Do the Gardnerians Stand With Us?

To targeted parents:  Identify your allies.  Bring your allies.  Ask organizations to endorse the Petition to the APA.

The Petition to the American Psychological Association

I will seek to bring your allies too.

In November of 2015, two years ago, I described the APA end game strategy which is now here.

APA End Game

Read the APA End Game.

Fully two years ago I was trying as hard as I could to recruit your allies at the time, the Gardnerian PAS “experts,” to cooperate with us in solving the pathology of “parental alienation.”

In a continuing effort to enlist their cooperation, I have now extended an offer to Karen Woodall for a professional-level discussion of the pathology.

Professional Conversation

Now, the APA end game that I described two years ago is here.

I am calling on your allies to formally endorse the Petition to the APA.

I am asking Dr. Bernet, Karen Woodall, Amy Baker, Linda Gottlieb, and the Parental Alienation Study Group to sign the Petition to the APA, and to make a formal statement endorsing the Petition to the American Psychological Association.

It’s time for your allies to stand with us, to join us in our fight for your children.

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

The Information-Structures of the Petition to the APA

The Petition to the APA contains a set of “meme-structures” – in fact, several sets of parallel and overlapping “information-structures” are contained within the Petition.

I want to take a moment and identify some of them. 

Think of the Petition as an information-virus.  The information-structures (meme-structures) of the Petition represent the viral DNA code of knowledge that is going to be inserted into the institution of the APA.

Information-Structure: Professional Knowledge & Competence

This is an unstoppable information structure.  The Petition itself is simply a small pebble.  The information-structure of professional knowledge and competence is the power.  This first small pebble of the competence information-structure will increasingly become a battering ram, a catapult, a trebuchet, and a cannon in each transformation.

The battle is to claim the narrative.  The pathogen has its narrative, and it has used this narrative to captivate allies and disable the response of the mental health system to the pathology.  The meme-structures of AB-PA are designed to claim the narrative.

For example, the narcissistic/(borderline) parent claims to be the “protective parent.” 

No.  We are claiming the narrative.  The targeted parent is the protective parent, and it is the allied narcissistic/(borderline) parent who is the abusive parent.  We are protectively separating the child from the abusive narcissistic/(borderline) parent.

All of the information structures of the Petition claim the narrative, beginning with the Prelude. 

I chose the term Prelude intentionally, because I see the Petition as a musical piece with a Prelude and Five Movements.  The fifth Movement is simply a return to the themes of the Prelude (an ouroboros). 

The organizing core theme of the entire Petition – the central organizing information-structure – is a call for professional knowledge and competence.  This information-structure is unstoppable.

No one in the APA can credibly argue that there is an “acceptable level” of professional ignorance and incompetence that is allowable. 

The central meme-structure of the Petition asserts the high-ground of professional responsibility.  This is a central organizing information-structure that 100% of psychologists can agree to.

This information structure is unstoppable.  It serves as a battering ram information-structure.  Professional competence.  All we seek is the APA’s support in obtaining professional competence.  Bam – the information structure of professional competence, Standard 2.01a of the APA ethics code, beats against the doors of the APA. 

Professional competence is a right guaranteed by Standards 2.01a and 2.03 of the APA ethics code.  Bam against the doors of the APA.

All we seek is the APA’s support in obtaining professional competence.  Bam against the doors of the APA. 

We are going to force them argue that there is an “acceptable” level of ignorance and incompetence allowable.  They can’t do that.  We own the high-ground.

All we seek is the APA’s support in obtaining professional competence.  Bam against the doors of the APA. 

Over time, we will turn the battering ram into a catapult, then into a trebuchet hurling boulders at the APA’s walls, then into a cannon that simply blast open the door.  This information structure of professional competence is unstoppable with the APA.  They will support the principles of their own ethics code.  It is inevitable.

Support Meme-Structures: The Four Domains

A second set of meme-structures activates immediately upon the introduction of the competence information-structure.  The four domains of knowledge meme-structures define the knowledge required for professional competence; the attachment system, personality disorder pathology, family systems therapy, complex trauma.

The specific meme-structure nuggets are:

Pathological mourning
Cross-generational coalition
Narcissistic/borderline personality
Attachment trauma
Pathogenic parenting

The information-structure of professional competence will open the doors of the APA.  The four domains of knowledge meme-structures are the “viral dna-code” of knowledge structures that will enter the host organism – the APA.

