Just to be Clear Karen

Karen Woodall is concerned.  She wants to make it clear that nothing in her proposed model for the pathology of “parental alienation” was derived from AB-PA.  I haven’t read her book yet.  I’m still on vacation in Oregon.  I’m sure her book will be waiting for me on my doorstep when I get home.

So Karen, I just wanna be clear on this, you’re saying that there is nothing in your current book that you derived from AB-PA?  That’s what you saying, right?  That you incorporated nothing from AB-PA into the model for the pathology that you are proposing we use, right?

It is entirely 100% you – that’s what you’re saying, right?

This is the model you’ve been using and developing and proposing for the past 25 years, right?  Nothing from AB-PA.

Okay, so lean in here a little closer Karen, because this is really-really important for you to hear…

Your model for the pathology… the one you’ve been using for 25 years… the one with the dimensional diagnostic framework (mild-moderate-severe) rather than a categorical (present-absent) diagnostic structure, and the one that uses the 8 symptom indicators initially proposed by Gardner that are made up uniquely for the pathology alone in all of mental health… you know that model for the pathology that you’ve been proposing and using for 25 years…

It’s a failure.  It doesn’t solve the pathology.

Want proof?  Look around you.  We’ve been using your model for 25 years.  The current situation is exactly what using your model leads to.  That’s reality.  That is the truth.

I know you wish that truth and reality were different.  But they’re not.  Your proposed diagnostic model for the pathology is a failure in actually providing a solution for the pathology.

It doesn’t work, it doesn’t solve the pathology.  It may be wonderful for you to hold on to and to pontificate about, and to describe in your new books, and to talk about at conferences with all your friends, and to be such a wonderful and magnificent expert in…

That’s all great…

But it doesn’t solve the pathology.  That’s the truth.

Want proof?  Look around you.  We’ve been using your model for 25 years – for 25 years.  That’s a long time, Karen.  Enough already with your Gardnerian PAS model.  The trial run period for the Gardnerian PAS model is over.  Twenty-five years.  That’s long enough to reach a conclusion – it doesn’t solve the pathology.  Your model – as wonderful as you may believe it to be – does not solve the pathology.

I’m proposing that it’s time to change to a new model for diagnosing the pathology that will actually solve the pathology.  I don’t care how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.  The only thing I care about is the solution.

I don’t care if you like your model for describing the pathology. I don’t care if it makes you feel all warm and comfortable.  If it doesn’t solve the pathology, it is a failure.

Your model is a failure.

Okay, let me frame it for you this way, Karen.  We’ve been using the Gardnerian PAS model (and its derivatives) for 25 years now.  Can you honestly look around you at the current situation and claim that your proposed model for diagnosing the pathology is a success?  Because if it is not a success after 25 years, then it’s a failure.

There is a drop-dead final argument to resolve post-game woulda-coulda-shounda arguments among sports fans – Scoreboard.  This means that no matter what would have been, or could have been, or should have been during the game – look up at the final score; who won and who lost.  Scoreboard.  It settles all post-game woulda-coulda-shoulda arguments.

We’ve tried your model for diagnosing the pathology for 25 years now.

We’ve tried your model for the pathology.

I’m calling Scoreboard.  It does not solve the pathology.  I don’t care how much you like your proposed model for the pathology.  It is an abject failure in actually solving the pathology.

It is time for a change.  We need a solution.

I am proposing an entirely different model for the pathology – AB-PA.  You admit that you incorporate none of AB-PA into your model for the pathology.  They are entirely different models for the pathology.  You admit that.  Your model for the pathology incorporates NONE of AB-PA, they are two entirely different models for the pathology, right?

We’ve tried your model for 25 years now, Karen – and your model has been an abject failure in solving the pathology.  That is the truth.  Why would we want to continue doing exactly the same thing that produces absolutely no solution?

Scoreboard.

Let’s give a different diagnostic approach a try, let’s give the AB-PA diagnostic model a try.

So for those of you who are asking for unity, there are two diagnostic models for the pathology, with each one having hugely different approaches as to how mental health professionals diagnose the pathology.

The diagnostic model and approach proposed by Karen Woodall is to do exactly what we’ve been doing for the past 25 years.  Exactly the same approach to diagnosis, we’ll just keep doing what we’re currently doing.  She incorporated NONE of AB-PA and NONE of Foundations into her proposed model for the pathology.  For those of you who’ve read Foundations, let that sink in a bit – Karen Woodall’s model for the pathology incorporates NONE of Foundations – none of it.  Why not?  I honestly don’t know.  Foundations integrates the work of Beck and Kernberg and Bowlby and Millon and Minuchin.  Yet she incorporates none of it.  She incorporates none of Foundations or AB-PA into her model for the pathology.  They are entirely separate models for the pathology.

