The Shame of the APA: Cruelty and Contempt Shown to Grieving Parents

Over 20,000 parents are asking the American Psychological Association to affirm its support for Standard 2.01a of its ethics code requiring professional competence… and they are met with silence… nothing… no dignity, no respect for their suffering… just silence, contempt, and disrespect.

You don’t matter.  You don’t even merit a response.  Cruelty, contempt, and disrespect.

No answer.  Just silence.

Petition to the APA – 2018 (online)

Petition to the APA – 2018 (booklet)

The ethics code of the American Psychological Association is hollow and without meaning.  It means nothing if the APA does not support it… and the APA will not support it’s own ethics code.  The APA cares that it looks good with it’s nice words, but will not back those hollow words when needed.  The APA ethics code is vacuous, empty words without meaning.

Over 20,000 parents reaching out to the American Psychological Association, asking the APA for a simple press release affirming the APA’s support for Standard 2.01a of the APA ethics code requiring professional knowledge and competence…

Silence.  Nothing.  The APA does not even show these 20,000 parents the dignity and respect of a reply.  Just contempt.  Contempt and disrespect for 20,000 parents seeking professional knowledge and competence with their children and families.  Shame to the APA for its contempt and cruelty.  Shame to the APA for its complicity in tolerating ignorance and professional incompetence.  Silence.  Nothing.

APA: Complicity with Child Abuse

If a psychologist is treating families, that psychologist should know how family systems function – Minuchin, Bowen, Haley. 

Question to the APA: Is it reasonable for parents to expect that the psychologists who are working with their families know about family systems constructs; triangles, cross-generational coalitions, and emotional cutoffs – Salvador Minuchin, Jay Haley, Murray Bowen?

Silence.  No response from the APA.  Contempt and disrespect.  These parents don’t even merit a response; “You don’t matter.  Your pain and suffering doesn’t even merit a response.”

So apparently psychologists working with your families don’t need to know anything about families.  The APA is silent.  The APA ethics code is hollow.  Empty words without meaning.  You are alone, the APA has abandoned you and your children.  The APA will not support you in your efforts to acquire professional knowledge and competence in the psychologists treating your families.

If a psychologist is treating attachment-related pathology, that psychologist should know about the attachment system; Bowlby, Ainsworth, Mains and the research literature. 

Question to the APA: Is it reasonable for parents to expect that psychologists who are working with their children and families to resolve parent-child attachment pathology know about the attachment system, how the attachment system functions and how it dysfunctions?

Apparently that is not necessary.  The APA is silent.  So apparently it is not necessary for psychologists to know about the attachment system when assessing, diagnosing, and treating attachment-related pathology in the family; Bowlby, Ainsworth, the attachment research literature… not necessary to know when treating attachment-related pathology.

The APA ethics code is hollow and without meaning, Standard 2.01a is hollow and without meaning, because the American Psychological Association is silent when 20,000 parents ask for support from the APA for Standard 2.01a. 

Silence is complicity, and in this case silence is also cruelty.  Twenty thousand parents deserve a response.  Say something.  They deserve a response.  They are people who are suffering, they are parents who are suffering the loss of their children.  They are not invisible.  See them.  At least acknowledge them.  Respond to their Petition.  But silence is cruelty.  Silence is contempt.

Wendy Perry: wendyarcher@rocketmail.com is your contact.  Not me.  Talk to Wendy.  She speaks for these parents.  She is your contact.

Silence from the APA is abandoning these parents to their emotional and psychological abuse.  Abuse from the sadistic cruelty of their narcissistic-borderline ex-spouse, corrupting and taking the children away from the beloved and loving parent in revenge and retaliation for the divorce, and from a failed family court system that does not diagnose pathology.  Family courts are matters of law, not of diagnosing pathology.

To the APA:  Your silence communicates your contempt and disrespect for the suffering of these parents, that these people do not even merit a response from you.  That they are of no value.  That they don’t matter.  Their immense suffering from the loss of their children means nothing to you, – silence, not even a response.  Nothing. 

That is cruel.  Contempt and cruelty.

Twenty thousand parents come to you in their pain, and you treat them with contempt and disrespect – with cruelty for their suffering.  They have lost their children.  At least say something. 

Nothing.  Silence.  Contempt, cruelty, and disrespect.

Shame is on the APA.  This is to your shame.

The ethics code of the APA is hollow and without meaning when it is not supported by the APA.  These parents are simply asking that the APA release a statement of support for Standard 2.01a of their ethics code requiring professional knowledge and competence, these parents can take it from there.  That is all they are asking… for the APA to simply voice its support for Standard 2.01a of its own ethics code.

Silence.  Nothing.  Not even a reply to say why they won’t issue a statement supporting Standard 2.01a.

To the APA:  Your silence to these parents tells them, “You are of no value.  Your suffering and the loss of your children means nothing.  You are not even worth a reply.  You are invisible.  You don’t exist.  Your suffering doesn’t matter, your suffering doesn’t exist.”

