Be Kind – Relentless – But Kind

As we enter this fight to reclaim the citadel of establishment psychology as your ally I want to add a cautionary tone to the coming battle.

Our goal is not to hurt anyone.  Our goal is to protect your children.

I did not empower you with Standards 2.01 and 3.04 so that you could seek retaliatory revenge on those who you perceived wronged you.  I empowered you so you can protect your children.

Retaliation, revenge, and the expression of anger represent a narcissistic stance. 

Be kind.  Be relentless.  Expect professional competence.  But be kind.

When you interact with the world regarding our battle to protect and recover your children, you are a representative for all of us.  If you are angry, judgmental, arrogant, and contemptuous, this reflect badly on all of us.

Be kind.  Be relentless, but be kind as well.

Think Gandhi. 

Gandhi achieved independence for his country.  He was a significant pain in the rear end for the British.  But he was always kind.  Gandhi fought relentlessly against injustice.  But he was always kind.

Think Martin Luther King, Jr.  He too fought relentlessly against injustice. He would not tolerate injustice.  But he too was kind.  The whites said sit in the back of the bus. Rosa Parks sat in the front.  The lunch counter sign said “whites only,” so the black activists sat at the lunch counter.  We too can fight injustice, can fight for your children, and yet we can also remain true to our values  Our goal is not to hurt anyone.  Our goal is to protect your children.

Contradict by Being

In therapy, the child and parent will sometimes have this exchange,

Child: “You never listen to me.”

Parent:  “Yes I do.  I listen to you.”

No you don’t.  You didn’t listen just then.  In the response, “Yes I do” you just demonstrated that no you don’t.  You just made the child’s case behaviorally in your response.

Contrast that with this exchange

Child: “You never listen to me.”

Parent:  “Really, you think so?  Tell me more about that. What would you like me to know?

Home run.  The parent just hit it out of the park.  In this response, the parent demonstrated listening to the child.  The parent just proved that the child is incorrect, that the parent does listen to the child; not by the words of the parent’s response, but by the actions of the parent’s response.

The narcissistic/(borderline) parent and child are trying to frame you as being the mean and “abusive” parent.

So do you counter this by being angry and arrogant, demanding professional competence and retaliating against people who don’t do what you say?

Or do you counter this by being kind?  By dialoguing with others and expressing compassionate concern for your child?  Do you counter it by listening and by being kind?  Oh yes, and by relentlessly expecting professional competence.

Convince others that the narrative being constructed about you is false, not by your words, but by your actions.  Be kind.

But be relentless in your struggle to protect your children.  Neither Gandhi nor Martin Luther King, Jr. were pushovers.  Both led heroic and successful struggles against injustice.  Neither would tolerate injustice.  They were tough as nails.  And both were, at the same time, kind.

Those in mental health who are now adversaries, will soon be your allies.  Be kind to your soon-to-be allies.

Represent Well

When you interact with the world – therapists, attorneys, the media – regarding “parental alienation” you represent all of us.

Control your anger and frustration.  Do not seek retaliation, even as you expect and require professional competence.  Be kind.

If you file a licensing board complaint you are threatening the livelihood of that person.  You are threatening their ability to provide for their families.  You don’t want to do that.  Do it if you must in order to protect your children from continuing abuse as a result of mental health ignorance that colludes with the pathology.  But don’t want to do it.

Up on my website is a Diagnostic Checklist handout for the indicators of attachment-based “parental alienation.” 

Before becoming problematic for the mental health professional, kindly suggest that the mental health professional read Foundations.and provide them with this Diagnostic Checklist Suggest that they “consult” with me.  Make every effort to be agreeable and pleasant, short of allowing your child to be psychologically abused because the mental health professional is ignorant and entrenched in his or her ignorance.

Represent us well.  Be relentless, and be kind.

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

Empowerment

We Will Not Abandon bannerNot one more day will we tolerate the abandonment of your children to the trauma of “parental alienation.” Not one day more.

The trauma and psychological child abuse of “parental alienation” stops. Today. Now.

My YouTube videos on Empowerment are currently available. Watch them.

It is time to stand and fight.

You are no longer a victim.  You are the fierce and powerful parent who is fighting to rescue and protect your children.

I have forged for you a weapon from out of the solid bedrock of Foundations. It is time to plant your feet firmly on the solid bedrock of scientifically established Foundations and fight… fight to protect and rescue your children. The time has come to rescue and recover your authentic children from the pathogen of “parental alienation.”

If you have not read Foundations… shame on you. Your empowerment is through the professional words-of-power I provide you in Foundations. There will be no place on this battlefield for Gardnerian PAS or for ignorance. If you simply want to complain about your victimization… go away. I have no patience for you. The rest of us have work to do.

If you have yet to read Foundations… get on it. Every day is another lost day. As you can tell from my Empowerment videos, I’m serious. We are going to get your children back. All of your children, from ages five to fifty. We will not abandon a single child to the trauma pathogen of “parental alienation.”

Your days of victimization are done. You are a victim no more. You are a fierce and mighty warrior for your children. You are empowered.

Reformulating “Parental Alienation”

This is important to understand… In the 1980s Richard Gardner proposed a “new syndrome” based on a set of anecdotal clinical signs that had no relationship to any established professional constructs or principles. In proposing a “new syndrome” of PAS Gardner allowed the citadel of establishment mental health to either accept or reject his new proposal. They rejected it. And for 30 years they have rejected a “new syndrome” of “parental alienation.”

With Foundations, I have reformulated and redefined the construct of “parental alienation” from entirely within established and accepted professional constructs and principles, to which ALL mental health professionals can be held… accountable.

There is NOTHING for them to accept or reject.

They have already ACCEPTED all of the component principles and constructs on which this reformulation of “parental alienation” is based.  

Because the citadel of establishment mental health could – and did – reject Gardner’s proposal for a “new syndrome” the standards of practice defined in the Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct of the American Psychological Association did NOT apply to the construct of “parental alienation” – as defined by Gardnerian PAS.

HOWEVER, because I have reformulated the definition of what “parental alienation” is using standard and established psychological principles and constructs, this activates for you the Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct of the American Psychological Association.

You are now empowered.

Standards of Practice

The Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct of the American Psychological Association prohibit professional ignorance and incompetence.

The prohibition of professional ignorance and incompetence is Standard 2.01. Mental health professionals are NOT ALLOWED to be ignorant and incompetent. 

Being ignorant and incompetent as a mental health professional is a VIOLATION of professional standards of practice and is subject to administrative and possibly legal sanctions.

If they are ignorant and incompetent then this represents a “cause of action” against the professional license of the mental health professional under Standard 2.01 of the Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct of the American Psychological Association.  These are not “suggested” standards of practice.  These are the established standards of practice developed by the citadel of professional psychology to which all psychologists are held accountable.

Gardner’s proposal for a “new syndrome” of PAS DOES NOT activate Standard 2.01 for you because his proposal for a “new syndrome” has been rejected by the citadel of establishment mental health.

Foundations DOES NOT propose a “new syndrome.”

Foundations defines and describes the construct of “parental alienation” from entirely within standard and established psychological principles and constructs.

Foundations (i.e., an attachment-based reformulation for the construct of “parental alienation”) activates Standard 2.01 for you.

You are now empowered. You are now dangerous to ignorance and incompetence.

You must now use your new-found dangerousness to ignorance, your weapon forged from the solid bedrock of scientifically supported Foundations, to entirely eliminate from mental health the ignorance and incompetence regarding the nature, assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of this pathogen.

Not with pleading and asking and requesting. NO. We’re done with that. Use the white hot iron of Standard 2.01 of the Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct of the American Psychological Association to sear and cauterize each individual binding site of ignorance by which the pathogen of “parental alienation” is infecting and disabling the mental health system response to the pathology of “parental alienation.”

You CANNOT do this if you try to use a Gardnerian PAS model. If you claim that the therapist did not diagnose or appropriately treat “parental alienation,” nothing will change and you will remain entirely helpless and dis-empowered.

There is NO DIAGNOSIS of “parental alienation.” The diagnosis of “parental alienation” doesn’t exist.

You MUST use an attachment-based reformulation for the construct of “parental alienation.” Why do I always put the words “parental alienation” in quotes? If you don’t know, shame on you. Read Foundations, it’s in the Introduction chapter.  Or go to Dorcy Pruter’s companion site for the video series on Empowerment.  I’ve provided her with a pdf of the Introduction chapter of Foundations to offer to you free.

“Parental alienation” as a construct doesn’t exist.

It is, HOWEVER, a composite construct composed of underlying family systems, personality disorder, and attachment system processes.

The correct professional term for “parental alienation” is pathogenic parenting. Start there. That the therapist did not properly assess and treat pathogenic parenting (notice I did not put this term in quotes; because pathogenic parenting is a defined professional term that exists within the citadel of establishment mental health).

Then, you move on from there to question the professional competence of the binding site of ignorance in family systems theory.  What training did the binding site of ignorance have in family systems therapy?  Why did the binding site of ignorance NOT diagnose the child’s triangulation into the spousal conflict through the formation of a cross-generational coalition with the allied and supposedly favored parent against you? Notice how I’m using the professional words-of-power that I’ve given you in Foundations.

I’ll be writing more about this as the summer progresses. Stay tuned.

BUT, you cannot fight ignorance by being ignorant.  The words “parental alienation” have NO power.

The words I give you in Foundations, however, activate Standard 2.01 of the Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct of the American Psychological Association.

With Standard 2.01 you become dangerous and someone to be reckoned with. You become empowered to protect your children.

Standard 2.01

Standard 2.01 of the Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct of the American Psychological Association states:

“Psychologists provide services, teach and conduct research with populations and in areas only within the boundaries of their competence, based on their education, training, supervised experience, consultation, study or professional experience”

Essentially what this says is that psychologists are NOT ALLOWED to be ignorant or incompetent.

