I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge the amazing work of two parents, Howie Dennison and Susan Remus, for their work in fighting for children.
Howie is one among a group of capable advocate-parents who are leading the fight to have the pathology of “parental alienation” (AB-PA) acknowledged and addressed by the American Psychological Association. This includes advocating with the APA for a change in their position statement on “parental alienation” (Position Statement on PAS), and for the APA to convene a high-level conference of experts in attachment theory, personality disorder pathology, family systems therapy, and childhood trauma, leading to a white paper on the issue of attachment-related pathology surrounding high-conflict divorce (“parental alienation”).
Howie has written a professionally well-referenced e-book that accurately chastises the American Psychological Association for not formally recognizing the pathology of “parental alienation.
The APA and the Mental Health Child Abuse Scandal:
Mental Health is Commonly Complicit in Child Abuse
The American Psychological Association (APA) Should Revise Its Policy
Remaining silent regarding child abuse is complicity in the abuse.
I found Howie’s work to be a well-reasoned and scathing critique of the APA’s complicity in the psychological abuse of children. If “parental alienation” is recognized as a form of psychological child abuse – and Howie’s e-book highlights the many ways the APA and professional mental health has already acknowledged this to be true – then remaining silent on protecting children is complicity in the abuse of children.
I asked Howie to provide me with a statement regarding his advocacy efforts.
From Howie Dennison:
“Asking for changes from psychological organizations is critical.
The only reason why we suffered under the horrible APA parental alienation policy for the last 20 years is because we erased parents never hunted down the people at the APA in charge of the policy and asked for a change.
According to unofficial communication from the APA, they say they are now in the process of organizing a working group to examine it. Please continue to reach out to the APA and the psychological organizations in your country/state/province and ask for greater awareness. Friend me on Facebook if you want more information on where to write and what to write, and then PM me after I accept your request.”
Howie is not alone in this advocacy effort with the APA. There is a collaborative team of amazing, focused, and intelligent parent-advocates who are making a difference. Join them. They need your voice with the APA. It is time to bring the nightmare of “parental alienation” to an end.
Children have the right to love both parents, and children have the right to receive the love of both parents in return.
The pathology of “parental alienation” is not a child custody issue, it is a child protection issue.
It is long past overdue for the APA to formally acknowledge that:
1.) The family pathology of “parental alienation” exists, using whatever terminology the APA wants; cross-generational coalition, trauma reenactment pathology, “parental alienation” – whatever – just acknowledge it exists; and
2.) To designate the children and families experiencing this attachment-related family pathology as representing a “special population” requiring specialized professional knowledge and expertise in the attachment system, personality disorder pathology, and family systems therapy to competently assess, diagnose, and treat.
Howie offers recommendations for targeted parents regarding media contact and he has compiled a list of APA contact information on a Facebook post:
I would urge targeted parents to join with Howie and the team of collaborative parents working to change the APA response to the pathology of “parental alienation.”
The APA cares – they really do. They just don’t like the Gardnerian PAS model. AB-PA offers them an alternative. AB-PA meets the APA’s criteria for defining a pathology entirely within standard and established psychological principles and constructs.
The time is now. The battle is now. Join us on the battlefield. You are not alone in this fight.
Florida Child Abuse Reporting Laws
Susan Remus has been doing some amazing political advocacy work in Florida to amend Florida’s child abuse reporting laws to:
1.) Include specific instruction that child psychological abuse as diagnosed by a mental health professional (a DSM-5 diagnosis of V995.51 Child Psychological Abuse) is reportable to child protective services under mandated reporting laws; and
2.) That includes statutory reference to “pathogenic parenting” (producing severe psychopathology in the child through aberrant and distorted parenting practices) as representing a form of child psychological abuse.
Susan has succeeded in her efforts to have legislation written and sponsored for upcoming introduction into the Florida state legislature. Yay, Susie! An amazing achievement and a profound advancement in our fight to protect children – everyone’s children – from the deeply damaging psychological child abuse of “parental alienation.”
Susan consulted with me on the wording of the legislative amendment:
And at Susan’s request, I am currently in the process of sending the involved state representatives and state senators copies of my books, Foundations and The Narcissistic Parent along with a cover letter:
Life experience has taught me never to count chickens before they hatch, so I am abundantly cautious… but the legislative bill has been written and I am being assured by Susan that it is going to be submitted.
If – WHEN – this legislation is submitted, Susan has invited me to come to Florida to attend the formal introduction of this important child protection legislation, and I would be delighted to be there (looking at the egg and hoping all goes well in its hatching).
The efforts of Susan in this regard are truly remarkable – but not extraordinary. You can do exactly the same thing with your state representative – in Illinois, in Texas, in New York, in South Carolina, in… Your legislators work for you.
I asked Susan if she’d like to provide a brief statement on legislative advocacy.
From Susan Remus:
“One day I was getting off the bus and happened upon my state senator’s office. Before I knew it, I was in front of her sharing my story and talking about the devastation of parental alienation.
I have found informing legislators is effortless, and I use my sorrow in a useful way by telling them what they need to do. Although my heart breaks, it also cares for the people who, if I did nothing, would go through the same thing all of us are. I believe there is a future for our families, and by educating our legislators I know I am laying the foundation for helping my children and grandchildren.
Basically what I do is lobby or “schmooze.” When a person says yes, I keep moving forward. When another says no, the “no” gets the Amway treatment; “NEXT!”
Last Friday my representative filed our bill to go into its first draft.”
Send a short and focused letter to your representative – if you get a positive response, you’ll be passed on to an aide. Work with the aide. Come together into a working group with other parents in your state, each pinging your own and each others’ representatives.
Having legislation introduced that amends child abuse reporting laws to specifically reference child psychological abuse would send a clear and distinct message to all mental health professionals – who are mandated child abuse reporters – that they should begin to assess for and diagnose the DSM-5 disorder of V995.51 Child Psychological Abuse.
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 is a DSM-5 diagnosis of V995.51 Child Psychological Abuse, Confirmed.
Failure to properly assess for the attachment-related pathology of pathogenic parenting in ALL cases evidencing suppression of the child’s normal-range attachment bonding motivations toward a normal-range and affectionally available parent surrounding divorce (“pathological mourning”) likely represents a violation of Standard 9.01a of the APA ethics code that requires psychologists to base their diagnostic statements and forensic testimony on “information and techniques sufficient to substantiate their findings,” and likely represents a violation of the mental health professional’s “duty to protect.”
Legislation to amend child abuse reporting laws to specifically reference child psychological abuse as being reportable under State statutes represents a clear message to all mental health professionals regarding their professional obligations to protect all children from psychological child abuse.
And so to Howie Dennison (and his collaborators), and to Susan Remus I say, well done.
Join them. You have more power than you know.
Through Foundations, the AB-PA model provides you with the solid bedrock of established psychological principles and constructs on which to stand in advocating for your children. Foundations is your weapon in your fight for your children, and you are the warriors fighting for your authentic children – all of your children. Join together and become an unstoppable force for change.
Let the APA hear from you about your heartbreak and suffering. Let the APA hear your voice, asking them for their help to end this family nightmare.
Let your legislators hear your pleas to protect your beloved children from the cruel and distorting pathogenic parenting of your ex-spouse.
We will be relentless in fighting for your children – ALL of your children. We will not stop until all of your beloved and authentic children – of all ages – even your now adult kids – are back in your arms.
Craig Childress, Psy.D.
Clinical Psychologist, PSY 18857
(And grandparents, I hear you too. First things first.)