Dr. Bernet, join me.

The world is changing, Dr. Bernet.

If the Gardnerian PAS “experts” want to maintain leadership for the solution, you MUST describe the path to the solution that you envision so we can make a reasoned and considered decision on our path going forward.

In the absence of a proposed path to solution from the Gardnerian PAS “experts,” they forfeit their leadership.

It is unreasonable to ask that targeted parents and their children follow the leadership of the Gardnerian PAS “experts” with no description of how following that leadership will solve the pathology for these families – solve it for them with their specific families, right here and right now.

In the absence of a solution from the Gardnerian PAS “experts” – the AB-PA diagnostic model is going to assert itself into the leadership position of solving the pathology.  I have described the path to a solution using the AB-PA diagnostic model:

The Solution:  A Return to Professional Practice

The Solution:  The Dominoes

The ONLY relevant argument is how do we achieve a solution – now – for these parents and their children.

How many angels can dance on the head of a pin discussions are not relevant.  The solution is the only relevant issue.

Gardnerian PAS is a failed diagnostic paradigm.  Thirty years, Dr. Bernet – you’ve had 30 years to produce results from your Gardnerian PAS diagnostic model.  Look around you Dr. Bernet.  No solution.

Thirty years is more than generous.  It is a failed diagnostic paradigm.

You’ve had a full and complete opportunity to present your case – all of your research, all of your arguments – to establishment psychology with the revision to the DSM-5 diagnostic system in 2013.

I want to point out that I could have attacked the Gardnerian “new form of pathology” approach back then, but I didn’t.  I didn’t do anything back in 2011-2013 that would undermine your efforts to get “parental alienation” into the DSM.  I stood aside and I did nothing to hinder your full and complete opportunity to alter the DSM diagnostic system to include the term “parental alienation.”

What was the result of your full and complete opportunity to influence professional psychology?  Zero impact.  Nothing.  No mention of the construct of “parental alienation” anywhere in the DSM-5 diagnostic system.  Even in the V-Codes, where a reference to the “parental alienation” construct would have been fully appropriate in V61.29 Child Affected by Parental Relationship Distress.  No mention.  Nothing.

The Gardnerian PAS diagnostic model has had a full and complete opportunity to solve the pathology.  Thirty years is more than enough time to demonstrate the ability of a diagnostic model to solve the pathology, and you have had a full and complete opportunity to influence professional psychology with the revision of the DSM-5 diagnostic system.

Gardnerian PAS is a failed diagnostic model.

I don’t care how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

Nor do targeted parents and their children care about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.  They need a solution.   They need a solution for their children and their families now – today

The world is going to be changing, Dr. Bernet.  I am leading us back onto the path of established professional constructs and principles.  No more “new forms of pathology” proposals.  I am returning us to the path of professional psychology.

The Solution:  A Return to Professional Practice

You and the other Gardnerian PAS “experts” have been upset that I have not paid proper homage to the “parental alienation” literature.  That is a false framing of the issue.  I have paid abundant homage to the foundational expertise in professional psychology: Bowlby, Beck, Millon, Minuchin, Kernberg, van der Kolk, Haley.

I have extensively quoted and cited these recognized and established experts in professional psychology.  I just haven’t referenced and cited you and the Gardnerian contingent of “experts.”

It’s not that I haven’t paid proper homage to expertise, it’s that I haven’t paid proper homage to all of you.  You want your narcissism fed, and you’re upset that I’m not doing that.  You want me to cite and reference the Gardnerian literature so that I validate your importance, and I don’t do that.  And that upsets you.

I am drawing on an entirely different data set to solve this attachment-related pathology.  I am not drawing on any of the data set surrounding Gardner’s proposal for a “new form of pathology unique in all of mental health.”  This is important for you to understand… I am drawing on NONE of that data set to solve this pathology.

The data set of Gardnerian PAS is not relevant to the solution using AB-PA.

Professionals cite data sets because the knowledge is relevant, not to display homage.

AB-PA is drawing on data sets from:

Attachment: Bowlby, Ainsworth, Mains, Lyons-Ruth, Bretherton, Shroufe and all of the research base on attachment.

Intersubjectivity: Stern, Tronick, Trevarthan, Stolorow, Shore, Fonagy, and all of the research base on intersubjectivity.

