Karen Woodall – Stop It

Karen Woodall, stop trying to co-opt my work and present it as your own.

In your most recent blog (Taken at the Flood) you state:

Dr Childress’s recent blog called The Structure of the Pathology, I sat down with my mouth open, because in this blog is the description of exactly that which I discussed at the first meeting of the European Association of Parental Alienation Practitioners in Prague.

Karen Woodall, stop trying to co-opt my work and present it as if it was your own.  Within exactly the same sentence that you reference my work you claim it as your own.

Cite for me where you structurally linked the family systems pathology to the personality disorder pathology to the attachment system pathology.

Cite for me where you described the structural underbelly of the pathogen and the three defensive structures, and the inhibition of the executive function system, the identity system, and the memory system.

Karen Woodall, stop trying to co-opt MY work and present it as if it was your own.

It is professionally unseemly, it is professionally inappropriate, and it is professionally disrespectful to try to co-opt the work of another as if it was your own.  Stop it.

I don’t care what you spoke about in Prague, it is not “exactly” like what I presented in my blog.  I am outraged that you would try to co-opt my work as if it was your own.

Just because you present a pretty picture of objects on desk does not mean that you have worked out the structure of the pathogen.  My work is not “exactly” what you may have spoken about it Prague.  Stop trying to co-opt my work and present it as if it was your own.

This is analogous to what Dr. Bernet initially tried to do in his Old Wine in Old Skins commentary on Foundations and AB-PA, by claiming that AB-PA was nothing new, just the same old stuff everybody was talking about.

Dr. Bernet’s assertion was complete and utter nonsense.  An attachment-based model of “parental alieantion” (AB-PA) as put forth in Foundations is not simply Gardnernian PAS using “a new set of terms.”  Words convey meaning.  New “terms” create new meaning.  The “new terms” of AB-PA do NOT convey the same meaning as the old terms used in Gardnerian PAS.  Words having meaning.

You and Dr. Bernet want to pretend that AB-PA doesn’t exist, that it’s “nothing new” – because you are desperately trying to hold on to your status as “experts” in a mythical “new form of pathology” called “parental alienation.”

I, on the other hand, am trying to take us back to the path of established professional psychology – established professional constructs and principles – real and actual forms of psychological pathology.  NO “new forms of pathology” unique in all of mental health that require an equally new and unique set of symptom identifiers developed uniquely and specifially for this supposedly new form of pathology.

No.  The pathology we are dealing with is a manifestation of standard and fully established forms of pathology that are extensively and fully described in the professional literature.  It’s NOT a “new form of pathology.”  No.

We must return to the path of established professional psychology.  No mythical “new forms of pathology.”  ONLY – ONLY – real and established – actual forms of pathology that are fully defined and fully accepted within professional psychology.

AB-PA accomplishes this.  AB-PA defines the attachment-related family pathology people are calling “parental alienation” entirely – entirely – from within the standard and established forms of pathology in professional psychology, without having to rely on a wild proposal for the existence of some entirely new form of pathology that is unique in all of mental health.

There is no such thing as “parental alienation.”  It is a mythical form of pathology; unicorns and mermaids.

There is attachment-related pathology.

There is personality disorder pathology.

There is family systems pathology.

There are a lot of real pathologies.  But there is no such thing as a new and entirely unique form of pathology called “parental alienation.”  The pathology people are calling “parental alienation” is a manifestation of standard and fully established forms of existing pathology.  The term “parental alienation” is a popular culture term used to describe an attachment-related clinical pathology (called pathogenic parenting and pathological mourning in the professional literature).

Being an “Expert”

But the moment we return to the path of professionally established constructs and principles, the moment we stop proposing an entirely “new form of pathology,” then you and Dr. Bernet and all the other Gardnerian PAS “experts” cease to be “experts,” because you are only experts in unicorns and mermaids.  You need to hold on to mythical forms of new pathology – to the existence of unicorns and mermaids – because then you can hold on to your status as an “expert.”