In the first three sections of Foundations I establish the theoretical and scientific foundations to activate Standard 2.01 for you. In Section 4 of Foundations I specifically define the domains of knowledge necessary for competent professional practice with this “special population” of children and families.

With regard to your children and your families, from this point forward, because of the reformulation provided by Foundations, mental health professionals are NOT ALLOWED to be ignorant and incompetent.  From this point forward, mental health professionals are expected to know what they are doing and they must make the proper diagnosis.

Professional competence is not a “suggested” professional practice, it is a required professional obligation.

And, it is NOT up to you to educate mental health professionals. It is THEIR professional obligation to already be educated.

Diagnosis

But be aware, the proper diagnosis is NOT “parental alienation.”  There is NO SUCH THING as a diagnosis of “parental alienation.”  The words “parental alienation” have NO power.

The professional words-of-power are in Foundations; role-reversal relationship, trauma reenactment, pathogenic parenting, decompensation of a narcissistic/(borderline) personality into delusional beliefs, cross-generational coalitions, splitting.

The actual DSM-5 diagnosis that we are requiring be made is:

DSM-5 Diagnosis

309.4    Adjustment Disorder with mixed disturbance of emotions and conduct

V61.20 Parent-Child Relational Problem

V61.29 Child Affected by Parental Relationship Distress

V995.51 Child Psychological Abuse, Confirmed

It’s that final diagnosis, of V995.51 that we want.  Attachment-based “parental alienation” is not a child custody issue, it is a child protection issue.  Why do you think I drive that point home in the first video segment of Empowerment?  That is our framing of the reformulation.

Attachment-based “parental alienation” is not a child custody issue, it is a child protection issue, and we expect that ALL mental health professionals provide a diagnosis of:

V995.51 Child Psychological Abuse, Confirmed

When the three diagnostic indicators of attachment-based “parental alienation” are present

As described in Foundations.

There is NO diagnosis of “parental alienation.”  You cannot be ignorant and expect anything to change.  You must read Foundations and become knowledgeable about the professional words-of-power.

Professional Competence

There is nothing new about personality disorders. These are standard and established professional constructs.

There is nothing new about the attachment system, this is an established psychological construct.

There is nothing new about delusions, they are an established psychological construct.

There is nothing new about a cross-generational parent-child coalition, this is an established psychological construct.

If mental health professionals are working with a “special population” of children and families evidencing these forms of pathology, it is the OBLIGATION of the mental health professional to be knowledgeable about these domains of professional knowledge. If not, then that professional is practicing outside the boundaries of his or her competence in likely violation of Standard 2.01 of the APA Ethics Code.

It doesn’t matter if they’ve read Foundations or not.

All I’ve done in Foundations is made it easy for them – and empowered you.  But the component principles I discuss in Foundations are ALL standard and established psychological constructs and principles. I didn’t have a book Foundations to read when I first encountered “parental alienation,” yet I was able to immediately recognize the pathology. Because I know what I’m doing.

If they don’t know what they’re doing, that’s their problem, NOT yours. You do NOT need to educate them. They should already BE educated. You have a right to expect professional competence based on Standard 2.01 of the Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct of the American Psychological Association.

From this point forward, all mental health professionals MUST make the correct diagnosis of the pathology (V995.51 Child Psychological Abuse, Confirmed) when the three diagnostic indicators of attachment-based “parental alienation” are present in the child’s symptom display. We will no longer tolerate professional ignorance and professional incompetence.

Plant your feet on the solid professional bedrock of Foundations and fight. That is your right. In fact, that is your obligation as your child’s true and authentic parent. The first obligation of an authentic parent is to protect your children. Foundations empowers you to do just that.

If any mental health professional wants to argue about it, let them discuss it with their licensing board.  Or, if you want, just have them take it up with me. My email address is drcraigchildress@gmail.com.  Think of me (and Foundations) as your  psychological consultant to these binding sites of ignorance.  You do not need to argue with them, you do not need to educate them.  You just need to cauterize these binding sites of ignorance with the white hot iron of Standard 2.01… and Standard 3.04.

Standard 3.04

Standard 3.04 of the Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct of the American Psychological Association on Avoiding Harm states that:

“Psychologists take reasonable steps to avoid harming their clients/patients, students, supervisees, research participants, organizational clients and others with whom they work, and to minimize harm where it is foreseeable and unavoidable.”

Mental health professionals are NOT ALLOWED to harm their clients, especially if the harm is the result of practice beyond the boundaries of professional competence in violation of Standard 2.01.

Avoiding harm to clients is NOT a “suggested” professional practice, it is a required professional obligation.

From this point on, mental health professionals are NOT ALLOWED to collude with pathology because of their ignorance and incompetence to the destruction of your life and your children’s lives.

Has any mental health professional involved with your family failed to recognize the pathology of attachment-based “parental alienation” as described in Foundations (remember, the simple words “parental alienation” have NO power), and as a result harm was done to you and your child because of their failure to appropriately diagnose the pathology as V995.51 Child Psychological Abuse, Confirmed when the three diagnostic indicators of attachment-based “parental alienation” as described in Foundations were present?

If so, then the professional ignorance and incompetence of these mental health practitioners has:

Caused harm to you and your child (their clients) in violation of Standard 3.04 of the Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct of the American Psychological Association…

… as a result of their practice beyond the boundaries of their professional competence, in violation of Standard 2.01 of the Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct of the American Psychological Association.

From this point forward, mental health professionals are NOT ALLOWED to be ignorant and incompetent.

And, they are NOT ALLOWED to destroy the lives of children and families because of their professional ignorance and incompetence..

If they don’t like it then they have two choices;

  • Become knowledgeable and competent.
  • Go away and don’t treat this “special population” of children and families.

What they are NOT ALLOWED to do is to remain ignorant and incompetent and destroy the lives of children and families as a result. That stops. Today. Now.

Possible Causes of Action

Up on my website in the “Parental Alienation” section, right at the very top posting, is a handout regarding Possible Causes of Action against the license of a mental health professional who fails to identify the pathology and who fails to make the correct diagnosis (i.e., a DSM-5 diagnosis of V995.51 Child Psychological Abuse, Confirmed as set out in Foundations).

I will be providing more supporting material across the summer.

Watch my new YouTube video series: Empowerment

Attorney Collaboration

Let me close by putting out this open call for collaboration with any attorneys out there who want to work with me on:

1.) Identifying particularly egregious cases of professional incompetence that could serve as “test cases” for professional malpractice.

2.) Collaborate on writing handouts for targeted parents on how to file their licensing board complaints.

End Parental AlienationNot one more day will we tolerate the abandonment of your children to the trauma pathogen of “parental alienation.” Not one day more.

 Craig Childress, Psy.D.
Psychologist, PSY 18857

 

The Citadel of Establishment Mental Health

You will need mental health as your ally in order to defeat the pathogen of “parental alienation” and rescue your children from the pathology that has captured them and destroyed your lives.

As long as the mental health response to the pathogen of “parental alienation” remains so deeply inadequate and flawed, then there will be no solution. The legal system will be unable to act with the decisive clarity necessary to protect your children as long as the mental health system remains frozen in unproductive and irresponsible internal debate between entrenched and intransigent factions.

“Parental alienation” is not a child custody issue; it is a child protection issue.

The debate within mental health is about to be brought to a close.

Within an attachment-based reformulation of the “parental alienation” construct, it is the professional obligation of mental health to identify the severity of the pathology expressed in “parental alienation” as a child protection issue. Once mental health identifies the severity of the pathogen, we can then achieve an appropriate child protection response from the legal system.

Our first series of battles will be to reclaim the mental health system from the pathogen. The pathogen has disabled the mental health response to the pathology of “parental alienation” by locking up the mental health system in an unproductive internal debate. Foundations provides a fundamental theoretical reformulation for the construct of “parental alienation” that allows both sides in this unproductive debate to come together, to reach synthesis and agreement, and to bring the unproductive debate in mental health to an end.

Our first set of battles will be to reclaim the mental health system from the pathogen, and restore the mental health system as your ally. Once mental health is your ally, we will turn next to the legal system and, with the power of your new ally of establishment mental health, we will obtain the necessary child protection response to the pathogen of “parental alienation” from the legal system.

First the mental health system, then the legal system.

Prior Battles

The citadel of establishment mental health has been assaulted before, without success. But always with the Gardnerian model of “Parental Alienation Syndrome” (PAS).

This time, for this battle, we are not fighting under the battle flag of Gardnerian PAS. There will be NO Gardnerian PAS banner on this battlefield.

Gardnerian PAS has failed to take the citadel of establishment mental health. The Gardnerian model of PAS is a failed paradigm. There will be no Gardnerian PAS battle flag on this battlefield.

The most recent effort to storm the citadel of establishment mental health with the Gardnerian PAS model occurred with the publication of the DSM-5 in 2013. This afforded the Gardnerian warriors their best opportunity to breach the gates of establishment mental health and plant the flag of “parental alienation” within the citadel of establishment mental health. The staunch Gardnerian warriors launched an all-out effort with the DSM committees, seeking to have the construct of “parental alienation” recognized as a legitimate psychological process.

They failed.  The citadel remains in the hands of the pathogen.

The DSM-5 completely and fully rejected inclusion of the construct of “parental alienation” as a recognized phenomenon within establishment mental health. The Gardnerian contingent tried to put as good a face on their defeat as possible, but in truth their defeat was complete and total.

The Gardnerian model of PAS is a failed paradigm. It has been repeatedly and consistently rejected by establishment mental health across 30 years and with a full examination of its scientific and theoretical basis.

At the time of the DSM-5 defeat, I was well on the way to an attachment-based reformulation of the “parental alienation” pathology. The defeat of Gardnerian PAS did not surprise me. I had conducted an analysis of the pathogen, the situation, and the solution when I first set out on my journey seven years ago to empower you to be able to protect and rescue your children from the pathogen of “parental alienation.”  That the pathogen had once again defeated the PAS model was disappointing, but of absolutely no surprise.

