An Open Letter to the Parental Alienation Study Group (PASG):

An Open Letter to the Parental Alienation Study Group (PASG):


Don’t you see my path?

In order to leverage the solution to “parental alienation” we must be able to hold all mental health professionals accountable for an accurate assessment of the pathology, and an accurate diagnosis of the pathology.

We do this through the DSM-5.  The DSM-5 diagnosis we seek in ALL cases of “parental alienation” is V995.51 Child Psychological Abuse, Confirmed.  The attachment-related pathology of “parental alienation” is not a child custody issue, it is a child protection issue.  That is the definitional change that will lead to the solution.

I have laid the Foundations for this diagnosis.  I have identified three definitive diagnostic indicators for the pathology.  These three diagnostic indicators are all established symptoms that are within the diagnostic scope of practice for ALL mental health professionals: 1) attachment-related symptoms, 2) personality disorder features, 3) an encapsulated persecutory delusion.

By shifting the construct from “parental alienation” to pathogenic parenting, I have taken control of the construct-language in order to compel professional competence from ALL mental health professionals; from all court-involved therapists; from all child custody evaluators.

Don’t you see what I’m doing?   I am compelling professional competence.

I then created the Diagnostic Checklist for Pathogenic Parenting to act as the leverage point to achieve professional competence from ALL mental health professionals in the assessment and diagnosis of the pathology.  The term “pathogenic care” was used in the DSM-IV TR relative to an attachment-related disorder (Reactive Attachment Disorder).  It is an established construct in professional psychology that cannot be denied by any mental health professional.  The attachment system is an established and fully accepted construct in professional psychology.  Personality disorder pathology is an established and fully accepted construct in professional psychology.  Delusional psychiatric pathology is an established and fully accepted construct in professional psychology.  Incompetent mental health professionals are trapped.  They have no choice except to become competent.  They must assess for the pathology.

Standard 9.01a of the APA ethics code requires that:

9.01 Bases for Assessments
(a) Psychologists base the opinions contained in their recommendations, reports and diagnostic or evaluative statements, including forensic testimony, on information and techniques sufficient to substantiate their findings.

Standard 9.01a explicitly requires that diagnostic statements and forensic testimony must be based on “information and techniques sufficient to substantiate their findings.”  Standard 9.01a is the anvil.  The Diagnostic Checklist for Pathogenic Parenting is the hammer.  And from this hammer and anvil we forge the DSM-5 diagnosis of V995.51 Child Psychological Abuse, Confirmed.

Here is the sound of the hammer falling upon the anvil:

Pathogenic parenting that is creating significant developmental pathology in the child (diagnostic indicator 1), personality disorder pathology in the child (diagnostic indicator 2), and an encapsulated persecutory delusion 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.

Hear it?  The sound of the hammer against the anvil creating the DSM-5 diagnosis of Child Psychological Abuse?

The anvil of Standard 9.01a of the APA ethics code and the hammer of the Diagnostic Checklist for Pathogenic Parenting forges the DSM-5 diagnosis of V995.51 Child Psychological Abuse, Confirmed.  And ALL mental health professionals can then be held accountable for this standard of professional practice.  Pathogenic parenting is a fully established and fully accepted psychological construct (referenced in the DSM-IV TR regarding an attachment-related pathology).

Don’t you see what I’m doing?  Don’t you see how I’m leveraging the construct of pathogenic parenting into a confirmed DSM-5 diagnosis of child psychological abuse?

Don’t you want a confirmed DSM-5 diagnosis of Child Psychological Abuse from every single mental health professional who comes into contact with this form of attachment-related pathology?

Don’t you see how useful this will be in solving “parental alienation”?

For those of you who might argue that this approach doesn’t solve everything… can we at least get this first step in place of having ALL mental health professionals assess for the pathology using a standardized assessment protocol, and having ALL mental health professionals acknowledge that the attachment-related pathology of pathogenic parenting is Child Psychological Abuse.

Let’s get this first step.  It is an immense step forward.

And notice the Associated Clinical Signs that are listed on the Diagnostic Checklist for Pathogenic Parenting.  The use of the Diagnostic Checklist for Pathogenic Parenting opens up this whole domain of discussion regarding the Associated Clinical Signs of the pathology.

Don’t you see what I’m doing?

I’m now shifting to preparing the battlefield for the second phase, the assessment phase once all mental health professionals – all court-involved therapists, all child custody evaluators – begin incorporating the Diagnostic Checklist for Pathogenic Parenting into their clinical assessments.

