AFCC Boston Powerpoint

I have posted the handout for the Powerpoint slides from my presentation with Dorcy Pruter at the AFCC Convention in Boston.  I have divided the handout for this Powerpoint presentation into three Parts to make the file sizes manageable for downloading.

Part 1The Part 1 slides cover the shift away from the professional wilderness of Gardnerian PAS and our return back to established constructs and principles of professional psychology, with a description of the key features of AB-PA.

Part 2The Part 2 slides contain a substantial core of information.  Part 2 covers issues of professional competence, the DSM-5 diagnosis of child psychological abuse, the protective separation, and the KEY to unlocking the family law solution to high-conflict divorce.

Part 3 The Part 3 slides cover a professional-level description of the High Road protocol of Dorcy Pruter, explaining at a professional-level of analysis how the High Road protocol achieves its success in gently restoring the normal-range functioning of the child’s attachment bonding motivations toward the targeted-rejected parent.  Some of these slides have been redacted for the handout to protect the intellectual property rights of Ms. Pruter.  If you have a legitimate reason for seeking the un-redacted copies of these slides, contact Dorcy:

I want to highlight four extremely important points from this Boston presentation:

1. )  Gardnerian PAS is Dead

The Gardnerian PAS model is a dead paradigm.  In professional psychology, there is no such thing as “parental alienation.”  That is a term used in the general population – and it’s fine for general use, but it is not a professional-level construct appropriate for professional-level discussion.  Mental health professionals need to rely on standard and established professional constructs and principles in our professional-to-professional level discussion.

If a mental health professional uses the construct of “parental alienation” in a professional level discussion, they are essentially talking about unicorns.  Assessing, diagnosing, and treating unicorns is irrelevant, because there is no such thing as unicorns.

There are six slides in Part 2 that drive this point home, beginning with the slide that says:

There is no such thing in clinical psychology as “parental alienation.”  It is a made up form of “new pathology.”

Any mental health professional who continues to use the Gardnerian PAS model for defining a mythical new form of pathology called “parental alienation” is simply trying to maintain the status quo of no solution in order to maintain their status as an “expert” in diagnosing unicorns.

The general population of targeted parents and legal professionals can all continue to use the construct of “parental alienation” because they are not mental health professionals.  But at a professional level, all mental health professionals need to be… professional.  In professional-to-professional discussion at a professional level, we need to use standard and established constructs and principles to describe real forms of pathology –  no talk of unicorns and mermaids.

I know you’re an expert in unicorns and mermaids, I know you want to remain an expert in unicorns and mermaids.  But unfortunately, there is no such thing as unicorns and mermaids.

2.)  Professional Incompetence

Mental health professionals are not allowed to be ignorant and incompetent, and they do not have a choice about this.  Once we return to the professional path of standard and established constructs and principles mental health professionals can be held accountable, and they do not have a choice to be ignorant and incompetent.

Standard 2.01a of the APA ethics code requires professional competence.

APA Ethics Code
Standard 2.01 Boundaries of Competence
(a) Psychologists provide services, teach and conduct research with populations and in areas only within the boundaries of their competence,

Standard 2.03 of the APA ethics code requires that psychologists take proactive steps to maintain their professional competence.

APA Ethics Code
Standard 2.03 Maintaining Competence

Psychologists undertake ongoing efforts to develop and maintain their competence.

Standard 9.01a of the APA ethics code requires that their assessment of pathology is “sufficient to substantiate” their diagnostic statements and forensic testimony.

APA Ethics Code
Standard 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.

There are four slides in Part 2 of the Boston presentation that establish the domains of knowledge necessary for professional competence.

Attachment System Competence
Personality Disorder Competence
Family Systems Competence
Complex Trauma Competence

These are very important slides.  They put mental health professionals on notice that Standards 2.01a and 2.03 of the APA ethics code are active and apply.  I have put my professional colleagues on notice that they potentially face licensing board complaints for “violations of professional standards of practice” if they continue to remain ignorant and incompetent.

