A new booklet is now available through Amazon that will become an integral part of the solution:
The Contingent Visitation Schedule
This booklet has 30 pages of text description and 25 pages of Appendices. The first 20 pages of text describes the pathology. The next 10 pages of text describes the structure of the Contingent Visitation Schedule (a treatment-related solution to “parental alienation”; AB-PA).
You will want to get this booklet into the hands of all family law attorneys, judges, guardians ad litem, parenting coordinators, minor’s counsels, and “reunification therapists” everywhere.
This booklet will not only explain the pathology to them, it will explain the solution; a Contingent Visitation Schedule.
The Contingent Visitation schedule is a Strategic family systems intervention designed to reverse how the child’s symptomatic rejection of the targeted parent confers power within the family system (described in pages 20-26 of the booklet).
While the standard of practice and “duty to protect” the child in all cases of child abuse requires the child’s protective separation from the abusive parent, in treating the attachment-related pathology of AB-PA surrounding divorce a Strategic family systems intervention is potentially available to resolve the family pathology and simultaneously protect the child from the abusive pathogenic parenting of the allied parent. This Strategic family systems intervention involves a Contingent Visitation Schedule in which custody visitation time with the allied pathogenic parent is made contingent upon the child remaining symptom-free as determined by ratings on the Parent-Child Rating Scale.
As long as the child remains symptom-free, as determined by daily/weekly ratings on the Parent-Child Relationship Rating Scale, then the standard Court-ordered visitation schedule is in effect. For treatment purposes, a balanced 50-50% shared custody visitation schedule provides the best treatment-related support. A successful symptom-free day is defined as ratings of 4 or higher on all three relationship scales of the Parent-Child Rating Scale;
1) Hostility to Affection
2) Defiance to Cooperation
3) Withdrawn to Social
A successful symptom-free week is defined as five successful symptom-free days during a seven-day week period. As long as the child has a successful symptom-free week with the targeted parent, then the 50-50% Court-ordered visitation schedule is followed.
If, however, the child fails to have a successful symptom-free week with the targeted parent (less than five successful symptom-free days during a seven-day period), then the transfer to the allied parent’s pathogenic care is delayed pending resolution of the child’s increased symptoms. Before the child is transferred back to the pathogenic care of the allied parent, the child must evidence three consecutive successful days with the targeted parent. Once the child exhibits three consecutive successful days with the targeted parent, then the normal Court-ordered custody visitation schedule is resumed. Any custody visitation days missed by the allied pathogenic parent are lost and no “make-up” days are scheduled.
The Contingent Visitation Schedule is essentially a graduated protective separation from the psychologically abusive pathogenic parenting of the allied parent that is based on the child’s display of symptoms or absence of symptoms.
As long as the child remains symptom-free, then the standard Court-ordered visitation schedule is followed. If the child becomes symptomatic (with the presumed cause being the pathogenic parenting of the allied parent, as determined by a Treatment-Focused Assessment protocol), then the child’s time with the allied pathogenic parent is REDUCED in order to reduce the pathogenic influence on the child of the allied parent who is creating the child’s symptoms, and the child’s time with the targeted-rejected parent is INCREASED in order to provide more treatment-related time with the targeted parent to restore the parent-child bond of shared affection between the child and the targeted parent that is being damaged by the pathogenic parenting of the allied (and psychologically abusive) parent.
The Contingent Visitation Schedule can be used as a six-month Response-to-Intervention trial (RTI). If the Contingent Visitation Schedule successfully resolves the child’s pathology during the six-month RTI, then no additional intervention is needed. The Contingent Visitation Schedule should nevertheless be extended for another six-months to ensure the family’s relationship stability. As long as the child remains symptom-free, then the standard Court-ordered custody visitation schedule is followed.
If a six-month RTI with the Contingent Visitation Schedule is not successful in resolving the child’s attachment-related pathology, then a move into a 9-month protective separation period would be warranted as a standard of practice response to the DSM-5 diagnosis of Child Psychological Abuse which, based on the results of the RTI with the Contingent Visitation Schedule, cannot otherwise be resolved without a protective separation of the child from the abusive pathogenic parent.
Courts tend to be reluctant to order a protective separation from the allied parent (who superficially appears to have a “bonded” relationship with the child). The Contingent Visitation Schedule offers the Court an alternative compromise solution in which the pathogenic negative influence of the allied narcissistic/(borderline) parent is addressed without the need to entirely separate the child from that parent.
