more fully. With minor adjustments, DBT should also be good for the borderline-style of AB-PA. Personality disorders, however, are highly treatment resistant.

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

  2. Dr, my ex-wife as far as I know was not abused however she did have an abortion before we had children. This maybe another area to look out for. OUR COUNSELORS were aware of this but never addressed her behavior…which in my research reflects behaviors that are similar to what you identify. Just trying to help.

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