Exposing the Pathogen

It’s time for Gardnerian PAS to die.

The solution to “parental alienation” is through a return to standard and established constructs and principles of professional psychology: AB-PA.

Gardnerian PAS offers no solution whatsoever.

For three years – three years – I have repeatedly asked the self-proclaimed Gardnerian PAS “experts” to provide their path to a solution using the Gardnerian PAS model, most recently in August-September of this year.  Their response?… crickets.  Nothing.

The Gardnerian PAS diagnostic model offers no solution whatsoever.  They know it, and I know it.  Now everyone knows it.

So then why do the Gardernian PAS “experts” hold onto a failed diagnostic model of the pathology that offers NO solution whatsoever?

Because they don’t want a solution.

They are enabling allies of the pathogen whose role is to sow discord and division, thereby disabling the mental health response to the pathology.

Past History:  In sowing discord and division with establishment psychology for the past 30 years, the Gardnerian PAS “experts” have allowed the pathology of “parental alienation” to continue unsolved and unabated – for 30 years – and they have created a culture of ignorance and incompetence in professional psychology surrounding high-conflict divorce that invites the profound professional ignorance and incompetence we currently witness.

Current Behavior:  Now that AB-PA is leading us into a solution, the Gardnerian PAS “experts” are trying to hide AB-PA in confusion and obscurity so that professional psychology does not learn that AB-PA even exists to solve the pathology.  They seek to sow confusion by actively co-opting constructs from AB-PA without acknowledgement that these constructs emerge from AB-PA.  This is not about who gets “credit” for what (with AB-PA credit belongs to Bowlby, Minuchin, Beck,…) – it’s about sowing confusion by fusing the constructs of AB-PA onto PAS in order to hide the existence of AB-PA – as if AB-PA is nothing more than Gardnerian PAS.  It is a conscious and premeditated strategy to disable the solution available from AB-PA.

By not joining us in solving “parental alienation” through a return to standard and established constructs and principles of professional psychology (AB-PA), they are now sowing discord and division within the mental health allies of targeted parents, creating two “camps” – the Gardnerian PAS “expert” camp and the Childress AB-PA “camp.”

The Gardernian PAS “experts” sow discord and division – that’s what they do.  First with establishment psychology, and now with AB-PA that seeks to reunite us with establishment psychology.  We can absolutely solve this attachment-related family pathology surrounding divorce ONCE we return to standard and established constructs and principles of professional psychology.  The Gardnerian PAS “experts” are fighting against a return to standard and established constructs and principles – they are fighting against the solution.

One approach to creating this discord and division is by falsely characterizing me as being some sort of “guru” – they use this term – rather than accurately characterizing my efforts as a call to return to the path of established professional constructs and principles – Bowlby, Millon, Minuchin, Beck…

The pathogen deals in falsehood.

In falsely characterizing my work with AB-PA by a personal attack on me as an alleged “guru,” they seek to discredit me and, by association, the truth of AB-PA (the established truth of standard and established constructs and principles of professional psychology) by alleging that I have narcissistic designs.  They don’t attack the substance of AB-PA – because they can’t.  The substance of AB-PA is true.  So they attack me personally in an effort to discredit the truth of what I describe in AB-PA.

This is a classic attack strategy of the pathogen.

The pathogen launched a personal attack on Gardner by claiming he was a “pedophile.”  If Gardner was labeled a “pedophile” then the content of what he said would be discredited.  The personal attack on me by the Gardnerian PAS “experts” that I am some sort of “guru” (Karen Woodall’s “false prophet” characterization) is exactly the same approach, to attack AB-PA by leveling their attack against me personally using the false label of “guru.”  Same exact process.  I know this pathogen.  I see the pathogen clearly.

The truth is that Gardnerian PAS provides NO solution whatsoever.  They know it.  I know it.  Everyone knows it.  All they are doing is sowing discord and division in not joining with us in solving “parental alienation” through a return to the established constructs and principles of professional psychology.

