Professional-to Professional Consultation: Assessment Protocol

I recently completed a professional-to-professional Skype Consultation with a psychologist, and I wrote the psychologist a follow-up email providing assessment-protocol resources. I thought this email follow-up with resources might be more broadly helpful, so I am making it available here on my blog as well.

The psychologist with whom I consulted appeared to absolutely get it.  She indicated that she will be making the DSM-5 diagnosis of V995.51 Child Psychological Abuse, Confirmed and will be filing a suspected child abuse report with CPS.  She also indicated that she is likely to be terminating therapy under Standard of 10.10 of the APA ethics code which requires that therapy be terminated if it is likely to be harmful to the child (making the child a “psychological battleground” between the goals of therapy to restore the child’s normal-range development, and the countervailing goals and pressure placed on the child by the allied narcissistic/(borderline) parent to create and maintain the child’s symptomatology), or terminating therapy if the therapy is not likely to be effective. 

This psychologist indicated that she intends to write a discharge summary with this DSM-5 diagnosis and the decision to terminate therapy under Standard 10.10 of the APA ethics code until a protective separation of the child from the psychologically abusive allied parent is enacted that will allow therapy to proceed without harming the child because of the countervailing pressures placed on the child by the allied narcissistic/(borderline) parent for the child to remain symptomatic.

Is CPS likely to do anything?  Probably not.  Will the Court issue an order for a protective separation period from the psychologically abusive parent that will allow therapy to restore the child’s normal-range development while not simultaneously turning the child into a “psychological battleground” between the goals of therapy and the countervailing goals of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent to create and maintain the child’s symptomatic rejection of the other parent?  Who knows.

But this is absolutely the correct professional course of action in cases of AB-PA.   The pathology of AB-PA is a child protection issue, not a child custody issue.  Assessment leads to diagnosis, and diagnosis guides treatment.

All mental health professionals have an ethical obligation under Standard 10.10 of the APA ethics code to terminate therapy that is either harmful to the client (the “psychological battleground” issue), or when therapy is not likely to be effective (therapy that does not seek change but that simply colludes with the continuation of the pathology).

If all mental health professionals follow their professional standards of practice and decline to treat without the necessary protective separation of the child from the psychologically abusive parent, this will clearly communicate to the legal system what is needed.  Declining to treat AB-PA without first obtaining the necessary protective separation of the child from the psychologically abusive parent (a DSM-5 diagnosis of V995.51 Child Psychological Abuse, Confirmed) is the ethical obligation of all psychologists under Standard 10.10 of the APA ethics code.

Pathogenic parenting that is creating significant developmental pathology in the child (diagnostic indicator 1), personality disorder 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 is not a child custody issue; it is a child protection issue.

The following is my email follow-up after a professional-to-professional consultation.  In this follow-up email I provide the psychologist with my recommended resources for a standard-of-practice assessment in all cases of attachment-related pathology surrounding divorce:


Hello Dr. <name>

It was a pleasure to speak with you the other day. I am attaching some assessment resources that you may find helpful.

The first is a Diagnostic Checklist for Pathogenic Parenting (this is also available on my website) that identifies the symptoms we discussed. I typically recommend that therapists complete this brief checklist and place it in the patient record as documentation of the child’s symptoms of concern. Once the symptoms are documented, mental health professionals can then rely on the support provided through my book An Attachment-Based Model of Parental Alienation: Foundations for the diagnosis of the pathology.

I am also including a companion piece for the Diagnostic Checklist for Pathogenic Parenting, Chapter 4 from my book Essays that describes the three diagnostic indicators and the 12 Associated Clinical Signs.

I am also attaching a related measure that I recommend as part of a standard assessment protocol for attachment-related pathology surrounding divorce, the Parenting Practices Rating Scale. This is a brief rating scale of therapist determinations regarding the parenting practices of the targeted-rejected parent (although it can also be applied to the parenting of the allied parent if there is sufficient information on which to make these ratings).

The role of the Parenting Practices Rating Scale is to document the broadly normal-range parenting of the targeted parent (Levels 3 and 4; a Permissive to Authoritarian Dimension Rating of 25-75). It can also be used as a treatment-related tool for discussion with the targeted parent to identify areas of parenting concern.

A third potential instrument in the treatment of attachment-related pathology surrounding divorce is the Parent-Child Relationship Rating Scale used by the targeted parent to document daily relationship quality with the child. Collaboratively completing the Parent-Child Relationship Rating Scale during joint parent-child sessions can also be used as a treatment-related tool in these parent-child sessions as a discussion prompt regarding their relationship by seeking to reach consensus on relationship quality over the intervening period between sessions.