Personality Disorders: Beck, Millon, Kernberg, Linehan, the Dark Triad, and all of the research base on personality disorders.

Family Systems:  Minuchin, Haley, Bowen, Satir, Boszormenyi-Nagy and all of the research base on family systems.

Complex Trauma: van der Kolk, Perry, and all of the research literature on complex trauma.

I am absolutely acknowledging the professional expertise that serves as the ground for my data set.  That expertise is just not you and the other Gardnerians.

The data set of Gardnerian PAS is not relevant to the solution using AB-PA.

I’m not using you and the other Gardnerians as my data set to solve this pathology and that upsets you.  Because, according to you and your colleagues, any solution to this pathology MUST use the Gardnerian data set and must acknowledge your “expertise” in the Gardnerian data set.

When I do not use the Gardnerian data set to solve the pathology, the accusation is then leveled, “What makes Dr. Childress think he has the only solution?”

I consider that a projection.  First, it’s not my solution.  It’s Bowlby, and Beck, and Minuchin, and Millon… this isn’t Dr. Childress.

Second, I would respectfully suggest that it is you and the other Gardnerians who are insisting that the ONLY solution is through your data set – with all of you as the “experts.”  You are insisting that the ONLY solution allowable is through the Gardnerian PAS diagnostic system.

As far as I’m concerned, if you want to ADD your Gardnerian data set to the data set being used by AB-PA to solve the pathology, that’s fine with me. You can add dancing ponies with golden hair for all I care.  No worries here.

It’s just that AB-PA does not rely on any of that data set of Gardnerian PAS and dancing ponies to solve the pathology.  AB-PA can solve the pathology separately and independently from the Gardnerian PAS data set.  AB-PA can solve the pathology entirely using the data sets from Bowlby, Beck, Millon, Minuchin, Kernberg, Haley (and others).

But you can add the Gardnerian data set to AB-PA if you want.  No worries on my part.  People can add data sets from autism or fetal alcohol syndrome for all I care.  No problems with me.  Are they relevant data sets?  No.  But people can add whatever data sets they want to AB-PA and they can make their case that these data sets add something.

AB-PA uses a different data set to solve the pathology.  Stop insisting that ONLY the Gardnerian data set is allowed to solve the pathology, and that you will NOT support any other solution that does not rely on the Gardnerian PAS data set as its foundation.

From where I sit as a clinical psychologist, the data sets from attachment theory, intersubjectivity, personality disorders, family systems, and complex trauma are sufficient to solve the pathology.

If you think that there is some aspect of the pathology that is not solved by the data sets from Bowlby, Beck, Minuchin, Haley, Stern, Fonagy, Millon, van der Kolk, etc., that then requires the additional data set from Gardner, go ahead and add your data set from Gardner and make your case as to why this additional data set from Gardner is needed because the data sets from Bowlby, Beck, Minuchin, Haley, Stern, Fonagy, Millon, van der Kolk, etc., are not sufficient.

That’s fine with me.  But AB-PA relies on only the data sets from attachment, intersubjectivity, personality disorders, family systems, and complex trauma.

Dr. Bernet, I’m simply not using your preferred data set as the foundation for the solution.  Get over it.  Open your mind.  There are alternative data sets besides the Gardnerian data set that can – and will – solve the pathology, and that don’t need the Gardnerian data set to do so.

To distort the data sets from Bowlby, Beck, Minuchin, Millon, Haley, Bowen, Linehan, Kernberg, van der Kolk and all the surrounding research into just another variation of your Gardnerian data set, as you tried to do in your Old Wine essay, is absurd – and grandiose.

The data set of Bowlby, Millon, Beck, Minuchin, Haley et al., is not simply Gardnerian PAS using different words. To assert that these two diagnostic models are the same just using “different words” is absurd on its face.

Besides the data sets used to define the pathology, the two diagnostic models are worlds apart on simply a structural level.  Gardnerian PAS proposes eight unique symptom identifiers that have no association to any other pathology in all of mental health, and uses a dimensional (mild-moderate-severe) diagnostic framework, while AB-PA uses three diagnostic indicators drawn from standard forms of mental health symptom features that link into a vast amount of research and scientific literature, and AB-PA proposes a categorical diagnostic framework (present-absent).