There is absolutely NO rational argument against a return to standard and established constructs and principles of professional psychology, but the Gardnerian PAS “experts” are tying themselves in knots of illogic and irrationality trying – desperately trying – to find a reason NOT to accept AB-PA.

Why?  Because they don’t want to solve this pathology.

The pathogen deals in falsehoods.  For the narcissistic personality, “Truth and reality are whatever I assert them to be.”

If they want to confabulate Gardnerian PAS with AB-PA, they simply assert that they are the same thing just using “different words,” ignoring the fact that words have meaning, so using “different words” results in different meanings.  Saying, “I like pie” is not the same as saying, “the sky is blue” just using “different words.”  Different words = different meaning.  Now Karen Woodall appears to be claiming that AB-PA is nothing new because she thought of it all years ago.  Whatever, Karen.

The Gardnerian PAS “experts” have alleged that it’s Dr. Childress who is being divergent in not “cooperating” with them by not accepting Gardnerian PAS.

The truth:  If I accept Gardnerian PAS then I accept no solution for targeted parents and their children, because Gardnerian PAS provides no solution.  They know it provides no solution.  I know it provides no solution.  They want me to accept no solution because then everything stays exactly as it is.

Look, if they simply tell us the path to a solution using the Gardnerian PAS diagnostic model, I’d be happy to join with them.  Woo hoo.  Yay.  But they don’t offer a solution because they can’t offer a solution.  Gardnerian PAS provides NO solution whatsoever.  They know it.  I know it.  We all know it.

They are even free to add whatever they want to the standard and established constructs and principles of professional psychology described in AB-PA.  They can add all the unicorns, and mermaids, and beautiful dancing pixies they want.  Fine by me.  But we MUST establish a baseline of professional competence – a ground foundation of professional knowledge and professional competence in the established constructs and principles of professional psychology (AB-PA).

I don’t care one whit for how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.  The only thing I care about is solving the pathology of “parental alienation” as quickly as is humanly possible.  If the Gardnerian PAS diagnostic model with its 8 symptom features could solve this, I’d be joining them in a heartbeat.  It can’t.  And it never will.  30 years.  No solution.  Scoreboard.

I’m not the one who isn’t cooperating.  THEY aren’t cooperating.

I’m not the one insisting that AB-PA is the only solution, they are the ones who are rigidly INSISTING that only Gardnerian PAS is allowed to solve the pathology – knowing full well that Gardnerian PAS does not provide a solution.

The pathogen lies.  It deals in falsehoods.  It sows discord and division with its lies, mistruths, and false statements.

AB-PA provides a solution.  That is the truth.  Gardnerian PAS doesn’t.  That is the truth.  If the Gardnerian PAS “experts” disagree, then tell us the solution using Gardnerian PAS… nothing but crickets.  That is the truth.

The pathogen sows discord and division with lies.  In the discord, confusion, and division it sows, the pathogen just makes stuff up.  It can make a series of false statements in 10 seconds that then require three hours to respond to.  Chaos, discord, division.  Hallmarks of the pathogen.

Britian’s Children

Now, let me expose the pathogen in the Gardnerian PAS “experts” more fully.

Recently in England, an organization called Cafcass, who supposedly represents the “voice” of the children in divorce and child custody proceedings, has made a momentous admission, that they have been missing the identification of “parental alienation” in large numbers of the 125,000 cases they assess each year.

The Guardian Article on Cafcass

From the Guardian:  “Cafcass said it had recently realised parental alienation occured in significant numbers of the 125,000 cases it dealt with each year.”

From my relatively superficial understanding of Cafcass, I would agree with their self-assessment.  They have been horrible, and their previous assessments have been directly responsible for the destruction of countless numbers of families and childhoods – lost love and lost childhoods that were irrevocably damaged by the prior ignorant and incompetent assessments and reports produced by Cafcass.

But they have apparently become enlightened by knowledge.  This is outstandingly positive news.

They acknowledge that they have missed identifying prior cases of “parental alienation” and they are adopting a “groundbreaking” protocol of potentially removing children from the “alienating” parent if this parent does not stop alienating the child from the other parent.  Sounds like an extremely positive development to me.

