I am increasingly serving as an expert witness in the courts. As a clinical psychologist, I am a healthcare professional. The domain of mental health care is my world, not the legal system. When I provide testimony in the legal system, I’m in their world.
As expert testimony in the legal system, I’m evidence. I know my role. I am not an advocate. The legal system has advocates, they’re called attorneys. In the legal system, I’m evidence.
In court testimony, I listen to the question, I answer the question, and then I stop and wait for the next question.
Sometimes they argue over what questions they can ask, and then I wait. When they finally resolve their discussion and ask me a question, I listen to the question, I answer the question, and then I stop and wait for the next question.
I allow the attorneys to present the evidence and impeach the evidence presented. That is their role. I listen to the question, I answer the question, and then I stop and wait for the next question.
In recent expert testimony, I was asked an interesting set of questions. I had no idea this line of questioning would develop, and I was surprised at some of the turns it took. I listened to the question, I answered the question they asked.
I have posted to my website a selection of testimony I gave that is not case-specific regarding the social distribution feature of the pathology and its allies, called “flying monkeys” by the Urban Dictionary.
Dr. Childress Flying Monkey Testimony
AFCC CE Units Domain
One line of questions is a relatively common issue raised in some cross-examinations, that CE units from a seminar I gave with Dorcy Pruter in 2017 to the national convention of the AFCC were reportedly withdrawn, the rumor is because Ms. Pruter does not have a doctoral degree.
I was never contacted by the AFCC and I have no direct information from them about any CE unit dispute or decision, I was never contacted by the AFCC or anyone. I’ve heard rumors that a semi-organized group of people began harassing the AFCC following our presentation and got the AFCC to remove the CE credits from the attendees because Ms. Pruter does not have a doctorate degree.
That would seem odd to me, that they would not provide CE units because Ms. Pruter does not have a doctorate. I do. I have a doctorate, and I presented throughout, including co-presenting with with Ms. Pruter regarding the structure and change agents used in the High Road workshop.
Anyway, that’s what I’ve heard through the general grapevine – and – attorneys keep asking me about it in cross-examination so they’re being given this information from somewhere, so it’s probably true. There are people who want to discredit my testimony and the work of Ms. Pruter.
Someone probably got the AFCC to remove CE credits for the attendees because Ms. Pruter is not licensed as a psychologist or attorney. It’s not relevant to the content of our presentation. If you want to see the Powerpoint slides from the AFCC presentation of Dr. Childress & Dorcy Pruter in 2017, they are posted on my website in the Attorney: High Road section.
AFCC Presentation: Dr. Childress & Dorcy Pruter (2017)
Personally, I think the AFCC is professionally negligent that they have not – invited – Ms. Pruter to speak at their conventions. She regularly and consistently recovers the healthy attachment bonding of these children to their formerly targeted-rejected parent with the High Road workshop, and she does so with documented success every time.
Why the AFCC would NOT want to know how she accomplishes this with the High Road workshop is unclear. But they don’t. They have no interest in solving the pathology in the family courts. When they do, they will invite Ms. Pruter to explain how she recovers a healthy and normal-range parent-child bond in a 4-day workshop.
But CE units are not my concern, they are irrelevant to anything. Whatever happened, it was simply an effort after-the-fact to damage my future testimony by innuendo, which is now the attempt in my cross-examination in some of the cases, such as this one. The opposing counsel will raise the issue of the AFCC withdrawing CE units saying that, “Isn’t it true that the AFCC has rejected “your theory” of “parental alienation, correct?” No, that is not correct. “Oh, so what is correct?”
I explain each time, that no, the AFCC has not rejected anything, and that no, I have no “new theory” – everything I say is the established scientific and professional knowledge of the discipline, Bowlby-Minuchin-Beck. I also explain that I have no direct information about what, if anything happened after-the-fact, about CE units for a talk I gave with Ms. Pruter in 2017, or why any decisions were made if they were. No one has ever notified me about anything related to our presentation.
I think next time I’m asked about this in cross-examination, I’ll once again relate that no one has has directly told me anything, perhaps I’ll politely ask opposing counsel to please inform me about what they’ve heard, because I keep getting asked about it, so apparently someone is telling these attorneys something. Can they please tell me what they’re being told so I can answer more knowledgeably the next time I’m asked?
Somebody is apparently telling them something. I wonder who’s providing these attorneys with this misleading information. It does not serve the attorney well to begin presenting misleading evidence. Because I correct it. I’m sworn to tell the truth.
I listen to the question and I answer the question.
Petition to the APA
The opposing counsel also opened another line of questions trying to impeach my testimony under the same general format, this time asking, “Isn’t it true that the APA has rejected your new theory.” I again explain that I have no “new theory,” and that no, the APA has not rejected anything.
Well isn’t it true you submitted a Petition to the APA seeking to have them change their position on Parental Alienation Syndrome? Yes, that was one of the remedies we sought. And didn’t they reject your Petition? No, they have not responded in any way to the 20,000 parents who signed and submitted this Petition to the APA.
I’ve faced the AFCC line of questions before, this is the first time I’ve had the Petition to the APA raised in cross-examination. What’s raised by opposing counsel in cross-examination has implications. Things that cannot be presented on direct examination for various question-asking legal reasons, can be address on redirect when raised in cross-examination.
Like what occurred surrounding the AFCC talk I gave with Ms. Pruter, as well as the reasons for the Petition to the APA and the remedies sought. My-oh-my, these questions began taking an interesting turn on redirect. Then re-cross, then redirect once more.
I had not anticipated these lines of questions. I follow the lead of the attorney, the courtroom is their world. I listened to the question and I answered their questions. I explained about the social distribution feature of the pathology and the problematic practices in forensic psychology. “Isn’t it true that you have accused the APA of being complicit in child abuse?” Yes, that is correct.
I’m sworn to tell the truth. I listen to the question and I answer the question
The Flying Monkey Testimony of Dr. Childress covers some very interesting areas surrounding the social distribution feature and the pathogen’s allies.
Craig Childress, Psy.D.
Clinical Psychologist, CA 18857