In your Old Wine critique, Dr. Bernet, you’re essentially saying that the entire data set for AB-PA, attachment theory, the personality disorder literature, intersubjectivity, family systems therapy, complex trauma research – all of it – is merely a variation of Garnerian PAS using different words.

That’s a little grandiose there, Dr. Bernet.  I will 100% grant you that AB-PA is not Dr. Childress.  But it is not Gardner.  It is Bowlby, Beck, Minuchin, Haley, Millon… it is a different data set.  To assert that the data sets of Bowlby, Beck, Minuchin, Haley, Millon are just Garnderian PAS using “different words” is simply bizarre and grandiose, and suggests a failure of logical reasoning systems – “Everything is the same.  Everything is Gardnerian PAS.” (The Group Mind; the inhibition of reasoning and critical thinking skills involved in recognizing difference – not perceptually registering difference is necessary to form the group-mind state).

Have other Gardnerian PAS “experts” sometimes used these data sets from standard and established professional psychology?  Yes, in some cases these other data sets have been acknowledged.  I’ve read the PAS literature.  But they have always twisted the data set from the outside into conforming to the Gardnerian PAS model.  Always, the foundational data set that is being used to organize the data is Gardnerian PAS; not attachment theory, not personality pathology, not family systems therapy.  All of these other data sets are secondary to the Gardnerian PAS model in organizing the symptom information.

AB-PA changes that.  AB-PA uses NONE of the Gardnerian PAS model or data set.  AB-PA relies ONLY on the data sets from Bowlby, and Millon, and Beck, and Minuchin, and Haley, and Kernberg, and Linehan, and Bowen – all the established experts in professional psychology.

I recognize that the Gardnerians have adopted a strategy of closing ranks and scrupulously avoiding discussing AB-PA in any public way in order to avoid “legitimizing” AB-PA.  I know the Gardnerians want to ignore AB-PA so that it never sees the light of day and never provides any threat to their preferred diagnostic approach of the Gardnerian PAS model.

What you should be aware about when forming conspiracies is that emails may find their way to unanticipated people, and the more people the conspiracy grows to include, the more likely it becomes that information may leak.  I am aware of the strategy of the Gardnerians to disable the solution to the pathology provided by AB-PA.  It is abundantly evident on its face.

Since you cannot address AB-PA on the merits of the respective diagnostic models, AB-PA is a vastly superior description of pathology, the strategy for disabling the solution offered by AB-PA is to try to bury AB-PA, so it never sees the light of day.

That’s not going to be an effective strategy.  Truth will out. You might as well try to hold back the ocean.

Also, you may want to self-reflect on the strategy of trying to stop the solution to “parental alienation” offered by AB-PA – since this puts you on the same side as the pathogen.  It too wants to stop the solution offered by AB-PA.  So currently, the two forces seeking to stop AB-PA are the Gardnerian PAS “experts” and the pathogen.  I would recommend that it should give you considerable pause whenever you find yourself on the same side as the pathology in trying to prevent a solution to the pathology.

Will history look back on this period and remark how admirably you put the advancement of science and the best interests of the parents and children ahead of your own personal ego-investment in a particular diagnostic approach?  Or will the hindsight of history see you and the Gardnerian PAS “experts” as attempting to put your own personal ego-gratification of being “experts” ahead of a professional-level discussion of ideas and ending the suffering of families?

There is a wonderful scene at the end of the movie, the Bridge on the River Kwai, in which the Alec Guinness character – a British army colonel who is a Japanese prisoner of war – has built a magnificent bridge with his British troops for his Japanese captors, maintaining an esprit de corps among his British troops.

The bridge needs to be destroyed as part of the larger war effort to defeat the Japanese, and the William Holden character, an American soldier, leads a group of Allied commandoes back to the prisoner of war camp to blow up the Japanese bridge built by Alec Guinness and his troops.

In the final scenes, as Alec Guinness sees the signs that there is a plan underway to blow up the bridge, he tries to stop it.  He alerts the Japanese to the plan to blow up the bridge, and he starts disabling the dynamite placed on the bridge.  He has become so enamored of his creation, the bridge built by his troops under his leadership, that he has lost sight of the larger context of the war.