A protective separation of the child in order to release the child from the psychological control and psychological manipulation of the allied narcissistic/(borderline) parent is an exceedingly positive step.  Cafcass will begin taking active steps to protect the child and protect the child’s loving bond to the normal-range parent.

This is outstandingly good news.  The solution is coming.  Change is coming.

Yet Karen Woodall – a staunch Gardnerian PAS “expert” in England – is AGAINST this change.  Let that sink in for a moment.  Karen Woodall opposes separating the child from the psychological manipulation and control of the “alienating” parent.

Karen Woodall argues AGAINST separating the child from the “alienating” parent because she is concerned that separating the child from the psychological manipulation and control of the “alienating” parent might damage the child’s relationship with that parent.

Here’s what Karen Woodall says about protectively separating the child from the pathological psychological control of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent:

From Karen Woodall:  “Treating parental alienation by forcing a child (who has already been forced into losing one parent to keep the other), to lose that parent in order to regain the other, is not the way that any responsible practitioner wishes to treat parental alienation.”

The Battle for Britain’s Alienated Children, 11/22/17 (emphasis added)

Seriously, Karen?  You are more concerned with protecting the child’s pathological relationship with the “alienating” parent than you are with protecting the child’s healthy relationship with the normal-range and loving parent.  Wow.

Notice the manipulative communication she uses in characterizing efforts to protect the child as somehow “forcing” the child to lose a relationship with the manipulative and psychologically controlling “alienating parent.”

No one is “forcing the child” into losing a relationship with a parent.  That is simply not true.  The pathogen lies.

Associated Clinical Sign 1 of the Diagnostic Checklist for Pathogenic Parenting is the use of the  word “forced.”  I have described the origins of this symptom feature:

ACS 1: Use of the Word Forced

The use of the word “forced” is a manipulative communication strategy designed to dis-empower efforts to protect the child.  We are not “forcing” the child to lose a relationship with the narcissistic “alienating” parent – we are PROTECTING the child from the abusive psychological control and manipulation of the child by the “alienating” parent who seeks to destroy the child’s loving bond of shared affection with the other parent.

Every time we encounter this manipulative effort to dis-empower our efforts to protect the child by claiming we are “forcing the child,” we need to immediately correct this characterization with a more accurate and balanced description:

The child is not being “forced,” the child is being given the opportunity to have a loving bond of affection with both parents.

That is the truth.  Karen’s characterization is false.  It is manipulative.  It seeks to undermine and dis-empower efforts to protect the child from the psychological control and manipulation of the “alienating” parent.

When we begin treatment of the induced psychopathology created in the child by the pathogenic parenting of the allied and supposedly “favored” narcissistic “alienating” parent, we DON’T want to turn the child into a “psychological battleground” between the efforts of therapy to restore a normal-range and loving relationship with the targeted parent and the continuing efforts of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent to create and maintain the child’s psychopathology.

We must first protect the child from the psychopathology of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent.

Notice too, the second manipulative communication of Karen Woodall in characterizing professional efforts to protect the child as being “irresponsible” professional practice:

“…is not the way that any responsible practitioner wishes to treat parental alienation.”

I’ve got news for you Karen, I am a responsible practitioner and a protective separation of the child from the psychopathology of the narcissistic/(borderline) “alienating” parent is EXACTLY the treatment for “parental alienation.”  We must first protect the child from the manipulative psychological control of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent.  ONLY when we have first protected the child can we then ask the child to reveal their authentic love for the targeted parent.

We must first protect the child.  In doing so, we must protect the child’s healthy relationship with the normal-range targeted parent.

Once we have restored the child’s healthy and normal-range development, we can then stabilize the family’s transition into a successful separated family structure of shared bonds of affection between the child and both parents.

And Karen… anticipating your response – ANY parent who seeks to destroy the child’s relationship with the other parent following divorce is, by definition, narcissistic.  NO parent who has authentic empathy for the child would ever – ever – seek to destroy that child’s relationship with the other parent.