I have modified the Parent-Child Relationship Rating Scale (attached) to include a 5th item on the rating scale of Texting & Phone Call Cooperation (Parent-Child Relationship Rating Scale – Texting Modification) based on what we discussed regarding the child’s excessive texting and phone contact with the allied parent when the child is with the targeted parent.

Best wishes

Craig Childress, Psy.D.
Psychologist, PSY 18857

6 thoughts on “Professional-to Professional Consultation: Assessment Protocol”

      1. Remedy in law is Qui Tam. Lets do 1 from each state simultaneously, then keep them coming for every family in every state, forming an income, by forcing states to pay back the Fed monies!

  1. I congratulate you all on this demonstrated victory! May it multiply! “The truth shall set you free” It is key to your followers, most of which have not seen their children, that the rest of the story is also included: i.e. what happens to this child? Also of interest is was the parent evaluated or just the child? Now for the child’s sake, for justice: What happens to this report? Is the report one of many, and contradictory? Does it make past the gate keepers who are part of the “system” that is designed to collude and usually colludes against this type report? Then what? ( I remain thankful you have flipped the boulder over, but many stones of multiple sizes lay below it UN-turned) We need real working answers, many examples, methods and means on how to make these reports take hold, avoid the judicial impounding, the delay until higher court reviews, the locals collecting their defrauded grant monies. ( note I have over 15 professional reports in my case): “Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light.” – George Washington
    Your work and this child will be buried one way or another like many before you without great “pains” to overcome! Clawar and Rivlin & others have been at this for decades! https://www.fact.on.ca/Info/pas/vestal.htm even having a 12 yr study driven by a panel of judges of 1000 families and is part of the ABA library for family issues…decades! We must find a way to really hold the “multidisciplinary response to child abuse” system’s feet to the fire or all is for naught.
    42 U.S. Code § 13001a
    (7)the term “multidisciplinary response to child abuse” means a response to
    child abuse that is based on mutually agreed upon procedures among the
    community agencies and professionals involved in the intervention, prevention,
    prosecution, and investigation systems that best meets the needs of child
    victims and their nonoffending family members;(8)the term “nonoffending family
    member” means a member of the family of a victim of child abuse other than a
    member who has been convicted or accused of committing an act of child abuse;
    and (Pub. L. 101–647, title II, § 212, as added Pub. L. 102–586, § 6(b)(2),
    Nov. 4, 1992, 106 Stat. 5029; amended Pub. L. 114–22, title I, § 104(1), May
    29, 2015, 129 Stat. 236.)
    42 U.S. Code § 13001b
    (a)Establishment of regional children’s advocacy program The Administrator, in
    coordination with the Director and with the Director of the Office of Victims
    of Crime, shall establish a children’s advocacy program to—(1)focus attention
    on child victims by assisting communities in developing child-focused,
    community-oriented, facility-based programs designed to improve the resources
    available to children and families;(2)provide support for nonoffending family
    members; (2)Grant recipients A grant recipient under this section
    shall—(A)assist communities—(i)in developing a comprehensive,
    multidisciplinary response to child abuse that is designed to meet the needs
    of child victims and their families; (iii)in preventing or reducing trauma to
    children caused by multiple contacts with community professionals; (iv)in
    providing families with needed services and assisting them in regaining
    maximum functioning;
    Where:
    – “families” is always defined as “nonoffending” in the system and making the
    system ‘all powerful’ and parents and children in to lifetime ‘victims’ to be
    exploited.
    – system = “grant recipient”
    -“multidisciplinary response to child abuse” means a conspiracy by the local
    system.
    – “…accused of committing an act of child abuse” the means of causing billions
    of dollars in litigation for government sanctioned fraud that cannot be
    defended against.
    – “Grant” is an invite to defraud the government without oversight or
    accountability and a motivation to create “nonoffending families” & offending
    families, even where none exist so as to support the existing ‘Frankenstein’
    local system that grows without real purpose.
    – “that best meets the needs of child victims and their nonoffending family
    members” is the false guise to hide the debauchery and fraud behind, create
    discrimination and favor, removing the balance and blindfold from the
    judiciary, while giving them mafia like motivation and purpose to defraud both
    sides of the family for gain ill-gotten from the State and Feds without
    accountability… ultimate power corrupts ultimately reigns again.
    God help U.S.

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