I tend to think visually and in imagery.  I see our current situation as a battle, a siege of the citadel that is the American Psychological Association.

We have drawn up our forces on the plains before the citadel.  We are laying siege to the citadel of the APA.  We are reclaiming the APA as an ally of targeted parents and children in solving the pathology of “parental alienation” (defined through a Bowlby-Minuchin-Beck model; AB-PA).

The key element of a siege to to draw up one’s troops to surround the fortress, and then just remain there.  Don’t go anywhere.  That’s all there is to it.   It takes time, but eventually the citadel will fall.

The Petition to the APA is a siege engine, a trebuchet if you will.  The united voice of parents is the trebuchet.  Article 3 of the Petition to the APA contains some mighty big boulders, violations of the APA ethics code.  Standard 2.01a Boundaries of Competence is a mighty big boulder.  Standard 9.01a Competent Assessment is a mighty big boulder.  Standard 3.04 Harm to the Client is an absolutely huge big boulder.

We are going to use the trebuchet of your voice, your signatures to the Petition to the APA, to batter the walls of the citadel with the  boulders of Standard 2.01a, Standard 9.01a, and Standard 3.04.

By relying solely on established professional constructs and principles, a Bowlby-Minuchin-Beck model defining attachment-based parental “parental alienation” (AB-PA) activates Standards 2.01a, 9.01a, and 3.04 of the APA ethics code.  We are now going to leverage the Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct of the American Psychological Association to achieve widespread professional knowledge and competence in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of attachment-related family pathology surrounding divorce.

We are going to rid the field of professional ignorance and incompetence, and the remaining mental health professionals will know what they’re doing, they will be knowledgeable and competent, and they will be able to resolve the family pathology of attachment-based “parental alienation.”

We are laying siege to the APA.  The American Psychological Association is your rightful ally in achieving a solution to your family”s deep tragedy and struggles.  Professional psychology can absolutely solve this pathology, once we return to the standard and established constructs and principles of professional psychology.

Bowlby, Minuchin, Beck, Millon, van der Kolk…

Clinical Psychology: Assessment leads to diagnosis, and diagnosis guides treatment.

We are drawing up our forces at the walls of the citadel (17,570 signatures to the Petition and rising).  We will identify our allies and we bring our allies to the battlefield before the walls of the APA. 

And we won’t leave.  The delivery of the Petition to the APA is just the arrival of the trebuchet on the battlefield.  We will continue to batter the walls of the APA with Standards of the APA ethics code…

Until they listen, and until they act. 

And we will impress upon them that there is urgency.  Every day that passes without a solution is one day too long.  There is immense suffering and lost childhoods.  There is urgency.

With a siege, we engage the citadel and we just don’t leave.  The citadel of the APA will fall to you, and the APA will become your ally in solving the pathology.  You are more powerful than you know.

The Walls

A year ago, an assault began on the walls of the APA.  Many have been participating in the assault on the walls of the APA, but two notables deserve mention, Howie Dennison and Jason Hofer. 

It was primarily through Jason’s efforts, with assistance, that the first petition to the APA was written a year ago.  I wasn’t involved in creating or writing this petition and I was impressed by both the concept and its execution.  The scholarship in this first petition by Jason and colleagues was excellent and extensive.

Howie has been a relentless advocate in developing his relationships with the people in power at the APA.  The APA is an organization, it doesn’t attend to a person.  A person is shunted into the bureaucracy.  A person isn’t heard.  So it’s all the more remarkable that Howie has made himself heard.  He has been pleasantly relentless in his assault on the walls of the APA.

We actually own the walls of the APA thanks to Howie and Jason.  We still don’t have the APA as your ally, the citadel has yet to fall, but we have the walls.  It is entirely possible and it is my complete expectation that the APA will become your ally in relatively short order.

On June 6-9 we are bringing up the siege engines.  There is a chance, and it is my hope, that we will be welcomed by the APA as allies in solving the pathology of attachment-based “parental alienation.”

Breaking the Siege

In most sieges, the besieged citadel draws into its fortifications and tries to outlast the siege.  In some cases, however, the beleaguered citadel may try to break the siege by attacking, either from the citadel itself or through a relieving force from the outside.

There is a possibility this may occur in our siege of the APA. 

If this attack occurs, it will likely be directed toward me.  An attack from within the citadel will be the APA’s concern regarding my allegations of ethical violations toward professional colleagues.  An attack by a relieving force from the outside will be to say that this is a “new theory” of Dr. Childress that needs to be “investigated.”

For the attack from the citadel, the allegations of ethical misconduct by psychologists contained in the Petition to the APA are consistent with my professional obligations under Standards 1.04 and 1.05 to take appropriate action “when psychologists believe that there may have been an ethical violation by another psychologist” (Standard 1.04).

APA Standard 1.05: Reporting Ethical Violations
If an apparent ethical violation has substantially harmed or is likely to substantially harm a person or organization and is not appropriate for informal resolution under Standard 1.04, Informal Resolution of Ethical Violations, or is not resolved properly in that fashion, psychologists take further action appropriate to the situation. Such action might include referral to state or national committees on professional ethics, to state licensing boards, or to the appropriate institutional authorities.

It is my professional judgement as a clinical psychologist, that the appropriate institutional authority to refer these 17,579 parents regarding the rampant and unchecked professional ignorance and incompetence being displayed by professional psychologists is to the American Psychological Association, and that the “further action appropriate to the situation” is to formalize that voice from parents into a Petition.

I am fulfilling my professional obligations under Standard 1.04 and 1.05 of the APA ethics code.  I’m fine.

As for the attack from outside forces trying to relieve the siege, none of this is Dr. Childress.  This is Bowlby, and Minuchin, and Beck, and Haley, and Millon…  Are they saying that they want to investigate Bowlby?  Minuchin?  Beck?  Because none of this is Childress.

Poof.  That attack vanishes.  Because none of this is Childress.

Diagnosis is the application of standard and established constructs and principles of professional psychology (Bowlby, Minuchin, Beck) to a set of symptoms.  Diagnosis.  AB-PA is not a theory, it’s diagnosis; the application of standard and established constructs and principles to a set of symptoms.

They will be unable to break the siege.  We won’t go anywhere.  As the trebuchet of your voice begins hurtling boulders of Standards 2.01a, 9.01a, and 3.04 against the walls of the APA, we will look to increase the media’s attention to your voice, and to the continuing reluctance of the APA to help you solve the pathology.

The Walls Are Ours

However, we may not need to enact a long protracted siege of the APA, because Howie and Jason and their colleagues have already taken the walls of the APA.  The people at the APA know of us.

Their response last year to the assault on the walls was to “deflect into committee” – they said they’d develop a “working group” to look into the research.   It’s been over a year and there is no progress on a working group.  That dodge is done.  They can’t use it again this time.

What the assault on the walls by Howie, Jason, and others did was to expose and use up the APA’s “deflect to committee” defense against doing anything.  They’ve already used that dodge last year.  One year later, no change.  We are now on much stronger ground demanding concrete and immediate action (Article 4: Remedy 1).

It is possible, and it is my hope, that the APA will recognize the legitimacy of your voice and the issues, and that the APA will take active and concrete steps to help you in finding solution (Article 4: Remedies 2 & 3).  I fully expect the APA to become your ally in relatively short order.

If not, then the trebuchet will begin the assault on the walls.  We’re not going anywhere until there is change, until there is a solution for all children and all families.

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


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