So, Karen, all your supposed “hybrid cases” of “parental alienation,” ALL of them involve a narcissistic allied parent to some degree.  ANY parent who seeks to destroy the child’s loving bonds of affection with the other parent following divorce is narcissistic – by definition; the absence of authentic empathy for the child involves placing the parent’s own emotional and psychological needs ahead of the child’s healthy development.

Argue with me if you want, Karen, but then look what you’re doing.  You are attempting to minimize the narcissistic pathology of the “alienating” parent in order to argue in FAVOR of keeping the child with the psychologically manipulative and controlling “alienating” parent at the expense of the child’s healthy relationship with the normal-range parent.  Do you really want to be on that side of the argument?

Karen, seriously… we protect the child from the psychological manipulation and psychological control of the narcissistic parent, we restore the child’s normal-range relationship with the targeted parent that has been damaged by the pathogenic parenting of the narcissistic “alienating” parent, and then we restore the child’s relationship with the pathological “alienating” parent with sufficient safeguards to ensure that the psychological abuse of the child does not resume once the pathology of this parent is reintroduced.

And you’re arguing AGAINST that.  Really, Karen?   You actually want to leave the child with the pathological “alienating” parent even though this parent is trying to destroy the child’s healthy bonds of affection with the targeted parent.  Wow.

I want everyone to just sort of let Karen Woodall’s position sink in.  She is arguing that “responsible” treatment is to leave the child with the alienating parent because we wouldn’t want to damage that relationship by removing the child from the manipulative psychological control of that parent.

Wow.

False Allies

Garderian PAS offers no solution whatsoever.

AB-PA provides an immediate solution through a return to standard and established constructs and principles of professional psychology.

There is no rational reason to continue to hold onto a made-up diagnostic model of the pathology that sows discord and division between the mental health allies of targeted parents and establishment psychology.  We must reunite with establishment psychology to solve this pathology.

There is no rational reason to continue to hold onto a made-up diagnostic model that provides no solution and not join with and support a return to standard and established constructs and principles of professional psychology that provides an immediate solution.

By continuing their non-cooperation with the solution available from a return to the standard and established constructs and principles of professional psychology, the Gardnerian PAS “experts” simply sow discord and confusion with no purpose, since the Gardnerian PAS diagnostic model offers NO SOLUTION whatsoever.

So then why do the Gardnerian PAS “experts” continue to hold onto a failed diagnostic model – and why do they seek to protect the child’s pathological relationship with the psychologically manipulative and controlling “alienating parent” at the expense of sacrificing the child’s healthy relationship with the loving and beloved targeted parent?

Because they don’t want a solution, they want to be “experts.”

Extrapolate Karen Woodall’s proposed solution:

Karen Woodall is the bestest expert anywhere, and everyone should come to Karen Woodall’s clinic to be assessed… everyone.  She will then conduct this super-special assessment that only she can do, and then she’ll tell us about what this unique form of pathology is in this family, determined by her for each individual case based on her magnificent expertise in this “new form of pathology.”

Can the rest of clinical psychology solve this?  Absolutely not.  We all need the magnificence of her expertise for each individual case, since the standard and established constructs of professional psychology are insufficient to solve this unique “new form of pathology” without benefit of her magnificent “expertise.”

And she calls me a “guru.”  Uh, can I call projection on that?

The standard and established constructs and principles of professional psychology can absolutely solve this pathology.  Bowlby, and Minuchin, and Haley, and Beck, and Millon,… The standard and established constructs and principles of clinical psychology are fully sufficient to solve this pathology.

The diagnostic model of AB-PA exposes both the pathogen and its allies from beneath their veil of concealment.  AB-PA represents a threat to the pathogen, and the pathogen has called its allies to attack and disable the solution offered by AB-PA by creating discord and division.  Lo and behold, it’s the Gardernian PAS “experts” who have answered the pathogen’s call.  They cannot attack the substance of AB-PA because AB-PA is a true and accurate description of the pathology.  So they instead try a variety of other strategies in an effort to nullify the solution available from AB-PA:

From Karen Woodall:  “Treating parental alienation by forcing a child (who has already been forced into losing one parent to keep the other), to lose that parent in order to regain the other, is not the way that any responsible practitioner wishes to treat parental alienation.”