Don’t believe me?  Answer me this one simple question… what is the path to a solution using Gardnerian PAS?  Lay it out for us.  Tell us, what is the path to a solution that you envision using Gardnerian PAS?

I’ve described, in detail, the path to a solution using AB-PA on multiple occasions (Ex: Dominoes Part 1: Paradigm Shift; Dominoes Falling: The Sequence)

I’m asking you a really simple and direct question.  Tell us the path to a solution using a Gardnerian PAS model.  Targeted parents deserve an answer to this question.  What is the path you propose to a solution using a Gardnerian PAS model?

Because if you have NO solution, if Gardnerian PAS offers NO solution except 30 more years of the same, then why are you still holding on to it?  AB-PA offers an immediate solution the moment the paradigm shifts.

So please – please – answer me that simple-simple question, what is the path to a solution that you envision using Gardnerian PAS?  Lay it out for us.

Because if you don’t answer that question yet you continue to hold on to Gardnerian PAS as a model for the pathology, then I’m going to call you out as being a false ally who only wants to remain an “expert” rather than achieve an actual solution.

It’s a simple question.  We have a right to know.  What is the solution you envision using a Gardnerian PAS model?  Lay it out for us.

As a clinical psychologist, I notice little things about a person’s self-expression.  Sometimes these little things tell us a lot.

I’m struck by the difference in the sub-headings for my blog and yours.

The sub-heading on my blog reads: Attachment-Based Parental Alienation (AB-PA).  A Scientifically Based Model of “Parental Alienation”

I’d call your attention to several things about this sub-heading.  First, I emphasize the model for the pathology.  Second, I reference establishing a scientifically based foundation for the model.  Third, I put the term “Parental Alienation” in quotes because it is not a real form of pathology – the term “parental alienation” is a term used in the popular culture to refer to an attachment-related pathology (called pathological mourning; Bowlby, 1980).

Now let’s look at the sub-heading for your blog. It reads: Parental Alienation Expert.

Hmmm.  Note the difference.  To a clinical psychologist, your sub-heading seems to suggest an ego-investment in being an “expert” – it’s all about you – you’re an “expert.”

But then that will create a problem when we return to standard and established professional constructs and principles to define and diagnose the pathology.  The moment we return to the standard and established constructs of professional psychology, the moment we leave the realm of mythical “new forms of pathology” – you’ll cease to be an “expert.”  Uh oh.

That’s the problem – the dilemma – you face.  The path to the solution requires a return to the standard and established constructs and principles of professional psychology.  But in returning to the path of established professional psychology, you’ll cease to be an “expert.”  What are you going to do?  That is the question you face.

Do you want to directly face that question? Here is your dilemma in a nutshell:

Q:  Describe the path to a solution that you envision using a Gardnerian PAS model.

That answer – or lack of answer – to THAT question is at the heart of your dilemma.

What are you going to do?  Remain an “expert” or enact the solution?

AB-PA gives an immediate DSM-5 diagnosis of V995.51 Child Psychological Abuse, Confirmed.  But only if you use the three diagnostic indicators of AB-PA, and the three diagnostic indicators are only available to you if you switch to an AB-PA model of the pathology.  The 8 Gardnerian PAS symptoms do not lead to a DSM-5 diagnosis of Child Psychological Abuse.  You know it, and I know it.

What are you going to do?  Remain an “expert” or enact the solution?

Actually, you don’t have a choice.  Because the solution is coming, it’s already underway, and your “expertise” in unicorns and mermaids is going to become irrelevant.  You and the other Gardnerian PAS experts are currently living in a echo chamber of self-aggrandizement – “we’re experts” – “let’s define what experts are, and we’ll be them.”

What will happen when you cease to be an “expert”?  What will happen when mental health professionals all across Great Britain and Europe are accurately diagnosing the attachment-related pathology using an AB-PA model as being a DSM-5 diagnosis of V995.51 Child Psychological Abuse.  What happens to “parental alienation” experts when the pathology is solved?