The treatment-related Contingent Visitation Schedule is implemented through the direction of an Organizing Family Therapist, and it will require a Court order for use by the Organizing Family Therapist (who becomes empowered to implement the Contingent Visitation Schedule within a structured decision-making protocol based on data from the Parent-Child Relationship Rating Scale – i.e., data-driven decision-making regarding the treatment-related response).
The Contingent Visitation Schedule will become a vital treatment response to the attachment-related pathology of “parental alienation” (AB-PA).
The two current challenges will be:
1) Finding an Organizing Family Therapists who is capable of directing the Contingent Visitation Schedule.
This will be one of the instructional components on Day 2 of AB-PA Certification through The Childress Institute. All AB-PA Certified mental health professionals will be capable of serving as the Organizing Family Therapist for the Contingent Visitation Schedule.
We just don’t currently have AB-PA Certified mental health professionals. My first AB-PA Certification seminar is scheduled for November 18-19. More will follow, I’m anticipating two Certification seminars per year (and more through Announcement 3).
In the meantime, until we have AB-PA Certified mental health professionals, I am available for professional-to-professional consultation.
We’re building the plane while we’re flying it. We need the Contingent Visitation Schedule for AB-PA Certified therapists to use, and we need AB-PA Certified therapists who are trained in using the Contingent Visitation Schedule.
Piece-by-piece, step-by-step, we are constructing the solution. Soon all of the pieces will be in place. Also, Announcement 3 is coming.
In the meantime, you will want to get this booklet into the hands of all family law attorneys, judges, guardians ad litem, parenting coordinators, minor’s counsels, and “reunification therapists” everywhere. All of them. Every family court-involved legal and mental health professional dealing with attachment-related pathology surrounding divorce needs to be aware of the Contingent Visitation Schedule option.
Not only will this booklet explain the pathology to them, it will explain the solution.
The Contingent Visitation Schedule offers a treatment-related compromise solution to a full protective separation. If used as an RTI (Response to Intervention), then it can determine whether or or not a more formal full protective separation is needed to resolve the pathology.
2. The Contingent Visitation Schedule will require a Court order because it involves a treatment-related adjustment to the visitation schedule based on a structured protocol for data-driven decision-making.
The decision on the treatment-related needs of the family should be based on a structured six- to eight-session Treatment-Focused Assessment Protocol, described in the booklet at described at:
Treatment-Focused Assessment Protocol
One of the first questions I can hear people asking is, “Has the Contingent Visitation Schedule been used before?” The answer is no, it’s new. Look at it’s logic – described in the booklet. Make a decision based on the logic presented for the intervention.
The alternative is to order a full 9-month protective separation. If the Court does not want to order a data-driven Contingent Visitation Schedule to solve the family pathology, then the Court can order a 9-month protective separation from the allied pathogenic and psychologically abusive parent (based on a DSM-5 diagnosis of V995.51 Child Psychological Abuse), or it can allow the child to remain with a psychologically abusive parent and the Court can do nothing while the child’s life to be destroyed.
The Contingent Visitation Schedule is trying to be cooperative with the Court’s reluctance to order the necessary protective separation period. Once targeted parents and their attorneys begin seeking the Contingent Visitation Schedule, and once Courts begin to order the Contingent Visitation Schedule, then it will have been used, and over time it will become the standard of practice.
The Contingent Visitation Schedule is evidence-based practice because it is a data-driven decision-making protocol. The treatment-related decision to trigger the Contingent Visitation Schedule structure is based on the documented level of child symptoms.
A symptom-free child and the standard Court-ordered visitation schedule is in effect. An increase in child symptomatology above a specified level triggers the structured response of the Contingent Visitation Schedule. When the child’s symptoms return to normal-range child behavior, the treatment-related response of the Contingent Visitation Schedule is ended and the family returns to the Court-ordered visitation schedule.
Data-driven decision making represents “evidence-based” practice.
Announcment 1: Training and Certification in AB-PA is coming soon (including training in directing the treatment-related Contingent Visitation Schedule).
Announcement 2: The Contingent Visitation Schedule is now available.
Craig Childress, Psy.D.
Clinical Psychologist, PSY 18857