This is the most malicious, sophisticated, and dangerous pathogen I have ever encountered. Its category is a “trauma pathogen,” like domestic violence, physical abuse, and sexual abuse, and it has defensive information-structures designed to disable efforts to interfere with the enactment of the pathology. This is a very sophisticated pathogen.

When Gardner first penetrated the “veil of concealment” that hides the trauma pathogen of “parental alienation” from view he didn’t realize just how sophisticated and malignant this pathogen is. His initial description of the pathogen using the eight anecdotal indicators of PAS and his proposal of a “new syndrome” based on these anecdotal indicators was totally inadequate to the task.

The sophisticated defensive structures of the pathogen simply acquired allies in mental health and then feasted on the unsophisticated PAS model. Gardner totally underestimated the sophistication and malevolence of this pathogen. The most devastating counter-attack was labeling the PAS model with the epithet of “junk science.” This was a devastating label that effectively disabled the PAS paradigm as an effective theoretical model.

Gardner’s error was in too quickly abandoning the professional rigor necessary to define the pathogen from within established psychological processes and constructs. With all due respect for the clinical acumen of Richard Gardner in penetrating the pathogen’s “veil of concealment” by identifying the existence of the pathogen, he was simply too conceptually lazy in defining the information-structures of the pathology. His error was in proposing a “new syndrome” (a conceptually lazy approach) rather than working out the pathogen’s information structures. This allowed the allies of the pathogen in mental health, the pathogen’s “binding sites of ignorance” that are used by the pathogen to disable the mental health response to the pathology, to attack Gardner’s efforts to interfere with the enactment of the pathology.

The refrain from establishment mental health became:

“There is no such thing as a new syndrome of parental alienation”

“Parental alienation doesn’t exist.”

This denial of the pathogen is allowed by the Gardnerian PAS model because it proposes a “new syndrome” that is not based in any preexisting and established psychological principles and constructs.

The fundamental problem lay in the proposal of a “new syndrome” which could then be rejected by establishment mental health.

The failure to ground the theoretical formulation of “parental alienation” within established psychological principles and constructs means that we are unable to establish accepted standards of practice for the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of the pathology known as “parental alienation.” Without established standards of practice, professional ignorance and incompetence goes unchecked.

For example, I can write a report to the court saying that the child needs to be protectively separated from the pathology of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent, but then some ignorant mental health professional will nullify my recommendations by telling the court that “the child’s wishes should be respected” in rejecting a normal-range and affectionally available parent, and that the child “isn’t ready” to be reunited with the targeted-rejected parent. So knowledge is nullified by ignorance.

Only the legal system has the power to protect your children. In order to achieve a solution in the legal system, the mental health system must speak with a single voice.

This is a child protection issue.

The court needs to immediately transfer care of the child to the child’s authentic, normal-range, and protective parent (i.e., the currently targeted-rejected parent) and the court must impose a no-contact order on the child’s communications with the pathogenic parent during the period of the child’s active treatment and recovery stabilization.

When knowledge speaks to the court, there must be NO dissenting opinion from ignorance that colludes with the psychopathology. Our adversary is the pathogen; our enemy is ignorance.

We will need to cleanse the mental health system of ignorance with regard to the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of the “parental alienation” pathogen. This will require that we have clearly established domains of professional knowledge necessary to establish professional competence in assessing, diagnosing, and treating this “special population” of children and families to which ALL mental health professionals can be held ACCOUNTABLE.

Gardnerian PAS cannot provide these defined domains of professional knowledge needed to establish professional competence to which all mental health professionals can then be held accountable.

Foundations can. That is exactly why I wrote it.

Seven years ago, it became evident to me that the solution to “parental alienation” required the development of an alternative paradigm for defining the pathogen. One that did not propose a “new syndrome” but that instead defines the pathology of “parental alienation” from entirely within standard and established psychological principles and constructs.

This would mean that the allies of the pathogen (the pathogen’s “binding sites of ignorance” in establishment mental health) could no longer claim that “parental alienation doesn’t exist.”

In an attachment-based reformulation, ALL of the component psychological processes used in defining the construct of “parental alienation” are already fully established and accepted psychological processes and constructs. Personality disorders exist. The attachment system exists. Delusional beliefs exist. Role-reversal relationships, cross-generational coalitions, regulatory objects, trauma reenactment. All of these things are already accepted by establishment mental health as existing.

An attachment-based model makes no proposal for a “new syndrome” that somehow needs to be accepted by professional mental health. All of the component processes of an attachment-based model of “parental alienation” are ALREADY ACCEPTED by establishment mental health.

This is important to understand: Since an attachment-based model of “parental alienation” is based entirely on established and accepted psychological principles and constructs, there’s nothing for establishment mental health to “accept.” Establishment mental health has already accepted ALL of the component processes.

Hopefully, I’m beginning to see some light-bulbs of understanding starting to light up.

“Ohhhh, I think I get it. So by using an attachment-based reformulation for defining what “parental alienation” is, we can skip that whole step of “seeking the acceptance” of establishment mental health.”

Yep.

“We only need to seek acceptance if we’re proposing a “new syndrome” – like PAS.”

Yep.

“But with an attachment-based model we’re not proposing a “new syndrome.”

That’s correct.

“So there’s nothing for establishment mental health to accept or reject”

That’s correct.

“They just need to become aware.”

Yep. 

<Ding>

So seven years ago I set out to provide you, the child’s authentic and protective parent, with the theoretical Foundations – the professional “words-of-power” – that you would need to storm the citadel of establishment mental health and reclaim the mental health system as your ally in fighting the pathology of “parental alienation.”

Forging Your Weapon

Seven years ago I set about unraveling the pathology of “parental alienation” from entirely within standard and established psychological principles and constructs. Not one idea or construct is borrowed from Gardner. An attachment-based model is an entirely alternate reformulation of the pathology from completely within standard and established psychological principles and constructs.

Along this journey I would post to my website my gains in unraveling the pathology as soon as I had them, in the possibility that one of you might be able to use the emerging insights of this alternate model of “parental alienation” to solve your particular situation. But I knew that the actual solution involved reclaiming the citadel of professional psychology from the current ignorance and collusion with the pathogen. Until we solved the mental health system, we could not solve the legal system, and only the legal system has the power to protect your child from the pathogen.

So we must first fix the mental health response to the pathogen, then use the power of the mental health system to fix the legal system’s response to the pathology. Then, and only then, will we be able to solve “parental alienation” for your specific family and your specific child.

And when we fix the mental health and legal systems, we will solve “parental alienation” for ALL children and ALL families. So you are all in this together. You cannot achieve a solution for your specific situation until we achieve a solution for all children and all families.

Once I had the basic structure of the model, I shifted to my blog to begin describing the component pieces of the model as these became organized, again in the possibility that someone somewhere might be able to use this formative information as I set about forging the actual weapon from this theoretical foundation.

Your Weapon

With the publication of Foundations, your weapon is forged and is now available to you.

Foundations provides to you with the solid theoretical bedrock of established and accepted psychological principles and constructs – the professional “words-of-power” – that will allow you to assault the citadel of establishment mental health… and win.

With the professional “words-of-power” I provide you in Foundations, you will take the citadel of professional psychology.

When you march and fight under the field banner of Foundations, you will not be asking establishment mental health to “accept” some new syndrome. You will be expecting them to recognize existing and accepted forms of psychopathology.

However, be aware – you are fighting ignorance. You cannot be ignorant if you are fighting ignorance.

If you use a Gardnerian PAS model, thinking that you can just throw the words “parental alienation” at the citadel for another countless time… you will lose. Just like you’ve lost for 30 years. Nothing will change.

If you think you can simply throw up to establishment mental health the words “parental alienation” and that something will be different now, you’re simply being ignorant. You cannot fight ignorance by remaining ignorant.

There will be NO Gardnerian PAS banner on this battlefield.

This battle will be fought under the field banner – the professional “words-of-power” – of Foundations.

If you use the professional “words-of-power” I provide you in Foundations – narcissistic/(borderline) personality disorder, disorganized attachment, attachment trauma, splitting, cross-generational coalition, trauma reenactment, role-reversal relationship, regulatory object – then you will be victorious.

I have forged for you the weapon you need to protect your children, and if you come together as one you will be an unstoppable force. Across seven years I have forged this specific weapon for you from out of the solid bedrock of established psychological principles and constructs for exactly this fight – to reclaim mental health as your ally.

The time to end “parental alienation” has arrived.  Today.  Now. We do not need professional mental health to accept anything.   We expect them to be competent.  The pathology of “parental alienation” ends.  Today.  Now.

“Parental alienation” – as defined in Foundations – is not a child custody issue; it is a child protection issue. And we expect professional competence in assessing, diagnosing, and treating the severe psychopathology of an attachment-based reformulation for the construct of “parental alienation.”

On July 1, 2015 my series on your Empowerment will be posted to YouTube. 

On July 1, 2015 we begin our fight to reclaim the citadel of establishment mental health as your ally.

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

July 2015

Foundations Banner Red-BlueFor far too long you have been dis-empowered and made helpless by the allies of the pathology, and have been unable to protect your children from the psychological abuse of “parental alienation.”

For far too long you have endured the devastating emotional and psychological trauma of being alienated from your dear and beloved children by the loathsome actions of the narcissistic-borderline parent.

For far too long, the mental health system has been blind to your suffering and the legal system deaf to your entreaties.

This is all about to change.

Foundations Banner GreenIn July of 2015, the battle to reclaim mental health as your ally and the child’s will be engaged.  In the weeks ahead I will be posting a series of YouTube videos describing the campaign to recover your children — to rescue them from the pathology which they have too long endured.

The initial battle will be the battle for mental health.  The pathogen of “parental alienation” has infected and disabled the mental health response to this severe form of trauma pathology that is being enacted in your families. 

Mental health is currently paralyzed; locked in a polarized debate over the mere existence of the pathology.  It exists.  Foundations defines it.  The debate will be brought to a close.