I can totally understand why you and the other Gardnerian PAS “experts” want to hold on to the mythical “new form of pathology” – you’ve been “experts” in this mythical new form of pathology for so long it’s become a part of the very fabric of your professional identity.  I imagine it’s very disorienting to watch your “expertise” in this “new form of pathology” disappear as we return to the standard and established path of professional psychology, and as we achieve the solution – all done, solved – to the attachment-related pathology that you’re calling “parental alienation.”

But while you seek to be an “expert” in unicorns and mermaids, I am an expert in real forms of pathology.

You know what being an expert in real forms of pathology is called? — it’s called being a clinical psychologist.  That’s it.  I’m just a clinical psychologist.

And being a clinical psychologist means that I an an expert in real forms of psychopathology, from autism to ADHD, from attachment-related pathology to personality pathology.  That’s what being a clinical psychologist means.

Real Pathology

So if you want to believe in unicorns and mermaids so that you can be an “expert” in unicorns and mermaids, that’s up to you.  The rest of us are going to be experts in real forms of pathology, attachment-related pathology, personality pathology, family systems pathology.

But even if you’re an “expert” in unicorns and mermaids, that still does NOT release you – and all of the other Gardnerian PAS “experts” – from your professional obligation – your professional obligation – to ALSO know, assess, diagnose, and treat actual real forms of pathology.

If you are assessing, diagnosing, and treating attachment-related pathology without a professional-level of knowledge regarding the functioning and characteristic dysfunctioning of the attachment system, then you are practicing beyond the boundaries of professional competence with REAL forms of pathology.

If you are assessing, diagnosing, and treating personality disorder pathology without a professional-level of knowledge regarding the origins, functioning, and characteristic dysfunctioning of personality disorder pathology as expressed within the family, then you are practicing beyond the boundaries of professional competence with REAL forms of pathology.

If you are assessing, diagnosing, and treating family pathology without a professional-level of knowledge regarding the fundamental constructs and principles of family systems and family system therapy, then you are practicing beyond the boundaries of professional competence with REAL forms of pathology.

That means that you must – as a real mental health professional – assess for and document the symptoms associated with these real forms of pathology.

The easiest way to do this for attachment-related pathology surrounding divorce (notice I did not use the term “parental alienation”: I’m talking about real forms of pathology) is to use the Diagnostic Checklist for Pathogenic Parenting.  If the three diagnostic indicators are present, the DSM-5 diagnosis is V995.51 Child Psychological Abuse, Confirmed.

Easy-peasy.

Documenting the presence of the 12 Associated Clinical Signs is also recommended as confirming data.

If you are NOT using the Diagnostic Checklist for Pathogenic Parenting in your standard assessment of attachment-related pathology surrounding divorce, why not?

Why aren’t you using the Diagnostic Checklist for Pathogenic Parenting that can immediately give you a DSM-5 diagnosis of V995.51 Child Psychological Abuse, Confirmed?

You can still go ahead and be an “expert” in unicorns and mermaids too, if you want.  Personally, being a clinical psychologist is enough for me; an expert in real forms of pathology – from autism to ADHD, from attachment-related pathology to personality disorder pathology.  But if it’s important for you to also be an “expert” in unicorns and mermaids, whatever floats your boat.

But you must ALSO be competent in real forms of pathology as well.  That is your professional obligation.

Origins of “Protective Separation”

While I’m here, Karen, I would appreciate the professional courtesy of your providing me with professional citation when you use the construct of a “protective separation.”  I am the one who introduced that construct into the professional dialogue. It’s considered professionally courteous and respectful to acknowledge the contributions of other mental health professionals.

Let me explain the origin of the term “protective separation” – my conscious and intentional decision to introduce that construct into the meme-space (Dawkins, 1989) of the professional discussion.

In my initial analysis of the various meme-structures of the pathogen, a central core meme-structure is the effort by the allied narcissistic/(borderline) parent to adopt and then conspicuously display the false trauma reenactment role as the “protective parent.”