Karen Woodall is proposing that we keep doing exactly the same thing she’s been using and proposing for the past 25 years.  No change.  We just keep using exactly the same failed model for the pathology.

I am proposing that we switch to a new way for mental health professionals to diagnose the pathology.  Not the failed Gardnerian 8 dimensional (mild-moderate-severe) symptom identifiers, but three clear and categorical diagnostic indicators (present-absent).

The moment we switch to the new set of three diagnostic indicators provided by AB-PA, these diagnostic indicators lead directly to a DSM-5 diagnosis of V995.51 Child Psychological Abuse for the pathology, which then provides the professional rationale for the child’s protective separation from the allied narcissistic/(borderline) parent.

But I guess obtaining a DSM-5 diagnosis of V995.51 Child Psychological Abuse isn’t important to Karen, because she incorporates none of AB-PA into her model.  She’s willing to leave that DSM-5 diagnosis just sitting there unused, because she prefers her proposed description of the pathology, the one she’s been using for 25 years without success in solving the pathology.  But she likes it.  It makes her feel warm and comfy.

And about that protective separation, you know what I find intriguing?  That Karen Woodall isn’t an advocate for a protective separation.  In what she calls “hybrid cases” – cases that involve “many factors” (presumably including situations when the supposed problematic parenting of the targeted parent is alleged to be a contributing factor in the “alienation”), Karen Woodall asserts that separating the child from the favored parent could be damaging.

In a recent blog post she states:

From Karen Woodall: “It is the case that not all children will respond to a transfer of residence and separation from a parent for example. In hybrid cases, where there are dynamics which do not involve personality disorder, transfer of residence will simply transfer the problem of psychological splitting with the child, leaving no resolution and continued alienated behaviour, this time as a counter rejection of the parent the child was previously aligned to.”

I guess that means that under Karen Woodall’s proposed model for the pathology, in order to obtain a protective separation change in custody order from the Court, targeted parents will have to prove – in court – that the allied parent has a personality disorder before they can obtain a protective separation order from the court.

Wow.  High bar.  This requirement of Karen Woodall’s that targeted parents must prove in court that the other parent has a personality disorder before a protective separation order could be achieved would seemingly present an essentially prohibitive requirement to ever obtaining a court order for a protective separation, even when the allied parent has personality disorder pathology, because proving the personality disorder of the allied parent to the court’s standard of proof is nearly impossible to ever realistically achieve.

So under Karen’s proposed model for the pathology, a protective separation of the child from the allied narcissistic/(borderline) parent will likely be impossible to ever achieve.  According to Karen Woodall, a protective separation is only warranted if you can prove – in court – that the allied and supposedly favored parent has a personality disorder.  Good luck with that.

AB-PA on the other hand, relies on three diagnostic indicators in the child’s symptom display – this is important: in the CHILD’s symptom display – that will then lead directly to a confirmed DSM-5 diagnosis of V995.51 Child Psychological Abuse for the pathology.  The confirmed DSM-5 diagnosis of Child Psychological Abuse then provides the professional rationale for the child’s protective separation from the allied narcissistic/(borderline) parent.  There is no need for the targeted parent to prove in court that the other parent has a personality disorder.

Three diagnostic indicators in the child’s symptom display = Child Psychological Abuse = protective separation.

Assessment leads to diagnosis, and diagnosis guides treatment.

And you know, one more thing as long as we’re here… Karen Woodall made an unsupported assertion in the statement I just quoted, all that stuff about a separation “will simply transfer the problem of psychological splitting with the child” and “counter rejection” – all that stuff.  I’m a clinical psychologist, and that sounds like a whole lotta nonsense to me.  I’ve read a lot of research, and I’ve never run across anything that would support that assertion.  Nothing in Kernberg, nothing in Beck, nothing in Bowlby, no research anywhere… nothing.

So I’m really not sure where Karen gets that belief she’s talking about, and I’m going to challenge the truth of that assertion she’s making.

I don’t believe what she’s saying is true.  I’ve never run across any research that would support what Karen is saying.  So Karen, I think you’re just making that up because you’re searching for some sort of justification for denying a protective separation.  Would you please cite for me the research supporting that assertion?  Citation please.  Because you’re not allowed to just make stuff up because it sounds good to you.  You actually need to have some research to back up what you’re saying.