Foundations Banner Green-BlueBe aware, there will be NO Gardnerian PAS banner on this battlefield.  We will NOT fight the battle to reclaim mental health as your ally using the Gardnerian PAS model.

Foundations fully describes and defines the pathology within established psychological principles and constructs. 

With Foundations, we have seized control of the battlefield from the pathogen.  WE now control the battlefield, and we will be relentless in our efforts to rescue and recover your children… all of your children.

Once we have achieved mental health as your ally, we will then use the power of your new ally in mental health and turn next to the battle of the courts. 

Once mental health speaks with a single clear voice, the legal system will be able to act with the decisive clarity needed to resolve the pathology.  This first set of battles – for the integrity of mental health – are the pivotal engagements.

The solution we achieve will need to be efficient.  We must be able to achieve a resolution through the courts and through mental health in less than 6 months from the time the pathology is identified

The solution we achieve will need to be affordable.  No lengthy and repeated involvement of courts and attorneys that bleed the family of financial resources.

We Will Not Abandon bannerAnd the solution must recover the adult children – the adult survivors of childhood parental alienation. 

All of these goals are achievable.

We will not abandon a single child to the pathogen of “parental alienation.”  The family pathology and continuing trauma of “parental alienation” needs to stop.  Today.  Now.

The long nightmare of “parental alienation” must be brought to a close, and your children must be returned to the normal and healthy childhood they deserve, free from their parents’ conflict.  And hearts ripped apart in childhood need to be recovered and restored now that they are grown..

In July of 2015, we begin our journey to recover your authentic children from the pathology of “parental alienation.”  Prepare yourself.  Arm yourself with the professional words-of-power from Foundations. 

There will be NO Gardnerian PAS banner on this battlefield.  You will need the professional words-of-power offered in Foundations for the coming battles. 

The words-of-power contained in Foundations give you the power to overcome this pathogen.  You will need them. 

You are more powerful than you know. 

Amplify your power.   Come together in an unstoppable force.  The time is now, this your fight.  I am not your warrior, but I have given you your weapon.  A foundation of solid bedrock on which to stand and fight.

In less than two weeks I will be posting a series of YouTube videos.  In July, 2015 the battle to recover your children will be engaged in earnest.

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

Four Child Banners

Field Banners

Our adversary is not a person.

Our adversary is not your ex-spouse, the alienating narcissistic/(borderline) parent.

Our adversary is not a system.

Our adversary is not the mental health or legal systems.

Our adversary is a pathogen.

A pathogen is like a virus. The pathogen we fight is not a physical virus, like polio or small pox. It is a psychological pathogen, infecting the information structures of the attachment system (the “meme-structures” of the attachment system).

And understand this: We have only one enemy – ignorance.

I will explain why later, but it is important that we end the process of taking “sides” – your side – my side – it needs to stop. We are ALL on the same side.

Splitting into polarized “sides” is a manifestation of the pathogen.  If you see “sides” forming work toward synthesis.  In the upcoming battle for mental health, the pathogen will try to create splitting within mental health, and perhaps even within our own ranks.  Be alert for splitting.  It’s a clear sign of the pathogen’s presence infecting the dialogue.  Work for synthesis in dialogue.  Be alert for polarized extremes.  Avoid (and be alert for) unnecessary hyperbole. 

The pathogen will try to distract the focus away from the pathogen by creating “sides.” We cannot allow this to happen. We must avoid polarized sides.  Our goal is “synthesis” not “victory.” 

Be kind. Be nice. But be resolute and relentless. Do not fight, but do not flee. Stand your ground, with resolute gentleness, and continue to move relentlessly forward.

There are NO sides. There is only ignorance and knowledge.

We ALL want the same thing.  We all want to support the healthy emotional and psychological development of children.  Them, us, everybody.

We ALL want to stop child abuse in every single case. 100% of the time.

That’s true of everyone in mental health, that’s true for all targeted parents, that’s true of everyone in the legal system.

We are all on the same side. This is critical. I will explain why later.

We have only one enemy. Ignorance.

I know this pathogen better than anyone on this planet. I have spent the last seven years analyzing each and every nook and cranny, each and every “meme-structure,” of this pathogen. I know exactly what it’s going to do, and I’m (hopefully) ten steps ahead of it.

That’s what has taken me so long. Preparing for exactly this day, for exactly this battle, forging exactly the right weapon for you to use to recover and rescue your children.

We are ready. It is time for you to unsheathe your weapon, and let’s set about the task of rescuing your children… All of your children.

The time has arrived. Not one more day will we tolerate the psychological abuse of your children. Not one more day.

So let me explain our adversary, to prepare you for the coming battle; the “battle for mental health.”

The Pathogen

I know this pathogen better than anyone on the planet, and let me assure you (as if you didn’t already know) that this is the most malignant, vicious, and dangerous psychological pathogen I have ever encountered. And mind you, I’ve worked with children in the foster care system. I’ve seen all the various forms of child abuse pathogens up close and personal. And this one is the nastiest I have ever encountered.

I’m not going to spend time now going into the details of why I know what I know, I’m just going to assert this information and you’ll have to trust that I know what I’m talking about. Later, once we have achieved our goals, once your children are back in your arms, then we will have the leisure of sitting around the fire telling war stories, and I can explain how I know what I know about this pathogen. But for now, you’ll just have to trust me on this one… I know this pathogen.

On a related note, if any division within APA wants to extend me an invitation to submit a proposal for a presentation on “The Meme-Structure Analysis of the Parental Alienation Trauma Pathogen” I guarantee you, I will knock your socks off. Guaranteed phenomenal.

What makes this pathogen so particularly malignant and dangerous is that it has a very sophisticated defensive structure. In all my years of providing psychotherapy, I’ve never seen a pathogen’s defensive structure this sophisticated, and dare I say, elegant.  The defensive meme-structure (information structure) of this pathogen is extraordinary.

There are three components to the defensive meme-structure of this pathogen

Stay Hidden

The pathogen hides by projecting the focus of blame. The two major projections of blame are,

1)  Onto the child; (“It’s not me, it’s the child that… xyz”)

2)  Onto the other parent (“It’s the other parent who is the source of the problem.”)

It’s in this latter projection of blame onto you, the other parent, where this pathogen truly excels. Absolutely masterful defensive manipulation of blame onto you. I describe this in Foundations. This defensive meme-structure can reach truly masterful levels of interwoven manipulation and exploitation.

Throughout the alienation process, which can span years of continuing alienation, the pathogen is consistently able to keep the focus of external scrutiny on the parenting practices of you, the targeted parent. And even though you are entirely a normal-range and loving parent, no one ever believes that you are.

Why is that?

It’s a defensive meme-structure of the pathogen. I know what it is and I can describe it in detail. And we will be disabling it. The pathogen lays hidden in the shadows, in the dark recesses.  We will be exposing the pathogen to the light.

The pathogen also stays hidden behind the child (that’s, in part, how it keeps the focus on you). It is essentially using the child as a “human shield.” No one sees the pathogen because they naturally assume the child is authentic. No. When this pathogen enacts the pathology, it steals the authentic child. 

The child is caught in a role-reversal relationship with the narcissistic/(borderline) parent and is being used as a “regulatory object” to regulate the emotional and psychological state of the parent.

If you don’t know the meaning of what I just said, for goodness sake would you please read Foundations.

If you try to fight this pathogen without arming yourself with the words-of-power from Foundations, this pathogen will eat you for breakfast. This is the meanest, nastiest, strongest and most dangerous pathogen I have ever encountered. Do not underestimate it. Do not go into battle unarmed.

You will absolutely 100% need to read Foundations. You cannot battle this pathogen without being armed with the words-of-power.

The pathogen remains hidden behind the child. 

When other people, including therapists, assume (falsely) that the child is authentic, this then redirects the focus of external attention onto you. By remaining hidden, the pathogen is safe to enact the pathology.

When someone is able to penetrate the veil of concealment that hides the pathogen from view, and so sees the pathogen directly, this exposure of the pathogen threatens the ability of the pathogen to enact the pathology.  In response to threat, a second level of defensive meme-structures are activated; ATTACK

ATTACK – Viciously

When the pathogen is seen, the person who has exposed the pathogen becomes a threat to the pathogen’s ability to enact the pathology.

The pathogen needs the pathology. The pathogen requires the pathology. This need to enact the pathology is at the level of a neurologically imposed psychological imperative. There is no other alternative for the pathogen. It MUST enact and maintain the pathology.

Again, if you don’t know why, for goodness sake, read Foundations. Our enemy is ignorance. There is no excuse for you to be ignorant when we are fighting ignorance.

When you become an ex-husband, it is an imperative imposed by the structure of the pathogen that you also become an ex-father. There is no other alternative for the pathogen. This MUST occur. When you become an ex-wife, you must become an ex-mother as well. This is a neurologically imposed imperative for the pathogen. There is no other alternative possible for the pathogen.

The pathogen NEEDS the pathology. It requires the pathology.

When someone penetrates the veil of concealment and sees the pathogen, this threatens the pathogen’s ability to enact the pathology. The response of the pathogen to threat is to attack with incredible viciousness and a complete disregard for truth, accuracy, and reality.

Truth, accuracy, and reality will offer NO defense against the pathogen. The attack is not designed to destroy you (in which case truth, accuracy, and reality would provide a defense). The attack is designed to disable you, to nullify your threat, to nullify your ability to interfere with the enactment of the pathology.

The attack is to put you on the defensive, and to put the focus of attention onto you, and thereby take it off the pathogen. Whether the attack succeeds in harming you is secondary to its defensive role of putting the threat posed by the other person on the defensive and thereby nullifying the threat.

Here’s an important point in the upcoming “battle for mental health.”  I see the pathogen.  I therefore represent a tremendous threat to the pathogen’s ability to continue to enact the pathology. There is no doubt, that once the pathogen becomes aware of me, once you join this battle, this pathogen is going to attack me with all the viciousness and venom it can possibly muster.