When I set about constructing the anti-pathogen meme-structure, I formulated the linkage of the pathology (pathogenic parenting) to a DSM-5 diagnosis of V995.51 Child Psychological Abuse.  I then formulated the link from a formal DSM diagnosis of child abuse to the treatment-related response of separating the child from the abusive parent.

But as I selected my words, I intentionally added the word “protective” to the word “separation” to actively challenge the false meme-structure being propagated by the pathogen that it was the allied narcissistic/(borderline) parent who was “protecting the child.”  No.  We are the ones protecting the child.  We are going to fight for that role of protecting the child.

WE are the ones protecting the child.  That’s what the meme-structure of the “protective separation” is specifically – and intentionally – designed to address.

I also knew, from my analyses of the pathogen’s meme-structures as they are propagated within its allies, that the counter meme-structure that the pathogen would offer is that separating the child from the supposedly “favored” parent would be “traumatic” for the child.  By adding the word “protective” to the construct of a protective separation, I was introducing a meme-structure to counter the “traumatic” argument that would be offered by the pathogen – it is NOT “traumatic”  to “protect” a child from child abuse.

Notice too in all my writings I have added the word “supposedly” to the phrase “favored parent” – and will often put the word “favored” in quotes – thereby creating the phrase: supposedly “favored” parent.  We are even going to fight the pathogen’s meme-structure that the allied narcissistic/(borderline) parent is the “favored” parent.  No.  That relationship is actually an insecure attachment.  The secure attachment is to the targeted parent.

So, while the meme-structure of the “supposedly ‘favored’ parent” is somewhat cumbersome, I’m not going to give an inch to the pathogen.  We are going to fight every single pathogenic construct.

So in creating and introducing the meme-structure of “protective separation,” I had two fully conscious and fully intentional clinical psychology reasons for adding the word protective to the construct of separation, and you’ll see this term from the very start of all my writings five or six years ago.

If you don’t think I know exactly what I’m doing, you’re wrong.

So when you use the term “protective separation,” Karen, you are referencing a construct that I specifically developed and that I intentionally introduced into the meme-space (Dawkins, 1989) of the professional discussion.  When you use the term “protective separation” I would appreciate the common professional courtesy and display of professional respect of citing me as the originator for this construct, rather than ignoring my contribution and co-opting the construct without proper citation as if you were the orginator of it.

The professional reference citation I would prefer would be to Foundations.  So when you use the term, at least the first time in each document, the citation to me as the originator for the construct would look like this:

“…words-words-words protective separation (Childress, 2015) words-words-words…”

With a citation to Foundations in your References:

Childress, C.A. (2015). An Attachment-Based Model of Parental Alienation: Foundations. Claremont, CA: Oaksong Press.

Or you can simply eschew from adding the word protective to the construct of separation, and simply refer to the child’s separation from the allied parent, in which case you won’t need to cite me as a the originator for the construct of a “protective separation.”

That’s called professional courtesy and respect.

If you choose not to reference me as the originator for the construct of a “protective separation,” as you have been doing up to this point, and you instead try to co-opt my work as if it was original to you, there’s nothing I can do about that.  But it’s considered a matter of professional courtesy and respect to cite the originator for ideas and constructs (for example, my citation of Dawkins relative to the construct of memes).

Structure of the Pathogen

But for you to claim that my work on defining and describing the structure of the pathogen is “exactly” what you’ve already done goes way-way too far. It is outrageous and insulting.

Cite for me where you structurally linked the family systems pathology to the personality disorder pathology to the attachment system pathology.

Cite for me where you described the structural underbelly of the pathogen and the three defensive structures, and the inhibition of the executive function system, the identity system, and the memory system.

Stop trying to co-opt my work and pass my ideas and my work off as your own.  It is outrageous and insulting.