The Diagnostic Checklist for Pathogenic Parenting documents the pathology.  I am now beginning to provide structure for the assessment process itself.  In recent essays posted to my website and referenced in my blog (Alternative Assessment to Child Custody Evaluations), I describe a three-phase assessment procedure for conducting the clinical assessment interviews for pathogenic parenting in the family:

  1. Initial interviews with each parent and the child individually
  2. Joint parent-child assessment sessions
  3. Confirming clinical interviews with each parent individually

I have also described a clinical interview process for identifying the “behavior-chain” sequence (from Applied Behavioral Analysis; ABA) surrounding specific parent-child conflict events and I have introduced the construct of “stimulus control” (also from Applied Behavioral Analysis; ABA) into the assessment process.  I have also provided a Parent-Child Relationship Rating Scale for documenting a Single-Case ABAB intervention assessment and treatment protocol.

All of this lays the groundwork for evidence-based practice. Don’t you see what I’m doing?

I have also structured the documentation of the targeted parent’s normal-range parenting practices using the Parenting Practices Rating Scale.  Documentation.  Evidence-based practice.

And, I have provided a structured template on my website for the report which is produced by the assessment (a Treatment Needs Assessment).  A simple and direct report based on the referral question and documented evidence.  Sub-threshold symptoms result in a Response-to-Intervention assessment (RTI).  Evidence-based practice.

Don’t you see what I’m doing?  We don’t need an expensive child custody evaluation.  We need a simpler Treatment Needs Assessment – 6 to 8 clinical interview sessions, the Diagnostic Checklist for Pathogenic Parenting to document the child’s symptoms, the Parenting Practices Rating Scale to document the normal-range parenting of the targeted parent, a confirmed DSM-5 Diagnosis of Child Psychological Abuse, and a simple direct report to… to whom?

To the Court.  Don’t you want to give the targeted parent this straightforward report to provide to the Court with a confirmed DSM-5 diagnosis of Child Psychological Abuse?

To CPS.  Don’t you want the mental health professional to send this straightforward report to CPS along with a suspected child abuse report made by the mental health professional?  A simple, direct report providing a confirmed DSM-5 diagnosis of Child Psychological Abuse.

This is an immense step forward from where we have been regarding the assessment and diagnosis of “parental alienation.”

Once we have achieved this ground on the battlefield, this will serve as our new footing from which we can launch further into enacting a complete solution to the attachment-related pathology of “parental alienation.”  In our battle to solve the attachment-related pathology of “parental alienation” we are attacking specific key points on the battlefield with focused precision.  We are seeking to take these key strategic points on the battlefield – the APA ethics code, the DSM-5 diagnosis of Child Psychological Abuse, a structured and standardized assessment protocol which establishes a “standard of practice” for the assessment and diagnosis of the pathology.

Once we achieve these key strategic points on the battlefield – the APA ethics code, a standardized assessment protocol for all mental health professionals, a confirmed DSM-5 diagnosis of Child Psychological Abuse and the general recognition of the pathology as child abuse – then we turn to obtaining “special population” status for these children and families, requiring specialized professional knowledge and expertise to competently assess, diagnose, and treat; and we will also then turn to the Child Protective Services system to implement standardized assessment protocols to identify the psychological child abuse of “parental alienation” (pathogenic parenting; the Diagnostic Checklist for Pathogenic Parenting – and the Associated Clinical Signs).

Gardnerian PAS offers none of this.  The eight diagnostic indicators of Gardnerian PAS offer none of this.  This solution is only available by a paradigm shift to the three diagnostic indicators of attachment-based “parental alienation” (AB-PA).

Gardnerian PAS does not provide a standardized assessment protocol to which all mental health professionals can be held accountable.  AB-PA does.

Gardnerian PAS does not provide a confirmed DSM-5 diagnosis of Child Psychological Abuse.  AB-PA does.

Gardnerian PAS does not lead directly to the protective separation of the child from the psychologically abusive parent as the required intervention.  AB-PA does.

Gardnerian PAS does not produce the succinct clarity of a Treatment Needs Assessment report as a replacement for a child custody evaluation.  AB-PA does.

AB-PA represents a substantial move forward in solving the attachment-related pathology of “parental alienation.”  Achieving this ground on the battlefield requires a paradigm shift to the three diagnostic indicators of AB-PA.

Gardnerian PAS must die.  The eight diagnostic indicators of Gardnerian PAS must die.  A paradigm shift must occur.  A paradigm shift will occur.  A paradigm shift is occurring.

I am asking you to join me, to bring all of our voices into a single combined voice to enact the paradigm shift.  This is not a child custody issue.  It is a child protection issue.

The solution is available today; this instant.  All that’s required is the paradigm shift.

The use of the Diagnostic Checklist for Pathogenic Parenting is available today; this instant.  All that’s required is the paradigm shift.

The DSM-5 diagnosis of Child Psychological Abuse, Confirmed from all mental health professionals, all court-involved therapists, and all child custody evaluators is available today; this instant.  All that’s required is the paradigm shift.

The focused Treatment Needs Assessment report is available today; this instant.  All that’s required is the paradigm shift.