This will occur with 100% certainty, because it is part of the defensive meme-structure of the pathogen. Stay hidden. If exposed, attack, and attack with incredible viciousness and without regard for truth, accuracy, or reality.

Right now, the pathogen is slumbering relative to me and an attachment-based model of “parental alienation.”  You have yet to activate an attachment-based model to cleanse the pathogen from mental health, so it’s not noticing that I see it. Once it knows I’ve seen it, it will attack, with 100% certainty.

When this happens, don’t worry. I’m expecting it and I’m ready for it. I’ve got defensive meme-structures in place, including what I’m doing right now by exposing the pathogen’s process. I’m optimistic that I’ll be okay.

That’s why Foundations needed to be so complete in it’s theoretical formulation.  It has to be prepared to withstand the certain attack which the pathogen will launch against it, and against me (through the allies of the pathogen).

When this attack on me occurs. Ignore it. Don’t defend me. I’ve got it covered. That’s my battle, not yours. Trust me on this. Keep your eye on YOUR battle to recover your children. Don’t worry about the brew-ha-ha that’s swirling around me. The goal of the attack is to distract the threat that you pose to the pathogen. Do NOT be distracted. I’ll be okay.. I think.  I’m expecting it.  I’ve done some preparation.

Don’t worry about defending me. Use your weapon, use Foundations, keep going forward.

I’m putting myself out there as your lightening rod. As long as the lightening rod is grounded, there’s no effect.  I’m ready, I think. I’ll pull the attack for you. That becomes my battle, not yours. Yours is for the children.

To rescue your children, you must clear the influence of this pathogen out of mental health. It has infected mental health, you must cleanse the influence of the pathogen from mental health. Once you do that, the attack on me will stop. Don’t lose focus, don’t be distracted. Keep going. When the pathogen attacks, it means it’s recognized your threat.

Allies: Binding Sites of Ignorance

The third defensive meme-structure of the pathogen is to seduce and employ allies. It exploits allies to both enact the pathology (primarily the ally of the child, but also at times extended family such as step-parents or grandparents), and also to disable threats that might interfere with the pathogen’s ability to enact the pathology.

Because it seeks to remain hidden as its primary defense, the pathogen seeks “binding sites of ignorance” which don’t see the pathogen, and which it can then turn into allies to enact the pathology or disable efforts to interfere with the pathology.

The pathogen uses the ignorance of others as its primary means to remain hidden.

Our primary weapon is therefore knowledge, which we will use to expose the pathogen. 

Exposing the pathogen is why you need the words-of-power that I provide you in Foundations.

In my case, when the pathogen launches its attack on me, it will turn to its established allies in mental health to launch the attack. Because it has been sleeping relative to me, it’s not yet aware of the threat posed to it by an attachment-based reformulation of the construct of “parental alienation,” so the initial attack will be as if I am advocating a Gardnerian PAS model.

Ally of the Pathogen:  “How dare Dr. Childress empower targeted parents to action based on such a flimsy theoretical structure as parental alienation.”

Dr. Childress:  You’re talking about a Gardnerian model of “parental alienation” aren’t you? Oh, I would absolutely agree with you, if that was what I’m doing. But I’m NOT talking about a Gardernian model of PAS, I’m talking about an attachment-based model of “parental alienation.” Have you read Foundations?

Ally of the Pathogen:  “No”

Dr. Childress:  Oh, then I really suggest you do. Because until you do, you don’t really have anything relevant to add to the discussion. Once you’ve read Foundations, then come back to me and we can talk. But until then, what you have to say really isn’t relevant because you have no idea what we’re talking about.

So let’s take a moment to talk about how to handle the “criticisms” of “parental alienation”

Criticisms of Parental Alienation

When you are marching and fighting under the Field Banner of Foundations (i.e., of an attachment-based model of “parental alienation”), you have made ALL of the criticisms of “parental alienation” irrelevant.

Because ALL of the criticisms of “parental alienation” are based on a Gardnerian model of “Parental Alienation Syndrome” (PAS) – and we’re NOT talking about Gardnerian PAS, we’re talking about an attachment-based re-conceptualization for the construct of “parental alienation.”

That’s why I have been systematically distancing myself from the Gardnerian PAS model. In one fell swoop we are going to NULLIFY ALL of the criticisms of “parental alienation.”

All of them. Every single last one of them. Not one criticism of parental alienation left.  By making all of them irrelevant.

We are not going to fight that battle. It’s a pointless and unnecessary battle.  Been fought for 30 years. Where’s it gotten us.  Here.  Well that’s no good.

We don’t need to fight that battle.

Just say to the Gardnerian critics,

Response Part 1:  “You’ll receive no argument from us. We will concede ALL of your criticisms. We will concede that all of your criticisms of Gardnerian PAS are correct.

Response Part 2:  “But we’re not talking about a Gardnerian PAS model, we’re talking about an attachment-based model. So all of your arguments that are critical of a Gardnerian PAS model are…. well… completely irrelevant.

Response Part 2:  So unless you want to talk about an attachment-based model, please go away because you have nothing relevant to add to the discussion.

It’s as if they want to talk about Middle East foreign policy. While that’s very interesting, and they may well have wonderfully insightful views on Middle East foreign policy, that’s not really relevant to the discussion we’re having about “parental alienation.”  So unless they have something relevant to say, politely ask them to go away until they have something relevant to say.

I spend the Introduction to Foundations setting up this response of yours to the critics of “parental alienation” (the allies of the pathogen”).  In the Introduction I make ALL of the criticisms of “parental alienation” irrelevant. I have entirely cleared the battlefield for you of all the mines that were out there. All the criticisms of “parental alienation” are gone.  Evaporated.  All of them.

There is NO criticism currently expressed regarding an attachment-based model.  They may emerge, but God help ’em if they try, because I’m gonna kill it.

“You want to take me on? Really? After reading my blog posts.  After reading Foundations.  Is that really what you want to do?

“Okay.  Let’s do it.  Let’s have an online public debate.  Dr. Childress and critic. You and me. Moderated debate. 2 hours.  And we’ll post it online for everybody to see.”

As you enter the battle for your children, there are NO, zero, criticisms of “parental alienation” – none – when you march and fight under the Field Banner of an attachment-based model of “parental alienation.”

When I first began distancing myself and the attachment-based model from Gardnerian PAS I drew criticism from the Gardnerian PAS experts, “Why do you have to be so hard on Gardner? Can’t we co-exist peacefully? It’s not good to create division within our ranks. We need to stay unified.”

I made a mild effort to explain it (“What advantage does a Gardnerian PAS model offer?”), but I didn’t expend much effort because it was too hard to explain to them. They’re too stuck in their model. They need to see why.

Now, for this moment, is why.

By separating from a Gardnerian PAS model we entirely nullify ALL of the arguments against “parental alienation.” You don’t have a single obstacle standing between you and your children except ignorance.  I have nullified ALL of the criticisms of “parental alienation” for you.

You’re welcome.

Go forth and get your children back. First, the battle for mental  health. We are going to clean the pathogen from mental heath.  Then we use the power of our new ally of mental health to turn the legal response into what is needed (i.e., an efficient and limited cost means to obtain a protective separation). Once we turn the legal system to  be able to efficiently acquire a protective separation of your child from the pathogen of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent, then we can treat and restore your children’s healthy authenticity. And that means their authentic love for you, their authentic moms and dads who have loved them, and fought for them. 

That’s what we’re going to make happen. That’s what YOU are going to make happen.

But this means you MUST march and battle under the banner of an attachment-based model. You CANNOT bring Gardnerian PAS with you. If you bring Gardnerian PAS into the battle, the pathogen will eat you for breakfast and pick its teeth with your bones.

To recover your children we must relinquish the Gardnerian PAS model. I recognized this early on, and I made the decision that your children are far more important than professional egos about being “right.” If we can rescue and recover your children, and restore them to you, by conceding defeat over Gardnerian PAS. Works for me. Let’s do it.

I don’t care one whit for who’s right and who’s wrong in our professional debate. I don’t care one whit for professional egos. All I care about, the ONLY thing I care about is retuning your children to your embrace. If it takes relinquishing Gardnerian PAS to do that. No problem… AS LONG AS YOUR CHILDREN ARE RETURNED TO YOU.

But let me be abundantly clear on this… we will not compromise on the return of your children. Under NO circumstances will we endure another day of your children’s psychological abuse by the pathogenic parent. It stops. Today.

We are not “asking” for professional mental health to become competent. Oh no, no, no. We are EXPECTING professional mental health to BE competent.

In Foundations I have made you dangerous to ignorance. That has been my goal all along. To empower you. To make you dangerous.

The pathogen locates allies through binding sites of ignorance.  By making you dangerous to ignorance, I have given you a weapon to separate the pathogen from its allies.

It was a trade. In order to make you dangerous, I needed to relinquish the Gardnerian PAS model. The criticism of the Gardnerian PAS model was that it was not based in established science. Okay then, challenge accepted. And I set about developing an alternative model that is based entirely within standard and established scientific foundations. I’ve done that. It’s described in Foundations.

Foundations makes you dangerous to the binding sites of ignorance.

Read Foundations to acquire the words-of-power.  Then pay particular attention to Section 4: Professional Issues. This section is the weapon forged from the Foundations.

In becoming dangerous to the binding sites of ignorance, you have become empowered to rescue your children.  There is a specific meme-structure on the pathogen that seeks to dis-empower you. Pretty effective isn’t it. This meme-structure exploits allies, the binding sites of ignorance.  This is where the pathogen is vulnerable.  Cut it off from the binding sites of ignorance, and it can no longer dis-empower you.

You are about to live into your power.

If you have not read Foundations, shame on you. There is NO WAY for you to engage in this upcoming battle for your children unless you become armed and dangerous to ignorance.