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

Dawkins, R. (1989). The selfish gene. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

6 thoughts on “Karen Woodall – Stop It”

  1. Hi Dr Childress,

    My impression of the same blog was encouragement that mental health professionals in the field are beginning to recognize and name (even if not APA referenced) your work, and to resonate with it. I didn’t experience her statements as claiming she had accomplished what you have: to clearly identify the pathology and define strategies to treat it. That has been a heroic and monumental feat.

    My impression, having read the blog quickly, was that it was more of an affirmation of the intuitive logic and truth of your model, pieces of which perhaps she had been able to articulate previously because of the inherent truth. She’s a fan, not a flying monkey.

    Just my thoughts, take them or leave them 😊.

    1. If you are right (and you’re not) – but if you are correct, then let Karen Woodall answer my simple question:

      Q: Tell us her plan for solving “parental alienation” using the Gardernian PAS model.

      That is a simple and reasonable request. We can then look at the two models and two plans for solution side-by-side and make a reasoned decision on how to proceed.

      I have been asking for this for nearly three years now. They have remained completely and utterly silent. They have absolutely no plan whatsoever, and yet they continue to hold on to a failed PAS model. Why?

      I know exactly why. The pathogen’s defensive structure of Seek Allies has two prongs. The first is to create a set of “enacting allies” who actively collude with enacting the pathology. Oftentimes these are the child’s individual therapists. The flying monkeys in the general population are another set of “enacting allies.”

      The second set of allies are “enabling allies.” These are people who act to disable the mental health system’s response to the pathology. These are the Garnerian PAS experts. By insisting that establishment mental health accept their proposal for the existence of an entirely new and unique form of pathology – identifiable by an equally unique set of symptoms developed specifically for this pathology alone – the Gardnerian PAS experts have created a schism in professional psychology that disables the professional response to the pathology.

      Their coveted role as the “protective other” for the “victimized child” against the “abusive parent” is identical – IDENTICAL – to the flip side of the trauma reenactment narrative (“abusive parent/”victimized child”/”protective parent”) that is being created by the narcissistic/(borderline) parent. Flip sides of the same coin.

      Gardnerian PAS has been the dominant paradigm for 30 years – and it has given us EXACTLY what we have right now – massive and profound professional ignorance and incompetence – and a set of “parental alienation experts” who are inert and ineffective. Thirty years. No solution. Scoreboard.

      I began to recognize the pathogen in the Gardnerians back in 2013/2014. I’ve seen it for a long-long time now, I’ve waited to expose it.

      I also know exactly where it comes from within the meme-structures of the pathogen.

      One very-very distinctive feature of the pathogen is that it inhibits logical reasoning systems of the frontal lobe. A brain that contains the pathogen (the set of damaged information structures in the attachment system) CANNOT logically reason. It is a very-very distinctive feature.

      So one way of recognizing the pathogen is to present a logical line of reasoning. It won’t be able to process it.

      Here is the logical line for the Gardnerians:

      A pathology cannot – simultaneously – be a unique new form of pathology (the Gardnerian PAS proposal) AND – simultaneously – be a manifestation of standard, fully established and fully existing forms of pathology (AB-PA). Both cannot simultaneously be true.

      If one is true (if it’s a new and unique form of pathology), then the other is false (it is NOT a form of existing pathology).

      If one is true (if it’s a manifestation of fully established and fully existing forms of pathology), then the other is false (it is NOT a new and unique form of pathology).

      Both cannot logically be true.

      Either the foundational premise of Gardnerian PAS is true (that it is a new form of pathology unique in all of mental health) in which case AB-PA is false…

      Or the foundational premise of AB-PA is true (that it is a manifestation of fully established forms of existing pathology), in which case Gardnerian PAS is false.

      It cannot logically be both a new form of pathology AND an existing form of pathology. It is either one or the other.

      But the Gardnerian PAS experts cannot comprehend this logical impossibility. Why? Because they have an ego-investment in maintaining the Gardnerian PAS model.

