Invitation to Karen Woodall

I just posted the following Comment to Karen Woodall’s Blog “Fake News and Fabrications” in which I provide an alternate label for AB-PA (the Bowlby-Minuchin-Beck model of attachment-related pathology) and invite her to a professional-level conversation about attachment-related pathology surrounding divorce using a joint blog format.

A Conversation Between Karen Woodall & Dr. Childress

Since Comments to her blog are “moderated” my invitation may not become posted, so I wanted to make this invitation public using my platforms. I think a professional-level conversation of attachment-related pathology surrounding divorce between Karen Woodall and Dr. C would be extremely helpful in moving the field forward.


Hello Karen. You’ve changed your blog design.  Very bold coloring.  And you’ve taken off the “Parental Alienation Expert” appellation.  I tend to like softer coloring, as you’ll see shortly.

I understand that you’ve taken to labeling me a “guru” because of my diagnostic description of attachment-related pathology surrounding divorce.  I want to take this opportunity to clarify that what I describe is all standard and established constructs and principles of professional psychology applied to a symptom set.  That’s called diagnosis.  AB-PA is not a theory, it’s standard diagnosis.

Perhaps you’re confused by the label attachment-based “parental alienation” (AB-PA) and think I’m proposing something “new.”  That’s not at all the case.  I’m simply using this label of AB-PA to quickly reference a constellation of standard and established constructs and principles of professional psychology.

You say other people have described all this before me.  You’re absolutely correct.  Bowlby, Minuchin, Haley, Beck, Millon, Kernberg, van der Kolk, a whole host of preeminent figures in professional psychology.

From Bowlby, it’s called “pathological mourning” and it’s linked to the “disordered mourning” of personality pathology.

From Minuchin, it’s called a “cross-generational coalition,” and it’s linked to the “emotional cutoff” described by Bowen.

From Beck, it’s the embedded “schema” patterns for interpreting relationship interactions that links to the complex trauma work of van der Kolk.

So in the effort to achieve greater clarity, I thought it might be helpful to add a second label – an equivalent label – for the attachment-related pathology I describe.  Let’s call it the Bowlby-Minuchin-Beck model of “parental alienation.” Will that help?

I supposed we could call it the Bowlby-Minuchin-Haley-Bowen-Beck-Millon-Kernberg-Linehan-van der Kolk model of “parental alienation,” but then that becomes kind of long and defeats the purpose of having a convenient label.

So why don’t we just go ahead and use the label of the Bowlby-Minuchin-Beck model of attachment-related pathology surrounding divorce.

My point is, this isn’t me saying this stuff.  This is them saying this stuff.  I’m just quoting from them.  Will that help?

One more thing, I think it would be really helpful to gain professional clarity within the field of attachment-related pathology surrounding divorce if you and I could have an open professional-to-professional dialogue about the pathology commonly called “parental alienation.”  I think this would be amazingly educational for all mental health professionals who are assessing, diagnosing and treating this pathology, to provide them with the benefit of our joint knowledge.

It seems difficult and inconvenient to have a professional-to-professional dialogue across two separate blogs, and I thought it would be really powerful to set up a joint blog where you and I could have a professional-to-professional level dialogue about the pathology.

Toward that end, I have set up a WordPress blog for you and me.  If you email me I’ll give you the password to it and then you and I can jointly blog back-and-forth on a single blog in a professional-to-professional level discussion of pathology.  Wouldn’t that be something.  Karen Woodall and Dr. C in a professional-level conversation about the pathology…

A Conversation Between Karen Woodall & Dr. Childress https://woodallchildressconversation.wordpress.com/

I’ve even given you top billing.

I know you’re concerned about all the different types and variants of parent-child conflict out there, and we can discuss all these “hybrid” cases of parental alienation, as well as the more “severe” or “pure case” described by the Bowlby-Minuchin-Beck model.

A joint blog and professional-to-professional dialogue of the pathology: Two of the top “experts” in “parental alienation” (although I don’t consider myself an “expert” in “parental alienation,” I’m just a clinical psychologist).  Whaddya say?  Just email me, I’ll send you the password, and we can get the professional-to-professional dialogue underway.

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

3 thoughts on “Invitation to Karen Woodall”

  1. I have been married twice and alienated twice. The first time was mild to mid intensity. At that time Karen Woodall and Linda Gottlieb were beacons. The second time was of a different order. At least with my second wife the birth of her first and only child was evidently a watershed moment from which her latent personality order fully emerged. For the sake of that child I endured 9 years of negotiating with someone who couldn’t comprehend that negotiating involved give and take on both sides. On every occasion that evidence could show that she was delusional or lying, that evidence triggered stonewalling or a stress-related seizure. I wish I didn’t have to claim the title “alienation expert”, but frankly I deserve it. I’ve read and listened to Karen and Linda. I love them both. But, in the case of the destruction of my beautiful daughter it is “Foundations” that matches every tiny mosaic. A beautiful and meticulous book that anchors the horror of severe (100%) alienation and how the courts nearly never have the expertise to ‘get it’ because the court investigator or psychologist is not up to the complexity of this phenomenon. Even if they do ‘get it’ the only reason they do is that enough damage has been done to make it obvious to even non experts. Karen and Linda have an expertise in dealing with the so-called ‘Family Courts’. Parents like me, children like mine, we need you. Dr Childress has expertise as a clinical psychologist. Parents like me, children like mine, we need you. What made me an expert on alienation made me helpless without all of you getting together. Please!

  2. The Pathogen does not want cooperation, that is clear to me. The pathogen protects itself from outside forces.

    “The pathogen lies. It deals in falsehoods. It sows discord and division…” [my favorite guru 🙂 ]

    I see this in my own situation – the pathogen has infected my children to hate me, and I feel its pressure to return the hate. Of course I should – my children have created my greatest pain and suffering.

    But it is not them. It is the pathogen.

    As Richard said above: “Please”.

  3. I am in no position to counsel or support you. I am a ‘target’ father who has been mangled by the courts, ‘expert’ psychologists, child welfare authorities, lawyers, etc. over the last 4 years. More importantly, my children are suffering and the social workers and therapists only make it worse.
    I offer a quote from Winston Churchill: “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life”.
    And I paraphrase very loosely from an interview with Dr. Hervey Cleckly (The Mask of Sanity) done in the mid 70’s: Interviewer – ‘Dr Cleckly, you published the book in 1940, and recently the 5th edition. This is basically your life’s work. How do you feel about that?’ Response – ‘I feel like I’ve been talking, and nobody’s listening’.
    I have become familiar with that feeling over the last few years. I appreciate what you are doing. Keep going. It will take years, but: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win” – Mohandas Gandhi.
    And from the Talmud (Ethics of the Fathers): ‘It is not for you to complete the task, but that does not absolve you of responsibility for working on it’.

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