Finally, as the William Holden character dies at his feet, Alec Guinness realizes the larger context of the war and says, “What have I done.” (Bridge on the River Kwai: Final Scene)

Wonderful movie.  Well worth watching.  Seven academy awards, including best picture.

I’m William Holden, Dr. Bernet.  My role is to blow up the Gardnerian “bridge on the river Kwai” because we need to return to alternate data sets in order to solve the pathology.

You and the other Gardnerian PAS “experts” are trying to keep me from blowing up the Gardnerian “bridge on the river Kwai” that you have all constructed.  You’ve all become so enamored of the “bridge” you’ve constructed and your esprit de corps as “experts,” that you’ve lost sight of the larger goal – a solution.

But in order to defeat the pathogen, we must blow up the bridge, we must switch from the Gardnerian diagnostic model to an AB-PA diagnostic model.  We accomplish that by switching data sets for how we define and diagnose the pathology.

When the hindsight of history comes to view this period, I suspect that the Gardnerian strategy of not “legitimizing” AB-PA by withholding any professional acknowledgement of its existence is not likely to be viewed favorably in the cold light of historical reflection.  Nor will that strategy work.  It has to do with how meme-structures propagate (Dawkins: The Selfish Gene).

Trying to suppress the advancement of scientific knowledge is a fool’s errand.  It can work for a while, it can delay things.   But truth will out.

The Catholic Church tried to suppress the knowledge of Galileo through threat of “excommunication” because he broke with church dogma.  I am familiar with that strategy for trying to suppress knowledge because it disagrees with dogma.

Didn’t work.  Won’t work.

The world is changing, Dr. Bernet.  That’s just the reality.   And I would suggest that seeking to suppress knowledge by not acknowledging its existence and through a strategy of “excommunication” rather than challenging the knowledge with reasoned argument will not be viewed favorably in the cold light of historical reflection.

The diagnostic paradigm for the attachment-related pathology commonly called “parental alienation” is changing.

I’m asking for you to join me in creating this change.

You have been a stalwart and steady warrior for targeted parents through all of these years.  I saw how you tried to influence the formation of the DSM diagnostic system.  Like Alec Guinnness, who fought the psychological oppression of his Japanese captors and maintained the British esprit de corp of his troops, you have fought a heroic struggle against the pathology for many years.  Admirable.  Magnificent.

But ultimately, the Gardnerian PAS model has fatal flaws embedded within it.  You didn’t have the proper tool to solve the pathology.  I can tell you exactly what those inherent and terminal problems with the Gardnerian PAS model are – but not now.

The construct of meme-structures will help you understand a lot of things.

Dawkins: The Selfish Gene

Gardnerian PAS is a failed diagnostic paradigm.

The only issue that is relevant at a professional-level is the solution.  It is not relevant how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

AB-PA provides a solution.

Gardnerian PAS does not.

The world is changing.

Stop fighting against AB-PA and fighting against the change it brings.  I am not the source of this change, I am merely the conduit.  There are larger forces at work here.

I would like to propose that we write two collaborative articles together, Dr. Bernet.

The first one would be a reflection on history and the future.  It would pass the torch from Gardnerian PAS to AB-PA for the solution.  We’re both a couple of old guys, Dr. Beret.  This isn’t about us.  There will be a new generation coming to take on the fight against the pathology.

AB-PA is a richer diagnostic model than the Gardnerian model because AB-PA opens wide the full data sets of attachment theory, intersubjectivity, personality disorder pathology, family systems therapy, and complex trauma.

The categorical AB-PA diagnostic framework lends itself better to “operationally defining” the construct of “parental alienation” for research purposes, and those 12 Associated Clinical Signs are jewels – both clinically and from a research perspective.

It will be impossible to prevent AB-PA from fully entering professional discussion and professional practice.  Help me to define the legacy of our fight against the pathogen to the next generation.

I propose that in the first half of a joint collaborative article, you describe the first-fight against the pathogen.  Tell us about Gardner’s courage, the malevolence of the pathology, all the research and the battle surrounding Gardnerian PAS.  Bring out whatever data sets you want and revel in it.

And then end your segment of the article by passing the torch for the solution to AB-PA.