      The issue that AB-PA is exposing is that the motivation of the Gardnerian PAS experts to hold on to the Gardnerian PAS model takes precedence for them OVER solving the pathology for the countless children and families experiencing the pathology. That is what I find morally reprehensible.

      Don’t believe me? Simple question: What is the path to a solution that they envision using the Gardnerian PAS model. Tell us.

      They have NO path to a solution. None. AB-PA has a clear path to a solution. Now. Immediately.

      The Diagnostic Checklist for Pathogenic Parenting will provide all targeted parents with a confirmed DSM-5 diagnosis of V995.51 Child Psychological Abuse which they can then take to court.

      Are the Gardnerian PAS experts administering the Diagnostic Checklist for Pathogenic Parenting? No. Why not?

      Why intentionally withhold providing targeted parents with a confirmed DSM-5 diagnosis of Child Psychological Child Abuse for the pathology? Why? Ask them. You will find that their answer makes no logical sense. Logical reasoning has been inhibited. They cannot logically reason. Ask them why they don’t routinely administer the Diagnostic Checklist for Pathogenic Parenting.

      Don’t you find it interesting that targeted parents are struggling trying to get incompetent allies of the pathogen to simply administer the Diagnostic Checklist for Pathogenic Parenting – and your supposed allies – the Gardnerian PAS experts are ALSO NOT administering the Diagnostic Checklist for Pathogenic Parenting. Don’t you find that intriguing?

      They are false allies. They care more about remaining “experts” than they do about solving the pathology.

      Don’t believe me… simple question: Tell us your solution to “parental alienation” using the Gardnerian PAS model.

      For three years I’ve been asking this question, and for three years they have refused to provide an answer. They need to provide an answer. If they don’t answer that question, I’m calling them out as false allies. They present a fair-face but they will betray you – they are betraying you – in order to maintain their personal ego-investment in remaining “experts.” I find their false-face betrayal of targeted parents and their children reprehensible and morally repugnant.

      Simple question. What’s their plan? We deserve an answer.

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

      1. By the way, Karen Woodall is no fan of me or of AB-PA. If she were, she would announce a switch to the AB-PA model and renunciate Gardnerian PAS and she would be actively working with me to bring AB-PA to Great Britain. She’s had years to do this. She has not done it.

        She doesn’t want AB-PA because then she won’t be a “parental alienation expert” as she prominently announces on her blog.

        She wants to bury AB-PA. If she wants to end “parental alienation” in Great Britain, then she should return the the path of established psychological principles and constructs – AB-PA. Great Britain is the home of the attachment system – John Bowlby. It should be in the forefront of assessing, diagnosing, and treating attachment-related pathology.

        What AB-PA does is hold mental health professionals accountable. The moment Karen Woodall announces her switch to AB-PA, her return to standard and established constructs and principles of professional psychology, and renounces “new forms of pathology” (Gardnerian PAS and the general construct of “parental alienation”) then she and I can begin our collaborative work to bring AB-PA to Great Britain.

        But Karen Woodall won’t do this. Ask her why. Her answer won’t make any sense. Logical reasoning has been inhibited.

        But, bottom line is a simple question for Gardnerian PAS experts – all of them – what is their path to a solution using Gardernian PAS? Tell us your path to a solution.

        They have no path to a solution – their only path is to remaining “experts” in unicorns and mermaids.

        And they are betraying with a false-face the trust and hopes of targeted parents and their children. Tell us your path to a solution or you will have earned my contempt and scorn. Tell us your path to a solution using Gardnerian PAS. That should be the DEMAND of all targeted parents to these so-called “experts.”

        False-face, betrayal, false-allies.

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

  2. Excellent work, Dr. Childress!

    “They are false allies. They care more about remaining “experts” than they do about solving the pathology.”

    and

    “Logical reasoning has been inhibited.”

    How is it we can be so easily stupified to believe narcissists will change? Thus the protective separation! But what particularly bothers me is the very idea of nurturing new experts in family separation. That to me is incomprehensible. More pain is all I can see should we continue to court the pathogen. I want it stopped.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s