The Solution: AB-PA Meets the Requirements

Requirement 1:  We must first be able to protect the child before we can ask the child to reveal the child’s authenticity.  Treatment and resolution of the pathology requires a protective separation of the child from the psychological control and manipulation of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent during the treatment and recovery stabilization period.

Requirement 2:  A protective separation of the child from the manipulative psychological control of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent will require a Court order.  This means that the Court must be convinced that a protective separation is required to solve the pathology in the family.

Requirement 3:  Any solution that requires targeted parents to prove “parental alienation” in court is no solution at all.

Requirement 4:  Any solution to the pathology of “parental alienation” must be able to completely solve the pathology in less than six months from the time it first presents itself to a mental health professional.


This is a challenging set of requirements, especially since the requirements are seemingly incompatible:

The First Conundrum:  To protect the child we need to get a protective separation (Requirement 1), to get a protective separation we need to convince the judge of the severity of pathology (Requirement 2), but if we require parents to prove parental alienation in Court, then that’s no solution at all (Requirement 3).

The Second Conundrum: We must be able to fully resolve the pathology in less than six months from the point that the pathology first presents to mental health.  Yet we need a Court order for a protective separation and the legal system doesn’t do anything in less than six months, and convincing the Court to order a protective separation at the first emergence of the pathology seems an impossible goal.

The key to solving these conundrums is in HOW we convince the Court to order a protective separation without having to prove parental alienation in the courtroom?

The Answer: Prove parental alienation through the mental health system and have the Court accept the findings and recommendations of the mental health system.

First fix the mental health system, then leverage the mental health system to fix the legal system.

Again, the key to solving this conundrum is to have the mental health system accurately diagnose the pathology on its first emergence, and then to have the Court accept the findings and recommendations of the mental health system.

Example:

If a patient has schizophrenia, we don’t make that diagnosis based on a Court trial.  A mental health professional makes the diagnosis, and the Court accepts the diagnosis.  The diagnosis of schizophrenia is so standardized that ALL mental health professionals will make exactly the same diagnosis when presented with the same set of symptoms. The entire field of professional psychology speaks to the Court in a single clear voice regarding schizophrenia, and the Court accepts the diagnosis and treatment recommendations of professional psychology.

Schizophrenia is a “categorical” diagnosis (present or absent) and the diagnostic indicators for the diagnosis of schizophrenia are sufficiently standardized so that ALL mental health professionals will make exactly the same diagnosis in response to a set of symptoms.

Because the diagnosis of schizophrenia is categorical (present or absent) and standardized (consistently identified by all mental health professionals), professional psychology speaks with a single clear voice, and the Court can rely on the diagnosis made by professional psychology. The Court does not need to have a trial and hear evidence seeking to make its own independent determination as to whether the person has schizophrenia.  The Court relies on the diagnosis from professional psychology.

The solution to meeting all four of the requirement for a solution to “parental alienation” requires the same approach – a categorical (present/absent) diagnostic framework of standardized diagnostic criteria.

THIS is the key, and THIS is our challenge:

We don’t need to convince the Court if we can convince ALL of professional psychology to give exactly the same communication to the Court.

Tall order… but do-able.  The AB-PA diagnostic model is strong enough to accomplish this.

We must bring ALL of professional psychology into a single voice.

The Gardnerian PAS diagnostic model cannot accomplish this for a variety of reasons, each one capable of disabling the Gardnerian PAS model’s ability to solve the pathology.  The three primary devastating features I want to highlight here (and there are plenty more) are:

1.)  The Gardnerian diagnostic model is a dimensional model (mild-moderate-severe forms of the pathology).  To solve the pathology we need a categorical diagnostic model (the pathology is either present or absent).

2.)  The reason we need a categorical model is because we want to use the diagnosis to obtain a protective separation (a yes/no categorical decision by the Court).  Since we need a categorical yes/no decision from the Court on the protective separation, we need to give the Court a categorical yes/no diagnosis of the pathology.

3.)  Since the Gardnerian PAS model proposes a “new form of pathology,” it does not lead to any established treatment.  Treatment of Gardnerian PAS remains purely a matter of conjecture for this supposedly “new form of pathology.”  When we seek a protective separation, we will face exceedingly stiff opposition from some elements of professional psychology who will argue that a protective separation from the “bonded relationship” with the “favored parent” would be “traumatic” for the child.

By separating itself from established pathologies and established professional constructs and principles as a supposedly “new form of pathology” unique in all of mental health, Gardnerian PAS has absolutely no rebuttal argument to the “separating the child from the favored parent is traumatic” argument.  It becomes just a back-and-forth argument of 5-year-olds,

It is too traumatic. – No it’s not. – Yes it is. – No it’s not. – Yes it is. – No it’s not. – Yes it is. – No it’s not. – Yes it is. –  Uhn-uhn. – Uh-huh. – Uhn-uhn. – Uh-huh.  (the judge): Stop it, you two………………… Uh-huh

The inability to successfully rebut the “separating the child from the favored parent is traumatic” argument will divide professional psychology into multiple divergent voices to the Court.  To achieve a solution that satisfies all four requirements for a solution, we MUST have a single united voice to the Court calling for the protective separation of the child.  The Gardnerian PAS model cannot give us that united single voice regarding the need for a protective separation.