So can I get the citation to the article that supports the assertion you make about the supposedly harmful effects of a protective separation in cases that don’t involved personality disorder pathology in the parent?  (Personality disorder pathology exists along a spectrum – so people can have narcissistic or borderline personality traits without having a personality “disorder”).  I’d like to read that article that supports your claim.  You can send the article to my email address: drcraigchildress@gmail.com – or just post it in your next blog and I’m sure someone will forward the citation to me.

Because this is important.  If you are going to be a barrier to our achieving a protective separation of the child from the pathogenic psychologically abusive parent, then you really need to provide the research support behind your assertions that a protective separation is not warranted except in cases of a diagnosed personality disorder, so we can look at the research and interpret it for ourselves.

And if you have no research support for your assertion, then you’re just making stuff up, and I’m calling cow-pucky on what you’re saying regarding the supposed negative impact of the protective separation.  Unless you have scientific support for your claim, then you’re just making stuff up.

Why would Karen Woodall want to just make up justifications for denying targeted parents and their children a protective separation from the pathogenic parenting of a psychologically abusive parent?   That seems so odd.

With AB-PA, we’re not talking about “alienation,” we’re talking about psychological child abuse.

What’s also really important for everyone to understand is that the diagnostic model proposed by Karen Woodall does NOT lead to a DSM-5 diagnosis of V995.51 Child Psychological Abuse.

AB-PA does.

But then the question emerges, why wouldn’t Karen want to incorporate that component of AB-PA, the three diagnostic indicators, into her model of the pathology?  That seems really odd.

Karen indicates that she incorporates nothing from AB-PA into her proposed model for the pathology, that her model for the pathology is completely different from AB-PA.  So there are two different models for diagnosing the pathology

1.) The Gardnerian PAS model: a dimensional diagnostic structure (a continuum of mild/moderate/severe forms); and 8 symptom indicators that are unique to the pathology.

2.) AB-PA: a categorical diagnostic structure (present/absent); using three diagnostic indicators that are standard symptom indicators in professional psychology.

Karen Woodall indicates that she incorporates nothing from the AB-PA model for the pathology into her proposed version of the Gardnerian PAS model for the pathology.  According to Karen, they are completely separate models for the pathology.

We’ve been using Karen’s model for the past 25 years.  She hasn’t changed it by incorporating any of AB-PA into it, not even adding the three diagnostic indicators that give a direct DSM-5 diagnosis of Child Psychological Abuse.  It’s fundamentally the same exact model she’s been using for the past 25 years, and that has NOT solved the pathology during 25 years of use.

Exactly the same failed model for diagnosing the pathology.

While a completely different diagnostic model – AB-PA – provides an immediate DSM-5 diagnosis of V995.51 Child Psychological Abuse, Confirmed.

I’m calling Scoreboard. Time for a change.

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

You know, curious thing though… if the three diagnostic indicators of AB-PA lead directly to a DSM-5 diagnosis of V995.51 Child Psychological Abuse, Confirmed… why didn’t Karen Woodall incorporate this feature from AB-PA into her model for the pathology?

She couldn’t possibly want to deny targeted parents a confirmed DSM-5 diagnosis of V995.51 Child Psychological Abuse.  That would be abhorrent and reprehensible to deny targeted parents access to this diagnosis in order simply to promote a preferred model of the pathology that has failed to solve the pathology in 25 years.  She wouldn’t place her personal preferences ahead of actually solving the pathology, would she?  If there was a way to provide a confirmed DSM-5 diagnosis of V995.51 Child Psychological Abuse for the pathology, she’d want that, wouldn’t she?

Apparently not, because she incorporated nothing from AB-PA into her beloved model for the pathology, the one she’s been using for 25 years, the one that has failed to solve the pathology in 25 years.

Yet, even through the three diagnostic indicators provide a confirmed DSM-5 diagnosis of the pathology as Child Psychological Abuse, Karen didn’t incorporate the three diagnostic indicators of AB-PA into her proposed model for the pathology, and we know this because she assures us that she did not incorporate anything from AB-PA into her proposed model for the pathology.  Entirely separate models.

Then she is essentially proposing a model for the pathology that withholds from targeted parents and their families a confirmed DSM-5 diagnosis of Child Psychological Abuse for the pathology, because she prefers a model for the pathology that does not lead to a DSM-5 diagnosis of Child Psychological Abuse and that has not solved the pathology in 25 years of use.

Why would she do that?  It makes no sense, to deny targeted parents a confirmed DSM-5 diagnosis of child psychological abuse?  That seems so odd.

And why would she argue against a protective separation unless the targeted parent first proves – in court, since it requires a court order – that the favored parent has a personality disorder?  That seems so odd to put such an impossibly prohibitive burden onto the targeted parent.

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