Don’t you see the map of the battlefield we’re fighting on?  The APA ethics code.  A DSM-5 diagnosis of Child Psychological Abuse.  Evidence-based practice.  Accountability for professional competence.  Don’t you see how we are systematically taking each of these points on the battlefield.  Don’t you see the strategy?

I’m asking you to join me, to join us.  Children and families are suffering, and every day without a solution is one day too long. The solution is available today; this instant.  All that’s required is the paradigm shift to the three diagnostic indicators of AB-PA.

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

7 thoughts on “An Open Letter to the Parental Alienation Study Group (PASG):”

  1. I see, I love it! It is the solution that is needed in place after the GIANT ANACONDA either has its head chopped off (unlikely) or reprogrammed (i.e. the Grants and kickbacks and conspiracy position power fast track corrupting the system is -re-directed by legislation to support real help for THE PEOPLE vs the system.) What I am saying is the blatant fraud needs stopped before anyone in the system becomes at all interested in truth and helping people. If you have service dogs that visit patients in hospital to raise the level of healing through interaction there is one key test before the dog is trained for such…. it must not be motivated by food!

  2. PASG needs to come together as a single voice behind the work of Dr. Childress. I have read many of the works by the members of PASG and although helpful none are the solution. Dr. Childress’ work is thorough and precise. I for one cannot endure a high confilct custody battle and niether can the children. Bankrupting my family financially, emotionally, physically is not the answer. “Coparenting” with a toxic ex is not the answer. The mindset that perpetuates abuse instead of resolving it is an epic failure. Dr. Childress’ work is beyond that of any current “PA” experts. im entrenched in it.
    This manipulated narrative muck.
    Assuming all PASG members are good intentioned and all generally on the same page then it’s thier duty to get behind this mans work. support and get behind the solution. The time is NOW. The shift is happening NOW. You can save countless generations of children.

    1. It was nearly a decade ago when I first started out on this journey to solve “parental alienation.” From the very beginning, a foundational premise has been that any solution that required targeted parents to prove “parental alienation” in court is no solution at all. Proving “parental alienation” in court is far too expensive and it takes far too long – the narcissistic/(borderline) parent delays, and delays, and delays, all the while the pathology becomes more entrenched and the mounting legal fees bankrupt the targeted parent.

      Any solution that requires the targeted parent to prove “parental alienation” in court is no solution at all.

      We must solve this in the mental health system, not the legal system. This is a mental health pathology, not a violation of the law. Once we solve this in the mental health system through an accurate assessment and diagnosis of the pathology, then we turn to the Child Protective Services system, to fix their response, so that the entire solution is through the mental health system, and any involvement with the courts includes two independently made DSM-5 diagnoses of V995.51 Child Psychological Abuse, Confirmed, one by the initial diagnosing mental health professional and a confirming diagnosis by CPS.

      It is the system-responsibility of CPS to identify the child abuse and take the proper protective actions. That’s the solution I am working toward, step-by-step.

      First we must get all mental health professionals to conduct an appropriate assessment. This will lead to an accurate diagnosis. This will lead to the CPS referral by the assessing mental health professional. Then we need to get the appropriate response from CPS to this referral by a mental health profession who has made a confirmed DSM-5 diagnosis of Child Psychological Abuse. The CPS social worker can apply the same diagnostic standards and will confirm the initial diagnosis made by the mental health professional. That’s how the mental health system is supposed to work.

      This can all be accomplished in less than three months. Done. No legal expenses for the targeted parent.

      Then if “parental alienation” experts want to argue about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin in order to adjust this assessment-diagnostic system to improve it, we at least have an established structure for the solution that can meet the ongoing needs of families and children.

      Any solution that requires the targeted parent to prove “parental alienation” in court is no solution at all. I have laid out the solution available through AB-PA. It is incumbent upon any mental health professional who continues to hold to the eight diagnostic indicators of Gardnerian PAS to describe the path to the solution offered by Gardnerian PAS.

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

    2. Matthew, I agree except for the point that you call it a “mindset” vs. the deliberate fraud that it is. I agree it takes the masses joining together, but if you think you are confronting / correcting a simple “mindset” you will and are already defeated.

  3. Dr Childress, this is heroic work. Is there a way that i can help amplify this message? Is there a roster of supporters that i can join? Can we send something to the APA? Can we march?

  4. Hello,
    I forward your content to all the people/professionals that dealt with our case and nicely presented to them to look at your content to help other children. Low and behold no response…..except for one counselor telling me I was harassing him and if I didn’t stop he would come after me for harassment. Fyi. I just informed him as I know my children can’t be helped at this point.

    Peace Rick

  5. Dr. Childress, I personally send you my applause on your diligence and exemplary work.
    On behalf of our group Reach Higher Ground. Org, we support you every step. I use all of your work in promoting the cause and it will be the catalyst on which all of future alienation dogma will be based.

    Please let me know if there is ANYTHING we can assist you with.

    The battle has begun, and we will win with knowledge in hand.

    Regards,
    Basia Kowalik

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