Shame to the APA.  Cruelty to trauma.  Contempt.  Disrespect to suffering.  You mean nothing, not even a response.

Complicity in the cruelty, trauma, and abuse.  Shame to the APA.

Complicity with Abuse

Silence is complicity.  The APA knows that personality disorder pathology exists.  the APA knows that the narcissistic-borderline personality will collapse in response to the rejection and perceived abandonment surrounding divorce.  The APA knows that the narcissistic-borderline pathology is high-conflict, manipulative, and exploits others.  The APA knows all of this.

And yet, when the parent-spouses of these collapsing, high-conflict, psychologically abusive narcissistic-borderline parents come to the APA for support of professional knowledge and competence… silence… nothing.  You don’t matter enough to even give a reply.  You mean nothing to us.

The APA is complicit in the psychological abuse of children by the pathology of a narcissistic-borderline parent surrounding divorce.  They know.  And their silence is complicity.

An estimated 6% of the population is diagnosable with narcissistic personality pathology; an estimated 6% of the population is diagnosable with borderline personality pathology:

  • “Prevalence of lifetime NPD was 6.2%”

Stinson, et al., (2008). Prevalence, correlates, disability, and comorbidity of DSM-IV narcissistic personality disorder. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. 1033-1045.

  • “Prevalence of lifetime BPD was 5.9%”

Grant, et al., (2008). Prevalence, correlates, disability and comorbidity of DSM-IV borderline personality disorder. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. 533—545

Narcissistic and borderline personality pathology exists.  We know this. 

The narcissistic personality is vulnerable to collapse in response to rejection, the borderline personality is vulnerable to collapse in response to abandonment.  We know this. 

Divorce represents both rejection and abandonment by the spousal attachment figure.  We know this. 

We should therefore anticipate that approximately 10-15% of all divorces should evidence collapsing parental/(spousal) narcissistic-borderline pathology.  We know this.

The narcissistic-borderline personality is high-conflict.  We know this.

The 10-15% of all divorces that contain a narcissistic-borderline parent will comprise 80-100% of the high-conflict divorces, because the narcissistic-borderline personality will definitely collapse in response to divorce and the narcissistic-borderline personality is high-conflict.  We know this.

Now… the spouses divorcing the high-conflict pathology of a narcissistic-borderline spouse are seeking professional competence in personality disorder pathology from the psychologists who are assessing, diagnosing, and treating their families and the children’s attachment pathology surrounding the divorce.  They are asking that the psychologists working with their families know about personality disorder pathology: Beck, Kernberg, Millon, and Linehan.

Question to the APA: Is it reasonable for these parents who are exposed to the narcissistic and borderline personality pathology of their ex-spouse surrounding the divorce to expect that the psychologists working with their families know about personality disorder pathology; Beck, Kernberg, Millon, and Linehan?

Apparently not.   The APA is silent.  It is not necessary for psychologists working with personality disorder pathology to know about personality disorder pathology. 

Twenty thousand parents asked the APA to affirm its support for Standard 2.01a that would require professional knowledge and competence.  Silence.

APA: Complicity with Child Abuse

Nothing.  No response.  Contempt and cruelty.

Shame to the APA.

Two full years before the current Petition to the APA, in February of 2016, these parents came to you with their first petition. 

Parent’s First Petition to the APA – 2016

Do you remember what you told them?  I do.  I was watching as these parents organized their petition seeking  your help in solving the suffering in their families.  I was listening when you answered them.  You told them that you would form a committee to “look at the research.”  Do you remember that?  I do.  I can get the emails from these parents if you’d like. 

You told them that you’d form a committee to look at the research.  They waited.  They aren’t seeing their children the entire time they’re waiting for you to form your committee.  All of 2017 they waited for you.

Nothing.  In 2018, I wrote the second Petition to the APA using my knowledge of professional psychology, and my understanding of the rampant and unchecked professional ignorance and incompetence these families are facing from professional psychology.  It’s now nearly three years later, it’s approaching three years since these parents first approached you… where is this committee you promised them in 2017?  Nothing.  Disrespect.  Contempt.

Empty words. 

Cruelty.  Contempt.  Disrespect.

In 2016 these parents came to you with their first petition seeking your help.  All they want is professional knowledge and competence from the psychologists treating their families – basic knowledge; Bowlby, Minuchin, Beck, Linehan, Bowen.  That’s all they want, just basic knowledge and competence from the psychologists treating their families.

These parents are suffering the loss of their children.  Some haven’t seen their children in years… two years, five years, ten years, they haven’t even seen their own beloved children.  They are normal people, loving parents, they did nothing – their only crime was marrying a narcissistic-borderline personality spouse who used the child viciously and cruelly as a weapon of revenge in the divorce.  No one’s protecting their beloved child from the psychological cruelty of the narcissistic-borderline personality parent.

These parents are grieving the loss of their children.  They are traumatized.   They have lost their beloved children.  Their grief is immeasurable.

The response of the APA to their suffering? 

Silence. 

Contempt.  Cruelty. 

APA: “Your suffering is not our concern.  We abandon you.  You are invisible.  You don’t matter.”