Karen Woodall is arguing against a protective separation and in favor of keeping the child with the psychologically manipulative and controlling “alienating parent” because she wants to protect the (pathological) relationship with the “alienating parent” even at the expense of the child’s healthy relationship with the targeted parent.

Let that sink in.

There are those who are made uncomfortable by the conflict between Dr. Childress and Karen Woodall, believing that allies of targeted parents should work together toward solving the pathology.  I couldn’t agree more, allies should work together.  The self-proclaimed “experts” in Gardnerian PAS, however, are not our allies, and they are beginning to expose themselves.

Karen Woodall is openly advocating that we sacrifice the child’s healthy relationship with the targeted parent in order to protect the child’s pathological relationship with the “alienating” parent, and to support this assertion she makes false and manipulative characterizations of efforts to protect the child as “forcing” the child to lose a relationship with the “alienating” parent in a convoluted effort to justify her alliance with the pathology of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent.

We never abandon a child to a psychologically abusive parent.

Is “parental alienation” psychological child abuse, Karen?  If so, then why are you abandoning the child to the psychologically abusive “alienating” parent?

You are either advocating that we leave the child with a psychologically abusive parent – or you are saying that “parental alienation” is not child abuse.  Which is it Karen?

I’m sorry if this inter-professional conflict makes people uncomfortable.

I know the pathogen.  I see the pathogen.  And I know the allies of the pathogen.  I will fight for the children, always.  We must first protect the child.

I am a strong advocate that protectively separating the child from the manipulative psychological control and pathogenic parenting of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent is the proper course of action in response to “parental alienation.”

Karen Woodall advocates that we leave the child with the “alienating” parent because she would rather protect the child’s relationship with the psychologically controlling narcissistic parent than protect the child’s healthy relationship with the targeted parent.

I will fight for the children, always.  Even if it makes people uncomfortable.  We must first protect the child.

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

7 thoughts on “Exposing the Pathogen”

  1. Dr. Childress,
    1. What is the psychological or legal term for calling someone a name in writing and that becomes the “truth.” (My Alienator’s Attorney and law enforcement did this numerous times to me.)
    2. “Discord, division, and confusion.” Let’s add to that: deliberate destruction of the current and future generations. Could one call that murder? Genocide? It certainly isn’t just ignorance.

  2. If anybody reading this is startled at the seemingly combative attitude of Dr. Childress they need to take stock of the seriousness of this situation. Deepest thanks to you Dr. Childress for your thoroughness and tenacity. The seriousness of my wife’s underlying personality disorder has made 5 years near total isolation a 5-year ‘Dunkirk-with-only-half-the-boats’ for my daughter. Wave your white papers Chamberlain style all you want Karen, assurances and promises are just useful ploys for the narcissistically distorted ‘parent’. Your strengths Karen are with the milder forms of parental alienation which frankly are already serious enough. What serious cases (AB-PA) have you had any success with? None, of course. Our defenseless once lovely children have been beached and stranded in the line of fire as a human shield by their abuser. They cannot stay there. We must remove them to somewhere safe. If the abuser is open to genuine negotiation they have countless avenues to show that. When they do not, we are not better or kinder human beings by giving them perpetual second chances. We have prioritized their contentment at the expense of almost all prospects of contentment for our children ever. Try living with that! No wonder so many alienated parents end up as suicides.

  3. The discord & division tactic is typical & expected pathogenic “projection.” TYPICAL. My suggestion is keep targeted education towards the parents as well. And going after courts & attorneys with “a special population requiring a specific type of Specialist.” Train the parents what to start demanding. And if the mental health specialists or those who appoint them will not properly test using AB-PA as well, then maybe they need to go after ‘professional incompetence’ and hold them accountable in court as well. Their apathy, resistance, & outright rebellion to common sense that even a ‘non-professional’ can blatantly see (& lives) should cost them as much as the alienated parents & children are going through costing sometimes lifetimes of injury(ies), damage(s) & irreparable & debilitating harm.