The AB-PA diagnostic system CAN successfully rebut the “separating the child from the favored parent is traumatic” argument using the DSM-5 diagnosis of V995.51 Child Psychological Abuse, Confirmed.

In all cases of child abuse, physical child abuse, sexual child abuse, and psychological child abuse, the standard of practice and “duty to protect” requires the child’s protective separation from the abusive parent.

There is it. That’s the ironclad rebuttal.  It’s made available by the DSM-5 diagnosis of Child Psychological Child Abuse, and the DSM-5 diagnosis of Child Psychological Abuse is provided by the categorical AB-PA diagnostic indicators.

The Gardnerian PAS diagnostic model does not lead to a DSM-5 diagnosis of V995.51 Child Psychological Abuse for a variety of reasons, the principle reasons are because it is a dimensional diagnosis (mild-moderate-severe) that uses a unique set of symptom identifiers that are not linked to any other pathology in all of mental health.

Because the Gardnerian PAS model proposes a “new form of pathology” unique in all of mental health, and uses a unique set of symptom identifiers developed for this specific pathology alone, the Gardnerian PAS symptoms do not allow us access to standard and established constructs and principles of professional psychology.  Who knows if these symptoms represent child abuse or not?   Some will say yes, some will say no.  (Yes it is – no it’s not – Uh-huh – Uhn-uhn)

One of the fatal problems the Gardnerians face with this is the question; At what point along a continuum of mild-moderate-severe does it become child abuse, and based on what criteria?

And if the Gardnerians try to claim that their PAS derivative models of the pathology represent a DSM-5 diagnosis of child abuse, you can betcha-by-golly that the voices of opposition (inspired by the pathogen) will savage that assertion:

“Oh my God!  The Gardnerian PAS crazies are now claiming that a loving and bonded relationship with the favored parent is ‘child abuse’ because the child can’t get along with an abusive parent.”

Can’t you just hear the other side (inspired by the pathogen) just rip into that proposal by the Gardnerians, that the child’s seemingly bonded relationship with the “favored parent” is child abuse by the “favored parent” because the child can’t get along with the other parent.  The pathogen will have a field day with that.

The Pathogen’s Allies:  “These PAS people are calling a child’s loving and bonded relationship with a parent child abuse.”

No way, no how will professional psychology accept that Gardnerian PAS is a DSM-5 diagnosis of child abuse.  Division, controversy, multiple voices from professional psychology to the Court.

The AB-PA diagnostic model, on the other hand, CAN successfully address this “separating the child is traumatic” claim by relying on standard and established symptoms of pathology that provide a linkage into other standard and established forms of pathology.

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) is a DSM-5 diagnosis of V995.51 Child Psychological Abuse, Confirmed.

Diagnostic indicators 1 and 2 (attachment system suppression and personality disorder traits) are strong, but the real clincher is diagnostic indicator 3 – that’s the one that clearly pushes the diagnosis over the edge into Child Psychological Abuse.

If the “separating the child from the favored parent is traumatic” people want to argue that the pathology of AB-PA is NOT psychological child abuse, then they will have to argue that it is okay to create a delusional psychotic disorder in the child (diagnostic indicator 3).  That’s not a credible argument for them to make.

If a mental health professional diagnoses an encapsulated persecutory delusion in the child – created by the pathogenic parenting of the allied parent – that’s child psychological abuse.  It is not OK to produce delusional psychiatric pathology in the child, especially when that delusional psychiatric pathology results in the loss for a child of a bonded relationship with a normal-range and loving parent.

I am 100% ready for this.

The DSM-5 diagnosis of V995.51 Child Psychological Abuse is embedded into the very fabric of the full diagnostic formulation of the pathology (Foundations) on page 313, and I even put the DSM-5 diagnosis on page 2 of the Diagnostic Checklist for Pathogenic Parenting.

I’m giving mental health professionals the “diagnostic backbone” to make the correct and accurate diagnosis of the pathology.

MH Professional:  “The child evidences the three diagnostic indicators of an attachment-based model of parental alienation, 1) attachment system suppression, 2) narcissistic personality traits, 3) an encapsulated persecutory delusion regarding the child’s supposed victimization by the normal-range parenting of the targeted-rejected parent.  According to Childress (2015), these three diagnostic indicators in the child’s symptom display warrant a DSM-5 diagnosis of V995.51 Child Psychological Abuse, Confirmed.”

They can cite me and rely on the full diagnostic workup of Foundations for the diagnosis – and it’s right there on page 2 of the Diagnostic Checklist for Pathogenic Parenting.

I’m providing them with the diagnostic backbone to do the right thing.