You CANNOT march into this battle under the banner of Gardnerian PAS. There will be NO Gardnerian banner on this battlefield. If you march under a Gardnerian banner, there will be no place for you in this fight. (Don’t worry, I am certain that Gardner would approve if it means defeating this pathogen.  And we’ll come back to honor his courage and insight once the fight is over).

You MUST march into this fight under the banner of the attachment-based model. If you march and fight under the attachment-based model, you will be victorious. I know this pathogen better than anyone on this planet. The attachment-based model is specifically designed to disable this specific pathogen.

In my upcoming YouTube videos I will lay out the strategy in detail. In two weeks, join me to go over our plans for the coming “battle for mental health.”  In the meantime, arm yourself with Foundations.  Become dangerous to ignorance.

Your Power

In the coming battle for your children, we are not going to be “asking”… the stakes are too high.  We are fighting to recover a healthy and normal-range childhood for your children. In the battle for mental health, we are not “asking for professional competence, we are expecting it. In Foundations, I have made you dangerous to ignorance.

You are stronger and more powerful than you know.

Like an earthquake under the ocean, the attachment-based model described in Foundations is like a tectonic shift in the earth that creates a tsunami.

The ocean is swelling, even as we speak, and the full power of this tsunami is headed to shore. But on the surface of the ocean, there is no evidence of the power that is building beneath it in a mighty wave. Beginning in July of 2015 this wave – you, the child’s authentic parent – will begin to reach the shores of professional mental health, and when you do, you will become an unstoppable force.

Foundations is the earthquake.  Become the unstoppable wave.  Find your power.

But hold no illusions. The pathogen is extremely powerful. Look what it’s done to you for 30 years. You will need all the power you can muster. Alone, you are one. Join together and you become a tsunami. You are unstoppable.

Field Banners

In historical times, armies marched into battle under banners of the various clans or nobles or nations. I would suggest that you consider doing the same.

I notice that many targeted parents make use of Internet memes to express ideas. I would encourage you to develop Field Banners with emblems of your clan or country. As many and as varied as you like. March and fight under the Field Banner you choose.

There is no more fierce animal than a mother bear defending her cub. What a wonderful symbol. Perhaps a ferocious bear protecting a child’s stuffed teddy bear.

Or perhaps another animal of power, or favorite animal, a lion, or wolf, or a griffin. Or perhaps a sheep or newt for all I care, as long as it’s a fierce and absolutely determined battle sheep, or battle newt. (ahhh, the feared “battle sheep.”  Sets me to trembling just thinking about it.)

Or perhaps your child has a favorite toy or activity, and you would like to make this the symbol of your battle. As many battlefield heralds as there are of you. Each clan, each family.

But more broadly too, come together under your nation’s battle herald. Australia, England, the U.S., Germany, the Netherlands, South Africa. Do you need a single national banner? Absolutely not. Who cares. This isn’t for them. It’s for you. It to rouse your heart and set your will.

What is the Field Banner of Foundations, of an attachment-based model of “parental alienation?” I don’t know. I’m open to suggestions.

But let this be clear. From this day forward, under NO circumstances will we tolerate your children’s psychological abuse at the hands of the pathogenic alienating parent.

It stops. There is no alternative.

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

Wake up!

Wake up!  Make noise.  Bang on pans with wooden spoons.  Yell, shout, rouse the sleeping.  The battle to recover your children is about to be engaged.  Wake up from the slumber of your victimization.

The road though the courts has been a failed road.  The road through mental health has been a failed road.  Your experience has been one of disempowerment and helplessness.  But all that is about to change.

When I started working on the solution seven years ago, I recognized the pathological structure of trauma. Your helplessness and victimization, with no way to make it stop. The pathogen we are fighting is a trauma pathogen. It acts in sophisticated ways to disempower you, to make you helpless to protect your beloved child.

To solve “parental alienation” requires that you, the targeted parent, the child’s authentically loving parent, become empowered to protect your children. Seven years ago I saw that. So seven years ago I set about that task, to empower you, the child’s authentic loving parent. To empower you to fight for your children, to protect your children, and to ultimately rescue and recover the authenticity and love of your children. 

For seven years I have been working toward that goal.  Making my progress available to you as quickly as possible through my website and blog.  But always working toward the ultimate goal of empowering you to be able to rescue and recover your children.

During that time, understandably desperate targeted parents repeatedly asked me for help, “Dr. Childress, help me. What can I do?” and my response has consistently been the same,

“Nothing. There is nothing you can do. As long as the mental health and legal systems remain so fundamentally broken, there is nothing you can do to protect your child. And if we cannot first protect your child, then we cannot rescue your child.”

I have always told you the truth, and I will unflinchingly speak truth to power. If there is any doubt, read Stark Reality, On Unicorns, the Tooth Fairy, and Reunification Therapy, or Child Custody Evaluations. I will not tell you something that is not true, and I will not give you false hope.

So listen carefully, the time to recover your children has arrived. Now. Today.

I would not say this to you if it wasn’t true.

But this is your fight, not mine. These are your children and it is ultimately for you to rescue them. This is your battle. I am not your warrior… I am your weapon.

Your Battle

A parent who endured the heartbreak of alienation recently had an insight about her alienation from her children. She told me,

“When I refer to myself as an alienated parent, I think of myself as a victim, and the abusing parent gets all of the power. We need a different vocabulary for the alienated parent and eventually the alienated child.”

She’s absolutely right.

My suggestion to her was to begin calling the abusive narcissistic/(borderline) parent the “pathogenic parent” – the parent who is inducing psychopathology in the child.

And to call the targeted parent – you – the “authentic parent.” For you are the authentic parent. You are fighting to protect the healthy development of your child.

In the wisdom of Solomon, when the two mothers disputed who was the true mother of the child, Solomon ordered that the child be cut in two and that half be given to each parent. The false parent agreed, but the child’s true mother said no, and said that the child should instead be given to the other woman. The child’s true mother would rather give up the child to a false parent than see the child destroyed. In his wisdom, Solomon recognized the child’s true mother and awarded the child to the authentic parent.

The pathogenic narcissistic/(borderline) parent is willing to destroy the child.  You are not.  Because of this, you lose your loving relationship with your child to the pathology of the pathogenic parent.  You are the authentic parent.  You are fighting for the healthy development of your child.

As the authentic parent you must rise up to protect your children. You must rescue your children from the pathology of the pathogenic parent.

Authentic Parent:  “But Dr. Childress, how can I protect my child when mental health and the legal system collude with the pathology?”

Dr. Childress:  You’re absolutely right. So our first step is to get mental health to stop colluding with the pathology.

Once we have mental health as your ally, our second step is to get our ALLY of mental health to use its power to get the court system to protect your child. 

That is what we are going to do… That is what YOU are going to do, over the next six months to a year.

Authentic Parent:  “How?  How am I going to be able to do that?”

Dr. Childress:  <smiling>  Well now, that’s just what we’re going to be taking about in the weeks ahead.

But in the coming battle, I am not your warrior. I cannot fight this battle for you. But I AM your weapon.  For seven years I have been forging the weapon for you to use in exactly this battle.

The pathogen we are up against is vicious, dangerous, and very powerful.  But so are we.  We are fighting to recover your children. We will rescue your children, all of your children.  Because we must.

This is your fight.  I am your weapon.

Two Weeks

In two weeks I am going to post a series of YouTube videos speaking directly to targeted parents regarding the strategy for the upcoming battle to rescue and recover your children.

In this series of YouTube videos I’m going to lay it all out for you. You can watch them, your friends can watch them, the media can watch them, all of mental health can watch them. There will be no secret about our strategy. We want people to know exactly what we’re doing. 

We will not, under any circumstances, continue to surrender your children to their psychological abuse by the pathogenic parent.  It stops.  We will begin to fight back.

The pathogen we are fighting disempowers you, it seeks to make you victims.

In the days ahead, you will be victims no more.  You are about to live into your power.  For seven years I have been forging your weapon against this pathogen.  It is ready. 

Our Adversary is Ignorance

The pathogen we fight seeks allies, principally in mental health, but also in the legal system. It then exploits the power of these allies to disempower you, and to disable any effort to interfere with the enactment of the pathology. 

To locate allies, the pathogen seeks “binding sites of ignorance” in mental health (i.e., ignorant mental health professionals) to infect the mental health system and disable its response to the pathogen. Once it locates a “binding site of ignorance,” it then does it’s “dance of display” to entice and seduce the ignorance into becoming an ally.

The pathogen then exploits the ally to disempower you and to disable efforts to interfere with the enactment of the pathology.

Our response is going to be to disempower the pathogen by cutting it off the from its allies in mental health.  

We are going to target the binding sites of ignorance that the pathogen is using to achieve its power to disempower you and its power to disable our efforts to stop the pathology.

Our adversary is ignorance. The vulnerability of the pathogen is the binding sites of ignorance which it uses to acquire allies

You must arm yourself with knowledge.  If you have not already bought Foundations, shame on you.  Foundations is our weapon.  Our weapon is knowledge.  Our adversary is ignorance.  We are going to cut the pathogen off from its binding sites of ignorance that the pathogen uses to gain access to the mental health system, that then allows the pathogen to disable the mental health response to the pathogen.

For seven years I have forged the weapon. It is ready. Read Foundations. You will need the words it contains in the coming battle – role-reversal; regulatory object; splitting; attachment schemas; trauma reenactment; special population. The pathogen we fight is powerful. Its ally is ignorance. Your weapon is knowledge.

Wake up, and prepare yourself. The time to commiserate in your helplessness and suffering is over. The time for empowerment and action has arrived.

Your weapon has been forged. It is available to you. Read Foundations, watch the YouTube series, and let’s set about the task to be accomplished.

In this opening round of battles, we are going to demand – not ask – demand – a revision of the APA Statement on Parental Alienation Syndrome based on an attachment based model of “parental alienation” as laid out in Foundations.  And we are going to demand – again, not ask – demand – formal recognition of your children and your families as representing a “special population” requiring specialized knowledge and expertise to diagnose and treat, based on an attachment-based model of “parental alienation.”