  4. Small correction, Dr C:

    In your ‘false prophets’ link to her blog Karen Woodall is referring to CFCASS. The ‘guru’ reference she made to you was in comments to me, where you’re also a narcissist, lol.

    “Ted, you are entitled to your opinion and so I have posted your response here but I am not posting any more than this comment, because you are living in an entirely made up world of your own and therefore, in my opinion, you are not helpful to other parents.

    I have read what you are writing about me elsewhere and I understand that you are completely caught up in your own belief system which is encouraged by the guru you follow. What you need to take great care with, is ensuring that your guru does not turn on you as he has turned on your friend who writes a lot of unpleasant emails to me. The same guru who wrote a rather unpleasant and somewhat controlling email about me and others in the summer.

    Take care who you follow Ted, the narcissist is often wrapped up in sheep like clothing.”

    https://karenwoodall.blog/2017/11/08/the-dimly-lit-world-of-the-alienated-child/#comment-19292

  5. “And Karen… anticipating your response – ANY parent who seeks to destroy the child’s relationship with the other parent following divorce is, by definition, narcissistic. NO parent who has authentic empathy for the child would ever – ever – seek to destroy that child’s relationship with the other parent.

    So, Karen, all your supposed “hybrid cases” of “parental alienation,” ALL of them involve a narcissistic allied parent to some degree. ANY parent who seeks to destroy the child’s loving bonds of affection with the other parent following divorce is narcissistic – by definition; the absence of authentic empathy for the child involves placing the parent’s own emotional and psychological needs ahead of the child’s healthy development.”

    https://drcraigchildressblog.com/2017/11/24/exposing-the-pathogen/

    Yes, this has been my position on the Gardnerian literature – Warshak’s Divorce Poison, Woodall’s Understanding Parental Alienation – no normal parent would do this; a parent doing this is pathological, narcissistic was my diagnosis too. KW’s alignment with predator, narcissistic parents shows her own narcissism. As the 30 year old failed paradigm of Gardnerian Parental Alienation Syndrome comes to an end and is replaced by AB-PA, its hundreds of ‘experts’ around the world become anxious and attack. This doesn’t matter; truth is greater than opinion and finds its own way into the world.

    “Extrapolate Karen Woodall’s proposed solution:

    Karen Woodall is the bestest expert anywhere, and everyone should come to Karen Woodall’s clinic to be assessed… everyone. She will then conduct this super-special assessment that only she can do, and then she’ll tell us about what this unique form of pathology is in this family, determined by her for each individual case based on her magnificent expertise in this “new form of pathology.”

    Can the rest of clinical psychology solve this? Absolutely not. We all need the magnificence of her expertise for each individual case, since the standard and established constructs of professional psychology are insufficient to solve this unique “new form of pathology” without benefit of her magnificent “expertise.”

    And she calls me a “guru.” Uh, can I call projection on that?”

    Narcissists are projection machines; this is another symptom of KW’s narcissism.

  6. Richard Burton – same for me: I’ve seen my 23 year old daughter once in four years; at 21 she had all three pathogenic parenting symptoms. At that time, I knew nothing and could not understood her reaction, though I knew there was *something* wrong with her mother. A cafe friend said it was ‘parental alienation’ (which I’d never heard of, though my mother had tried to do it to me when I was 14) …so I reserved that found no useful information, the field had been sown with misinformation by the Gardnerians. In May 2015, I discovered and understood NPD from Sam Vaknin’s YouTube channel and, bingo! – that explained what was wrong with my ex and the 12 years abuse our family had experienced. Then I could go back to PA and Dr C’s work and understand our daughter. Through all this, ignorant and incompetent human and legal services took the side of my NPD ex, just as Karen is doing above. It’s a long, hard battle but truth is its own reward and power.

  7. Thanks for this blog Dr. C.
    I’ve been getting my head handed to me on a platter in the UK group! It’s getting ugly.
    P.S. We Childress people are now ‘cult members’.

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