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 1: The 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 2: The 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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