Arm yourself.  Read Foundations.  It is your weapon.

Learn the words of empowerment.  Role-reversal; regulatory object; reenactment narrative; cross-generational coalition; splitting.  But focus on the final section of Professional Issues.  The first three sections establish the foundations, but the final section is your weapon, forged from the foundation of the first three sections.

I will give to two weeks to prepare yourself.  Then I will begin to move forward once more. Time is precious.

Upcoming Resources

Here’s a preview of additional publications that are planned to be appearing on Amazon.com over the next few months.

Late June:

Essays on Attachment-Based Parental Alienation: The Internet Writings of Dr. Childress

This will be a compilation of my website and blog essays. Nothing new, but a more convenient format for newly discovering mental health professionals.

An Attachment-Based Model of Parental Alienation: Single Case ABAB Assessment & Remedy

This booklet is designed for targeted parents to provide to the court through their attorneys, parenting coordinators, guardians ad litem, therapists, custody evaluators, or simply pro se, as a proposed approach to an empirically-based assessment of attachment-based “parental alienation” in cases where there may be some doubt (of the court’s) as to whether there is “parental alienation,” or alternatively as a remedy version of the ABAB protocol in cases where there is likely “parental alienation.”

We are beginning to work on the next phase of addressing the legal system response.

Across the Summer and Fall:

I have a series of booklets planned for the various “bystanders” in the trauma reenactment narrative (I’m trying to keep these booklets to about the 75 to 100 page range – shorter is better), with the following titles:

The Narcissistic Parent: A Mental Health Guide for Children’s Attorneys

The Borderline Parent: A Mental Health Guide for Children’s Attorneys

These booklets are comprised primarily of quotes from the research literature with my commentary surrounding the areas of pathology documented by these quotes.

Assessment and Remedy for Parental Alienation: Guidelines for Child Custody Evaluation

A discussion of the constructs of “parental capacity” and the assessment of parenting.

The capacity for empathy is THE central defining feature of “parental capacity” and needs to be the central defining feature in any assessment of parenting. Narcissistic and borderline personalities are characterologically incapable of empathy. Assessing for narcissistic and borderline personality processes in a parent therefore becomes a central professional obligation of child custody evaluations.

Treating Parental Alienation in High-Conflict Divorce: A Therapist’s Guidebook

Provides the basic structure for treating the pathology of attachment-based “parental alienation” using therapy principles and constructs.

Understanding Children and Families of High-Conflict Divorce: A Guide for Teachers, Principals, and School Counselors

A broad discussion of the family processes of high-conflict divorce and how school personnel can support children caught in the middle of their parents’ spousal conflict

Fall of 2015:

An Attachment-Based Model of Parental Alienation: Diagnosis

This will be the second book in the series (Foundations – Diagnosis – Treatment). In this book I will more fully elaborate on the three diagnostic indicators for attachment-based parental alienation and on the DSM-5 diagnosis for this pathology.

Linked to the discussion of the DSM-5 diagnosis of attachment-based “parental alienation” will be a discussion dedicated to the issues surrounding a more explicit inclusion of an attachment-based model of “parental alienation” into the DSM diagnostic system (in the Trauma and Stress Related Disorders section).

The primary focus of the Diagnosis book, however, will be to provide a full description of each of the variety of associated characteristic features (Associated Clinical Signs) of attachment-based “parental alienation” that regularly co-occur in association with this pathology. I touched on several of these associated clinical signs in Foundations, such as:

The use of the specific term “forced” to characterize efforts to encourage the child’s formation of a bonded relationship with the targeted parent (“I don’t want to be forced to see my mom. Maybe later, when I’m ready.” – “I can’t force the child to go on visitations with the other parent.”);

The allied parent seeking to have the child testify in court to reject the targeted parent;

The various themes of rejection offered by the child (and by the narcissistic/(borderline) parent), such as a past “unforgivable event” that is used to justify the child’s rejection of the targeted parent (these characteristic themes for rejection are actually projections of narcissistic/borderline personality traits onto the targeted parent)

Statements by the allied narcissistic/(borderline) parent of “We need to listen to what the child wants” and “We should let the child decide whether to go on visitations,”

The “exclusion demand” made by the child that the targeted parent be excluded from attending the child’s events

In Diagnosis, I will more fully elaborate on each one of the many associated clinical signs evidenced in attachment-based “parental alienation,” providing a full description for why we see that specific associated clinical sign.

Foundations was first. Then comes Diagnosis. Treatment is planned for the spring of 2016 (but I’m hoping that Treatment may not be necessary because “parental alienation” will, hopefully, be solved by the spring of 2016. It’s your fight, it’s up to you).

September/October of 2015 (following Diagnosis)

Conducting a Treatment Needs Assessment of Parental Alienation: An Alternative to Child Custody Evaluations

This booklet will be an instructional guide directed toward mental health professionals for conducting a focused assessment of the three diagnostic indicators of attachment-based “parental alienation” for the court.

A focused treatment needs assessment will require about six hours of clinical interviews, two hours of report writing, and can be completed in less than six weeks at a cost of less than $2,000, as an alternative to a full child custody evaluation.

This will be a companion booklet to Diagnosis and to the Single-Case ABAB Assessment & Remedy booklet for the court.

This is an ambitious writing schedule, we’ll see how much I can get done.  We are moving forward.  Behind the scenes, the solutions to the legal system and therapy are being worked out.  First mental health. Then the legal system. Then therapy. The battle for mental health is about to be engaged. Wake up and empower yourself. The time to recover your children has arrived.

And we plan to recover ALL the children, even the adult survivors of childhood alienation. I will have a special YouTube segment discussing the strategy for recovering the adult survivors of childhood alienation.

I will give you about two weeks to empower yourself with the constructs of Foundations.  I will then post a series of YouTube videos discussing the strategy for recovering your children.

For the Gardnerian PAS experts, the time for sitting on the fence is rapidly coming to a close. You must decide on a paradigm. The Gardnerian paradigm offers no solution. The attachment-based paradigm does. Join us and add the power of your voice to enacting the solution to “parental alienation.”

I will wait two weeks for you to arm yourself with Foundations. Then I will begin to move forward once more to rescue and recover the children. Time is precious.

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

Foundations: Recovering your Children

My book, “An Attachment-Based Model of Parental Alienation: Foundations” is on its way.  I’m anticipating it will be available June 1 on Amazon.com.  It will fundamentally alter the dialogue surrounding the construct of “parental alienation.”

It defines the construct of “parental alienation” from entirely within standard and established psychological principles and constructs. 

It fully and completely describes the psychopathology. 

It fully and completely describes the complex and manipulative communication processes by which the narcissistic/(borderline) alienating parent induces the child’s rejection of the other parent. 

It fully and completely describes the core pathology of the narcissistic/(borderline) personality that is creating the pathology of “parental alienation.”

Everything is explained.  Everything.

In the final three chapters, I turn to professional issues. In this discussion I provide a broad overview of diagnosis, treatment, and professional competence.

Attachment-based “parental alienation” is defined as psychological child abuse that REQUIRES the child’s protective separation from the pathogenic parenting practices of the alienating narcissistic/(borderline) parent during the active phase of the child’s treatment and recovery.

From Foundations (Childress, 2015):

“The creation of significant developmental, personality, and psychiatric psychopathology in the child through highly aberrant and distorted parenting practices as a means for the parent to then exploit the induced child psychopathology to regulate the parent’s own psychopathology warrants the DSM-5 diagnosis of V995.51 Child Psychological Abuse, Confirmed. The form of the child psychological abuse is a role-reversal relationship in which the child’s induced psychopathology is used to regulate the psychological state of the parent. The psychological child abuse is confirmed by the presence in the child’s symptom display of the three definitive diagnostic indicators of attachment-based “parental alienation.” When the three diagnostic indicators of attachment-based “parental alienation” are present, the DSM-5 diagnosis of V995.51 Child Psychological Abuse, Confirmed is warranted because of the highly destructive developmental impact on the child that is created through the child’s role-reversal relationship with the narcissistic/(borderline) parent.” (p. 312)

“Attachment-based “parental alienation” is a child protection issue. When the three definitive diagnostic indicators of attachment-based “parental alienation” are present, providing an immediate protective separation for the child from the severely distorting pathogenic parenting practices of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent represents both a warranted and a necessary child protection response to the severity of the role-reversal pathology.” (p. 322)

“Attachment-based “parental alienation” is not a child custody issue, it is a child protection issue.” (p. 257).

In the final chapter I take professional mental health to task for its prior ignorance and incompetence in colluding with the psychopathology of “parental alienation” (i.e., the “bystander” role that I discuss earlier in the book in the trauma reenactment section), in which ignorant and incompetent mental health professionals directly contribute to and collaborate with the destruction of children’s lives and the lives of targeted parents.

From Foundations (Childress, 2015):

“The children and families evidencing attachment-based “parental alienation” represent a special population requiring specialized professional knowledge, training, and expertise to appropriately and competently diagnose and treat. Failure to possess the necessary specialized knowledge, training, and professional expertise needed to appropriately assess, diagnose, and treat this special population of children and families likely represents practice beyond the boundaries of professional competence in possible violation of professional practice standards. To the extent that professional ignorance and practice beyond the boundaries of professional competence then causes harm to the child client and to the targeted parent, the mental health professional may become vulnerable to professional or legal sanctions.

Given the domains of psychological processes involved in attachment-based “parental alienation,” three areas of professional expertise are required for professional competence in assessing, diagnosing, and treating this special population of children and families…” (pp. 341-342)

“If a mental health professional wants to work with this special population of children and families, it is incumbent upon the mental health professional to acquire the necessary knowledge and expertise needed to appropriately assess, diagnose, and treat this special population of children and families. Professional competence is not a suggested professional practice, it is a professional obligation. Otherwise, the mental health professional should refer the client child and family to someone who does possesses the necessary knowledge and professional expertise necessary to competently assess, diagnose, and treat this special population of children and families.” (p. 351)

The battle for the recovery of your children is about to be joined in earnest.  When “Foundations” becomes available on Amazon.com, you must read this book, and then you must get this book into the hands of every therapist, child custody evaluator, parent coordinator, attorney, and legal professional who deals with “parental alienation.”