Shame to the APA.  Parents seeking knowledge and competence from their treatment providers.  Just asking for a statement from the APA supporting Standard 2.01a of the APA ethics code… and getting no response.  Silence.  Contempt.  Cruelty.

No reply.  These parents do not even deserve a reply.  Nothing.  They don’t matter. Their suffering doesn’t matter. 

Shame to the APA.  Cruelty.  Disrespect.  Contempt shown to suffering and grief.

Hollow Ethics

The APA ethics code is hollow.  Why should any psychologist affirm the APA’s ethics code when the APA won’t even affirm the APA’s ethics code?

Parents are left with no choice.  They have been abandoned by professional psychology and by the APA.  Their only choice for acquiring professional knowledge and competence is to file individual licensing board complaints on a case-by-case basis against violating psychologists who do not possess the required knowledge and competence, thereby compelling the acquisition of knowledge and competence: Bowlby, Minuchin, Beck, Millon, Kernberg, Bowen, Ainsworth, Haley…

Will licensing boards enforce Standard 2.01a requiring professional knowledge and competence?  No.  Why should they?  The APA doesn’t even affirm its support for Standard 2.01a requiring professional competence.  The APA ethics code is hollow and without meaning.  So, no, the licensing boards are not likely to enforce standards for professional competence without the APA indicating its support for Standard 2.01a.  As long as the APA does not support Standard 2.01a, the licensing boards will not support enforcement of Standard 2.01a.

To Psychologists: The APA ethics code is hollow and without meaning.  No need to abide by it.  A few select features are relevant, no sex with clients, maintain confidentiality, no dual relationships.  But the rest of it is pretty much empty words and without real meaning, especially that part about knowing what your doing, Standard 2.01a, no need to abide by that.

Principle E: Respect and Dignity

APA Ethics Code: “Principle E: Respect for People’s Rights and Dignity: Psychologists respect the dignity and worth of all people.”

To the APA:

Twenty thousand parents come to you seeking help in acquiring professional knowledge and professional competence in the treatment of their families, and your response?   Silence.  Nothing.  Their suffering doesn’t even merit a response. 

Is that treating these parents with respect, dignity, and worth?  No, it’s not.  These parents at least deserve a response from the APA, and they deserve the support of the APA in seeking professional knowledge and competence.

Are you honestly going to take the position that psychologists working with families don’t need to know Minuchin, Bowen, and Haley (family systems)? 

Are you honestly going to take the position that psychologists working with attachment pathology don’t need to know Bowlby, Ainsworth, and the research literature on attachment (attachment theory)? 

Are you honestly going to take the position that psychologists working with personality disorder pathology in the family don’t need to know Beck, Millon, Kernberg, and Linehan?

If so, then Standard 2.01a is hollow and without meaning.

You will eventually issue a statement in support of your own ethics code Standard 2.01a, because these parents are asking you to do so.  It will help them attain professional knowledge and competence with their children and families.

Or you can abandon these parents and children.  Silence.  Complicity in their suffering and abuse.

These parents are suffering daily.  They need the knowledge of professional competence in family systems, personality disorder pathology, and the attachment system, now… today.  Each day is one more lost day without their child, and a child deprived of a mother or father by the cruelty of a narcissistic-borderline parent.

They came to you in 2016.  Nothing.  Two years later, they came to you again in 2018.  Nothing.  Cruelty, contempt, and disrespect for their suffering.  The APA knows the truth of their suffering, and the APA is silent.  Not even showing these parents the dignity of a response.

I am not your contact.  Don’t speak to me.  Speak to the parents who are suffering.  Speak to the parents that need your help.

Wendy Perry: wendyarcher@rocketmail.com
parent-child advocate

Silence is cruelty.  Speak.  Say something.  These parents deserve a response.

Silence is shame.  Silence cruelty and contempt for suffering.  Silence is complicity with abuse.

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

4 thoughts on “The Shame of the APA: Cruelty and Contempt Shown to Grieving Parents”

  1. I tried to sign this petition but can’t without a FB account which I am unwilling to create to sign this petition. Sorry, (I have lost both my kids due to PAS and I will not be getting them back as it has gone on for too many years and their hatred is too deep. Both have had their lives permanently destroyed and I am helpless)

    >

  2. I just do not get it. All the hard work and time you and Wendy and others have spent on this issue with APA and they collude with the abuser. How can they get by with it? This is just not right and I thought they would at least communicate about child psychological abuse and help us.

  3. Dr. Childress, with all due respect, welcome to the world of the alienated parent. Your research, your findings, your arguments would surely bring awareness. No – just like our thousands of individual efforts brought forth nothing.

    The Pathogen lives, the pathogen thrives. You have now been personally graced with the agony that befalls so many of those who listen, love and pray with you.

    Damn.

  4. “Silence is complicity…”

    Leads me to a quote that has stuck with me through over a decade of fighting this:

    “When truth is replaced by silence,the silence is a lie.”

    ― Yevgeny Yevtushenko

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