Notice I never used the term “parental alienation” in defining the domains of knowledge necessary for professional competence.  If we want to hold mental health professional accountable, it must be to the standard and established constructs and principles of professional psychology as laid out in these four slides.

Mental health professionals are NOT ALLOWED to be incompetent (Standard 2.01a of the APA ethics code).  These four slides are incredibly important.

3.)  The KEY

The KEY to the family law solution to “parental alienation” (AB-PA) in high conflict divorce is to team an AB-PA Knowledgeable amicus attorney with an AB-PA Certified mental health professional.

I will let this idea percolate a little, and then I will unpack it.  The last five slides of Part 2 are huge.  They represent the solution to the family law system surrounding high-conflict divorce.  I will discuss this more in my next blog post and in the upcoming days.

The last five slides of Part 2 are huge.  They will solve the family law system response to high-conflict divorce.

4.)  The High Road Protocol

The High Road protocol of Dorcy’s is unlike anything we do in psychotherapy.  By analogy, if the different forms of psychotherapy are considered to be the different types of carbon-based life forms (fish, plants, birds, reptiles, etc.), the High Road protocol would be analogous to a silicon-based life form – an entirely different foundation to life.  The change-agent used in the High Road protocol is entirely unlike anything we do in psychotherapy.  And this catalytic approach has implications in solving other social-psychological issues beyond the pathology of “parental alienation.”

In the days ahead, the catalytic approach used by the High Road protocol warrants reasoned professional discussion and exploration regarding the potential application of the catalytic approach employed by Dorcy to a number of other social-psychological issues.  While the content components of the protocol would change based on the social-psychological issue being addressed, the basic catalytic change-agent approach (the silicon-based life form) would provide the underlying structure for the intervention.

I know the implications of the catalytic change-agent approach used by Dorcy cannot be gleaned from the slide handout I’ve posted because the really good explanatory stuff is redacted.  This is because people will try to copy what Dorcy does, and Dorcy has a legitimate right to protect her intellectual property.  But everyone in the room in Boston now understands exactly how Dorcy accomplishes what she does, and professional articles regarding the catalytic approach to change will be on their way once we solve the pathology of “parental alienation” (AB-PA).

I’m going to let all this information percolate for a bit, and then I’ll return to unpack it.

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

7 thoughts on “AFCC Boston Powerpoint”

  1. Thank you for your dedication to this issue. I’ve read Foundations and several of your smaller booklets. One suggestion that I ask you to consider is incorporating somewhere that the AB-PA dynamic can occur in intact families, not just from the point where a marriage may start disintegrating, but for years. There are some people out there who recognized that prior to the divorce of their parents, or their own divorce, this dynamic had existed in the family for as long as they could remember, and was in fact one of the factors that significantly contributed to the decline of the marriage in the first place. A visit to an “Adult Children of Narcissists” or other support group may make it apparent that some of these adult children now in retrospect see that they were alienated from, or their attachments somehow disrupted with, one of their parents due to the influence of the other parent, even if the family remained intact and divorce was never initiated. There may be a much larger audience out there than those specifically influenced by divorce, separation, etc.

    1. Hi CW,
      Because AB-PA is multi-generational the alienation dynamic has to come from somewhere! There is the discussion of the “Alpha” alienator somewhere in Dr. Childress’s writings and should be discussed further. ABAB also needs to be addressed because although children are normalized or come back to a state of authenticity, how will they remain there if the narcissistic/(borderline) parent is not brought into therapy and taught how to change their manipulative and self-serving behavior? Attachment related disorders are perpetuated because we do not address the needs of adult children who suffer from pathogenic parenting; those from intact and broken families, and those who were or are currently a targeted parent or an alienator.

  2. Bless you and thank you, Doc. This is a magnificent, solid presentation of fact and logic.
    The courses currently being taught to judges and lawyers in continuing education are based on the Gardner PAS myth. No wonder judgements are all over the map and families are destroyed in court. When your AB-PA model is accepted in the legal arena, and when so-called court expert witnesses are held to accountability, the current trend must die.