With “Foundations,” the solution to “parental alienation” becomes immediately available.  The only barrier becomes the ignorance, indolence, and inertia of professional mental health.  Once the paradigm shifts in mental health, we will turn our full attention and focus to the legal system.  Mental health must become your ally first.  Then, with mental heath as your staunch ally, we will enlist the legal system as your ally in the recovery of your children from the pathology of “parental alienation.” 

The battle for your children is about to be joined.

Here is a description of the theoretical overview of an attachment-based model of “parental alienation” from the Introduction chapter of my book (pp. 17-22)


From “An Attachment-Based Model of Parental Alienation: Foundations” pages 17-22:

Theoretical Overview

          The psychological processes involved in attachment-based “parental alienation” are complex, but they become increasingly self-evident with familiarity.  The primary reason for the initial apparent complexity of the dynamics is that they involve the psychological expressions within family relationship patterns of a narcissistic/(borderline) personality structure that has its origins in early attachment trauma from the childhood of the parent which is influencing, and in fact driving, the patterns of relationship interactions currently being expressed within the family.  The inner psychological processes of the narcissistic/(borderline) mind are inherently complex and swirling, and linking these distorted personality processes into the functioning of the underlying attachment system adds another level of complexity.  However, the nature of the pathology is stable across cases of “parental alienation,” so that this consistency in the pathology provides ever increasing clarity of understanding from increasing familiarity for the concepts.

            Fully understanding these seemingly complex psychological and family factors requires an integrated recognition of the psychological and interpersonal dynamics across three interrelated levels of clinical analysis, 1) the family systems level, 2) the personality disorder level, and 3) the attachment system level.  Each of these levels individually provides a coherent explanatory model for the dynamics being expressed in “parental alienation,” and yet each individual level is also an interconnected expression of the pathology contained at the other two levels of analysis as well, so that a complete recognition of the psychopathology being expressed as “parental alienation” requires a conceptual understanding of the process across all three distinctly different, yet interconnected, levels of analysis.

          The family systems processes involve the family’s inability to successfully transition from an intact family structure that is united by the marital relationship to a separated family structure that is united by the continuing parental roles with the child.  The difficulty in the family’s ability to transition from an intact family structure to a separated family structure is manifesting in the child’s triangulation into the spousal conflict through the formation of a cross-generational coalition with one parent (the allied and supposedly favored parent) against the other parent (the targeted-rejected parent).  These principles are standard and established family systems constructs that are extensively discussed and described by preeminent family systems theorists, such as Salvador Minuchin and Jay Haley.

          The problems occurring at the family systems level of analysis have their origin in the narcissistic/(borderline) personality dynamics of the allied and supposedly favored parent.  The personality pathology of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent is creating a distorted emotional and psychological response in this parent to the psychological stresses associated with the interpersonal rejection and perceived abandonment surrounding the divorce.  The inherent interpersonal rejection associated with divorce triggers specific psychological vulnerabilities for the narcissistic/(borderline) parent, who then responds in characteristic but pathological ways that adversely influence the child’s relationship with the other parent.

            The characteristic psychopathology of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent draws the child into a role-reversal relationship with the parent in which the child is used by the narcissistic/(borderline) parent as an external “regulatory object” to help the narcissistic/(borderline) parent regulate three separate but interrelated sources of intense anxiety that were triggered by the divorce,

  • Narcissistic Anxiety: The threatened collapse of the parent’s narcissistic defenses against an experience of core-self inadequacy that is being activated by the interpersonal rejection associated with the divorce;
  • Borderline Anxiety: The triggering of severe abandonment fears as a result of the divorce and dissolution of the intact family structure;
  • Trauma Anxiety: The activation and re-experiencing of excessive anxiety embedded in attachment trauma networks from the childhood of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent that become active when the attachment system of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent activates in order to mediate the loss experience associated with the divorce.

          At the core level of the psychological and family dynamics that are traditionally described as “parental alienation” is the attachment trauma of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent that is being triggered and then reenacted in current family relationships.  It is this childhood attachment trauma of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent that is responsible for creating the narcissistic and borderline pathology of this personality.  The childhood attachment trauma experienced by the narcissistic/(borderline) parent subsequently coalesced during this parent’s adolescence and young adulthood into the narcissistic and borderline personality structures that are driving the distorted relationship dynamics associated with the “parental alienation.”  The childhood attachment trauma (i.e., a disorganized attachment) creates the narcissistic and borderline personality structures that then distort the family’s transition from an intact family structure to a separated family structure.

            At the foundational core for triggering this integrated psychological and interpersonal dynamic is the reactivation by the divorce of attachment trauma networks from the childhood of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent that are contained within the internal working models of this parent’s attachment system.  The representational schemas for this childhood attachment trauma are in the pattern of “victimized child”/“abusive parent”/“protective parent,” and it is this trauma pattern from the childhood of the “alienating” narcissistic/(borderline) parent that is being reenacted in the current family relationships.

          The childhood trauma patterns for role-relationships contained within the internal working models of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent’s attachment system are being reenacted in current family relationships.  The current child is adopting the trauma reenactment role as the “victimized child.” The child’s role as the “victimized child” then imposes the reenactment role of the “abusive parent” onto the targeted parent, and the coveted role in the trauma reenactment narrative of the all-wonderful “protective parent” is being adopted and conspicuously displayed by the narcissistic/(borderline) parent to the “bystanders” in the trauma reenactment.  The “bystanders” in the trauma reenactment are represented by the various therapists, parenting coordinators, custody evaluators, attorneys, and judges.  Their role in the trauma reenactment is to endorse the “authenticity” of the reenactment narrative.  These “bystanders” also serve the function of providing the narcissistic/(borderline) parent with the “narcissistic supply” of social approval for the presentation by the narcissistic/(borderline) parent as being the idealized and all-wonderful “protective parent.”

          At its foundational core, “parental alienation” represents the reenactment of a false drama of abuse and victimization from the childhood of a narcissistic/(borderline) parent that is embedded in the internal working models of the “alienating” parent’s attachment networks.  This false drama of the reenactment narrative is created by the psychopathology of a narcissistic/(borderline) parent in response to the psychological stresses of the divorce and the reactivation of attachment trauma networks as a consequence of the divorce experience.  In actual truth, there is no victimized child, there is no abusive parent, and there is no protective parent.  It is a false drama, an echo of a childhood trauma from long ago, brought into the present by the pathological consequences of the childhood trauma in creating the distorting narcissistic/(borderline) personality structures of the alienating parent.

          The child, for his or her part, is caught within this reenactment narrative by the distorting psychopathology and invalidating communications of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent that nullify the child’s own authentic self-experience in favor of the child becoming a narcissistic reflection for the parent.  Under the distorting pathogenic influence of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent, the child is led into misinterpreting the child’s authentic grief and sadness at the loss of the intact family, and later at the loss of an affectionally bonded relationship with the targeted parent, as representing something “bad” that the targeted parent must be doing to create the child’s hurt (i.e., the child’s grief and sadness).  The (influenced) misinterpretation by the child for an authentic experience of grief and loss is then further inflamed by distorted communications from the narcissistic/(borderline) that transform the child’s authentic sadness into an experience of anger and resentment toward the targeted parent who (supposedly) caused the divorce and who (supposedly) is causing the child’s continuing emotional pain (i.e., the child’s misunderstood and misinterpreted feelings of grief and sadness).

          Through a process of distorted parental communications by the narcissistic/(borderline) parent, the child is led into adopting the “victimized child” role within the trauma reenactment narrative.  Once the child adopts the “victimized child” role within the trauma reenactment narrative, this “victimized child” role automatically imposes upon the targeted parent the role as the “abusive parent,” and then the combined role definitions of the “abusive parent” and “victimized child” that are created the moment the child adopts the “victimized child” role allows the narcissistic/(borderline) parent to adopt the coveted trauma reenactment role as the all-wonderful nurturing and “protective parent,” which will then be so conspicuously displayed to the “bystanders” for their validation and “narcissistic supply.”

          The description of an attachment-based model for the construct of “parental alienation” will uncover the layers of pathology, beginning with the surface level of the family systems dynamics involving the family’s difficulty in making the transition from an intact family structure to a separated family structure.  The description will then move into the personality disorder level to describe how the pathological characteristics of the narcissistic/(borderline) personality structures become expressed in the family relationship dynamics, particularly surrounding the formation of the role-reversal relationship of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent with the child in which the child is used (exploited) as a “regulatory other” for the psychopathology and anxiety regulation of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent.  Finally, the origins of the “parental alienation” process in the attachment trauma networks of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent will be examined, with a particular focus on the induced suppression of the child’s attachment bonding motivations and the formation and expression of the trauma reenactment narrative.

          Following this discussion of the theoretical foundations for an attachment-based model of “parental alienation,” a broad overview of the diagnostic considerations emanating from an attachment-based model of “parental alienation” will be discussed, and three definitive diagnostic indicators for identifying attachment-based “parental alienation” will be described.  A descriptive framework for a model of “reunification therapy” will also be presented which will be based on the theoretical underpinnings for an attachment-based model of the “parental alienation.”  Finally, a discussion of the domains of knowledge necessary for professional competence in diagnosing and treating this special population of children and families will be identified.

From: “An Attachment-Based Model of Parental Alienation: Foundations” C.A. Childress, 2015, pages 17-22.


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

References: 

Childress, C.A. (2015). An atttachment-based model of parental alienation: Foundations. Claremont, CA: Oaksong Press.