The DSM-5 diagnosis of V995.51 Child Psychological Abuse, Confirmed then unlocks the protective separation by providing the professional rationale for the protective separation.

In all cases of child abuse, physical child abuse, sexual child abuse, and psychological child abuse, the standard of practice and “duty to protect” requires the child’s protective separation from the abusive parent.

This is not an accident.  This is not a coincidence.  AB-PA was developed to provide a solution that meets all four of the requirements for a solution.

In order to obtain the protective separation, all of professional psychology must be united into a single clear voice to the Court:

“The pathology in this family is a confirmed DSM-5 diagnosis of Child Psychological Abuse and the necessary treatment response is to protectively separate the child from the abusive parent.”

The Court can then rely on this single clear voice from all of mental health and can order the protective separation.

If the Court wants a second opinion, then the Court can refer the family to another mental health professional who will apply the same three diagnostic indicators of AB-PA and who will reach exactly the same categorical diagnosis (present/absent) of V995.51 Child Psychological Abuse Confirmed.

If the Court wants a third, fourth, fifth opinion – however many it wants – then the Court can refer the family to another mental health professional who will apply the same three diagnostic indicators of AB-PA and reach exactly the same categorical diagnosis (present/absent) of V995.51 Child Psychological Abuse Confirmed.

With the dimensional Gardnerian PAS diagnosis, one mental health professional says it “moderate parental alienation,” another mental health professional says “both parents are contributing” and that there’s some “alienation” and some “justified estrangement.”  One mental health professional says it’s severe alienation and needs a protective separation, another mental health professional says that there are signs of moderate “alienation” but that separating the child from the bonded relationship with the favored parent would be “traumatic.”

Multiple voices.  No clarity.  And… NO professional rationale for the protective separation.  “Let’s try reunification therapy.”

We need a diagnostic model of pathology that can bring all of professional psychology into a single clear voice. When all of mental health speaks with a single clear voice, the Court can act with the decisive clarity necessary to solve the pathology.

Diagnostic Standardization 

The diagnostic indicators for this “unifying model” must provide a standardized diagnostic format that can be reliably used by ALL mental health professionals, so that every mental health professional everywhere gives exactly the same diagnosis when presented with the same information.

The diagnostic framework must be categorical (present/absent) in order to provide the professional rationale for the categorical (yes/no) protective separation decision required of the Court.

1.)  The three diagnostic indicators are present in the child’s symptom display; the pathology is present (a categorical diagnosis).

2.)  The pathology represents a DSM-5 diagnosis of V995.51 Child Psychological Abuse, Confirmed (a categorical diagnosis).

3.)  This confirmed DSM-5 diagnosis of Child Psychological Abuse warrants a child protection response of the child’s protective separation from the abusive parent (a categorical decision).

This is incredibly important to understand – a dimensional diagnostic framework (mild-moderate-severe) will NEVER provide the necessary diagnostic clarity needed to unite ALL of professional psychology into a single clear voice to the Court.  Only a categorical diagnostic framework (present-absent) with clear symptom definitions (standardization) can unite ALL of professional psychology into a single voice to the Court.


Requirement 1:  We must first be able to protect the child before we can ask the child to reveal the child’s authenticity.  Treatment and resolution of the pathology requires a protective separation of the child from the psychological control and manipulation of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent during treatment and recovery stabilization period.

The diagnostic model of AB-PA meets this requirement.  A DSM-5 diagnosis of V995.51 Child Psychological Abuse, Confirmed provides the professonal rationale for the protective separation.

Requirement 2:  A protective separation of the child from the manipulative psychological control of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent will require a Court order.  This means that the Court must be convinced that a protective separation is required to solve the pathology in the family.

The diagnostic model of AB-PA meets this requirement.  The Court can rely on a unified diagnostic approach that relies on standard and established constructs and principles and produces a single clear voice from all of professional psychology.

Requirement 3:  Any solution that requires targeted parents to prove “parental alienation” in court is no solution at all.

The diagnostic model of AB-PA meets this requirement.  The diagnosis of AB-PA is made by the mental health professional using standardized assessment procedures of the six-session Treatment-Focused Assessment Protocol and the Diagnostic Checklist for Pathogenic Parenting, and the Court relies on the diagnosis made by professional psychology.

Requirement 4:  Any solution to the pathology of “parental alienation” must be able to completely solve the pathology in less than six months from the time it first presents itself to a mental health professional.

The diagnostic model of AB-PA meets this requirement.  On first emergence of attachment-related pathology surrounding divorce, a mental health assessment using the six-session Treatment-Focused Assessment Protocol and the Diagnostic Checklist for Pathogenic Parenting can be ordered.  This will allow for early treatment and intervention that can prevent the pathology’s escalation, or an early child protection response to resolve the pathology as soon as it emerges.

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

One thought on “The Solution: AB-PA Meets the Requirements”

  1. Thanks Dr C – I think this is the only way forward. And thank-you so much for your work shedding light on the psycho-pathology underlying PA.

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