  3. Dr, Craig,

    it has been with immense hope and even excitement, that I’ve been following your work since a couple of months ago. A serious chill ran through from the top to my toes as it felt you were word for word writing my story …I simply couldn’t believe that there WAS in fact another person on this earth who understood the bizarre construct of this nightmare I was living 24/7 for the past 18 years, is entirely possible..!? Go figure.

    Now you have a devoted follower who can not wait to do anything at all to 1.) learn more; 2.) spread the word and last, but not least 3.) recover both my children back in my arms.

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

    They say people who have already died have nothing more to lose or fear in this life. It is true: my estranged son is turning 30 this month and just got married a couple of months ago. No, typically I wasn’t invited – read the news from the newspaper. So I FB him a really lovely Mother of the Groom speech welcoming my daughter-in-law and her parents etc…because I’m a decent person well-brought up… and I thought what the hell how much worse can it get so I included your original blog material of May 17 in a 2nd FB msg.

    Maybe it was the abundance of honeymoon hormones I don’t know, but I couldn’t believe it when he replied … almost immediately! And positively so! say what??

    Ok, not warm and welcoming per se, rather chilly, restrictive and very controlling and judging still, and it’s like talking to his narc dad all over again; grrr near got myself tripped up there. However, I got an expressed agreement to continue contact with me….slowly, he said. No he doesn’t want to see me and no I’m not to meet the wife or her parents and definitely no contact with them either. Ok, I agree and will respect that. And he doesn’t want to, and will not talk about anything about the past or his Dad. This is good for me too.

    But now I need to know about the other Dr’s workshop details. So please provide to me more information the fees and or the possibility of a down-payment arrangement. By the way, I am in Brisbane Australia. Yes, this dysfunctional stuff is rive here too :0(

    warm regards Pia Rousseau (The Estranged Warrior) 0414 620 605

    My Facebook page: Shatter the Silence – parental pathology New social group on Life as an Estranged Grand/parent

    On Sat, Jun 3, 2017 at 1:26 AM, Dr. Craig Childress: Attachment Based Parental Alienati

    1. Thank you for your kind words of support for my work. I’m happy that you’re on the path of recovering a relationship with your son. Cutoff family structures are not a healthy thing. Respect is a good thing. Love is a good thing. Empathy and kindness are good things. Moving forward into a solution-focused approach is a good thing.

      What would help significantly in the recovery of now-adult children is to have available a set of AB-PA knowledgeable mental health professionals who could help the now-adult child understand and process the emotions surrounding the family experience. Unfortunately, these AB-PA knowledgeable mental health professionals don’t exist yet. I’m planning on beginning to provide training and Certification in AB-PA in the fall of 2017 here is Southern California, and there are discussions about bringing me out to Texas in July for some training. So down the road… but as of the moment we don’t have these AB-PA knowledgeable mental health professionals available.

      I’m hoping at some point to come to Australia (and to Europe) to do training and Certification in AB-PA, but that’s still a ways in the distance. One-by-one the dominoes will fall.

      Dorcy Pruter is wise and wonderful surrounding the restoration of the parent-child bond, and she has a book coming out soon, Reunited, describing the restoration of the parent-child bond with now-adult children. Get her book when it comes out. Empathy is good. Kindness is good. Showing up and being there, being available is good.

      Best wishes.

  4. Dr. Childress, thank you from the bottom of my heart for coming to Boston for both your AFCC presentation and the legislative briefing you gave at the State House. Until psychologists come to understand that this is devastating phenomenon is not a merely a disagreement within a family, but is instead a systematic manipulation and destruction of important relationships, the damage will go on.
    There was a time when it was considered a “family matter” to stay out of, when a man beat his wife or a parent beat a child and fortunately those days are gone. Now psychologists and the law see more clearly. I hope and pray that during my lifetime we come to see psychological torment as equally abusive and damaging.
    The gravity of this work must take a toll on you, but please know how much you are needed and appreciated. Please keep helping us try to put our families back together.

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