I have just posted two new handouts to my website (www.drcachildress.org), up at the top of the “Parental Alienation” section.
The first one (Legislative Changes: Child Psychological Abuse) describes the rationale for proposed changes to mandated child abuse reporting laws in a letter format from me that targeted parents can provide to their state representatives.
The second handout (Description of Disordered Mourning Pathology) is a description of the attachment-related pathology of “parental alienation” from the attachment perspective of pathological mourning – linking this construct to the personality disorder pathology of the parent. This description also links to the construct of pathogenic parenting, and leads to the identification of the three diagnostic indicators of AB-PA and the DSM-5 diagnosis of V995.51 Child Psychological Abuse, Confirmed.
The Legislative Change letter is a fully stand-alone handout. The Pathological Mourning Description handout can be a helpful supportive handout, and might also be a helpful handout for mental health professionals.
The biggest challenge we face is the profound level of ignorance and incompetence in professional mental health surrounding the assessment and diagnosis of this attachment related/personality disorder related pathology. Achieving professional competence is key to the solution. Professional expertise would be nice (and is the ultimate goal), but at this point I’ll accept just basic levels of competence.
That’s what the legislative front in our battle for your children is trying to achieve. In seeking a definition of Child Psychological Abuse in the mandated child abuse reporting laws, we are seeking to send a clear message to all of professional psychology (including child protective services) that this pathology exists, and that all mental health professionals need to be able to competently assess and diagnose the attachment-related pathology of “parental alienation” – child psychological abuse.
Professional competence is also what we’re trying to achieve on the APA front in our fight for your children.
On the APA front, we’re seeking two things from the APA. First, a simple acknowledgement that the pathology exists, call it pathogenic parenting, call it the trans-generational transmission of attachment trauma, call it pathological mourning, call in a cross-generational coalition, call it “parental alienation,” call it Bob for all I care, just formally acknowledge that this attachment-related family pathology surrounding divorce exists. It exists.
Second, because of the interwoven complexity of this form of family pathology, we want the APA to acknowledge that these children and families – your children and families – represent a “special population” who require specialized professional knowledge and expertise to competently assess, diagnose, and treat – “special population.”
That’s all we want from the APA. Acknowledge that the pathology exists and require professional competence in its assessment, diagnosis, and treatment.
In the meantime, while we wait for the APA to live into its standards for professional competence (Standard 2.01a of the APA ethics code), we are also turning to state legislators, asking them to protect children from the psychological child abuse of pathogenic parenting – “parental alienation” – AB-PA.
The winds of change are coming. We will not stop until all of your children are back in your arms.
Craig Childress, Psy.D.
Clinical Psychologist, PSY 18857
By the way, just by way of information, I like the construct of “erased families” as an informal description of the pathology – and I find the meme of “erased families” to be an extremely powerful graphic image. At a semi-formal level, I like the construct of “obstructed bonding” as a description of the pathology construct. It carries the fundamental construct without the historical baggage of “parental alienation.” At the professional level, I like the constructs of “pathological mourning” and “cross-generational coalition” as the formal mental health constructs for defining the pathology. At the child abuse protection level, the construct is pathogenic parenting. At the level of professional expertise, we should be talking about the trans-generational transmission of attachment trauma.
Informal: Erased families
Semi-formal: Obstructed bonding
Professional: Cross-generational coalition & pathological mourning
Professional Expertise: Trans-generational transmission of attachment trauma
Child Abuse Protection: Pathogenic Parenting
Full Model: AB-PA
But we can call it Bob for all I care. Just so long as it stops.