Then let me take the second half of the article to explain that, as courageous and magnificent as Gardner may have been, he skipped the step of diagnosis; the application of standard and established constructs and principles to a set of symptoms.  Instead, he too quickly abandoned the rigors of professional practice by proposing a “new form of pathology” which led professional psychology away from the standards of professional practice regarding diagnosis; the application of standard and established constructs and principles to a set of symptoms (no “unique new forms of pathology” diagnostic proposals).

I’ll describe how AB-PA returns to the foundations of the pathology and corrects this diagnostic step skipped by Gardner.  AB-PA defines the pathology (the set of symptoms) from entirely within standard and established constructs and principles.  Here’s what AB-PA says; pathological mourning, the trans-generational transmission of attachment trauma, the addition of splitting pathology to a cross-generational coalition, we need to return to standard and established constructs and principles in our professional diagnosis of pathology, and AB-PA does this.

You and I, in a joint article, bring together both the history and the future of our efforts to solve the pathology of “parental alienation.”

Then, let’s write a second article together.  A much more interesting article.  Let’s set the stage for completing your work with the DSM diagnostic system.  Let’s set the stage for the next generation in their efforts to include the pathology of “parental alienation” into the DSM diagnostic system.

Together, you and I in a joint article, let’s make the argument to the DSM that this pathology is an attachment-trauma pathology that belongs in the Trauma and Stressor-Related section of the DSM.  In doing that, we then have a specific committee we’re targeting for support – we are forming allies within the DSM process – a new Trauma and Stressors disorder – attachment trauma – the trans-generational transmission of attachment trauma.

We will argue that the diagnosis should be nearly identical to the prior DSM-IV TR diagnosis of a Shared Psychotic Disorder.  Nearly the same identical everything.  Look how closely that DSM-IV diagnosis mirrors the pathology of “parental alienation”:

DSM IV TR Shared Psychotic Disorder

Diagnostic indicator 3 of AB-PA is the encapsulated persecutory delusion.  What do you want to bet that we will find massive amounts of overlap in the psychological process that the Shared Psychotic Disorder people were looking at for the original DSM-IV disorder, and the pathology we’re looking at with AB-PA.

The DSM system has already acknowledged in the DSM-IV that the pathology of a shared delusion exists.  They acknowledge it in DSM-5 but diagnostically bury it.  All we’ll be asking for is that they re-establish the shared delusion – just like in the DSM-IV – as a primary diagnosis in the Trauma and Stressor-Related section, and we link our reasoning to the shared delusion created by the trans-generational transmission of attachment trauma.

We can bring all of the data sets from attachment theory, intersubjectivity, personality disorder pathology, and complex trauma to our argument.

You and I are old guys, Dr. Bernet.  This DSM battle is for the next generation of mental health warriors.  But you and I could lay out the vision for how that battle can be fought and won – the trans-generational transmission of attachment trauma creating a shared delusional disorder (Trauma and Stressor-Related section of the DSM – right alongside the other attachment-related disorders).

The world is changing, Dr. Bernet.  There are larger forces at work in this.  This isn’t Dr. Childress.  I’m merely the conduit for catalyzing the change.  The only credit to me is that I’m smart enough to recognize my role in what the universe wants to do.  Join with me in creating this changed world.  Trying to stop the change is like trying to hold back the ocean by putting up your hands to stop the waves from crashing on the shore.

Join me in defining the legacy and the future of our fight with the pathogen.  Trust me, Gardner doesn’t care about his model, he just wants us to defeat the malignancy of this pathogen.  Do you know what I think Gardner would say to me?  “Go for it, Dr. C.”  I am fully convinced that Gardner is supportive of my efforts with AB-PA.  He doesn’t care about “his” model, he just wants us to defeat the pathogen and solve the pathology.  He wants us to finish what he began, he wants us to defeat the pathogen.

But in the interesting way that the universe works, we will fulfill Gardner’s legacy without Gardner’s model.  Curious, isn’t it.  But it’s not surprising to me, because that’s the way things work sometimes.

We can fulfill his wishes using AB-PA.  When we bring the full power of scientifically established data sets to the solution, we can solve the pathology for all children and all families everywhere.

Join us, Dr. Bernet.  Join me.  Let’s write two collaborative articles.  One to reflect on history and the future, and one to define for future generations the path forward to achieve formal inclusion of the pathology into the DSM diagnostic system.

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

 

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