Information Structure:  The Voice of Parents

The Prelude represents the voice of parents.  In the Prelude I am blunt and direct, because the stultified attitude of professional psychology needs to hear the suffering.  The APA is asleep to the suffering.  The direct voice of suffering and pain needs to wake them from their slumber.

I chose strong words and made strong allegations toward my professional colleagues.  I’m sure I’m not making friends among my professional colleagues.  I don’t care.  They need to hear the voice of parents.  The lives of children are being destroyed by the collusive incompetence of ignorant mental health persons.

The APA, and all of professional psychology needs to hear that statement.  If someone says,

“Back that up Dr. Childress.  Show me the evidence that the lives of children are being destroyed by the ignorance and incompetence of mental health professionals.”

I’ll respond with,

13,000.  The Petition to the APA has 13,000 signatures.  There are your 13 thousand data points of evidence.

Your signatures determine how strong you want this rebuttal response to be.  I would urge you to make it as strong as possible.  When I’m in dialogue with the APA and I’m asked for “evidence” of the problem’s magnitude, my response will be to cite the number of current signatures to the Petition.  When I’m asked for “evidence” that the problem is as bad as I say it is, I’ll go on the Internet and directly read the current number of signatures to the Petition.

It’s up to you how strong you want to become.  20,000?  More?  80,000?

The Prelude is the voice of children.  This isn’t about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.  This is about the lost bonds of love between a parent and a child.  We are restoring that bond.  We need the support of the APA.

So while my initial challenging words in the Prelude are blunt, the message they deliver is one of love.  We are fighting to protect the emotional and psychological development of children.  We will fight fiercely for children.  And we are fighting for love, and peace, and happiness. 

This is the meme-structure of the Prelude:  We will fight fiercely to protect children.  It is a message of love.

“Dr. Childress, prove that it’s as bad as you say.”

13,000 signatures.  13,000 voices.

Information-Structure: The Four Domains of Knowledge

Once the information-structure of professional competence opens the door of the APA, the viral meme-structures of AB-PA will insert their expansive “dna-code” of knowledge into the APA.  Articles 1 and 2 contain the individual meme-structures comprising the larger four domains of knowledge information-structure.  Each quote used in Article 1 and Article 2 is a meme-structure packet that will expand once inside the APA – attachment pathology, personality pathology, complex trauma.  

Each quote is a knowledge seed, an individual meme-structure packet that will expand once it finds a fertile mind.

Information-Structure:  Problem to Solution

The  information-structures of the Prelude and professional competence voice the problem, the four domains of knowledge meme-structures provide the solution.  This becomes a linking set, a coupling of information-structures.  The professional competence information structure opens the door.  The four domains of knowledge provide the content (the “dna” information of the knowledge structure).

The four domains of knowledge information-structures are critical to the strength of the Petition, since these are the specific meme-structures that will propagate from brain-to-brain within professional psychology.  In organizing this set of meme-structures, I tried to limit the introduction of “new” constructs as much as possible.  The standard constructs of professional psychology are “new”  enough to the ignorant.  Which is why I rely on so many quotes rather than statements by me with citation reference.  I’m using a delivery vehicle for these meme-structures of recognized authorities in professional psychology – Bowlby; Minuchin; Beck.

The information-structures of the four domains of knowledge are exceedingly strong.  They will hold the knowledge weight that serves as the foundation for professional competence.  The professional competence and four domains of knowledge are linked information-structures, and once we turn the corner on these, the four domains of knowledge open the ethics meme structures.

Information-Structure: Ethics

This too is an unstoppable information-structure.

By defining the pathology entirely using standard and established constructs and principles (the four domains of knowledge) the Petition activates Standards 2.01a and 2.03 of the APA ethics code.  We have identified domains of knowledge required for professional competence.

There is no credible argument that the APA can make that there is an “acceptable” violation of the APA ethics code.  We have claimed the high-ground of the APA ethics code.

The ethics meme-structure set originates in the ground foundation of the APA’s own ethics code, which is then linked through the four domains of knowledge into a petition for action; a statement of support from the APA for its own ethics code, and a statement of support from the APA for professional competence.

Information-Structures: The Action Structures

The meme-structures of the Petition to the APA have linked a voiced problem (the Prelude) to an identified solution (the four domains of knowledge).  Article 4 introduces the action meme-structures.

The sought for action is clear, 1, 2, 3. 

The sought for action is specific (offering specific suggested wording for the statements). 

The sought for action unfolds through three time frames, immediate (Remedy 1), intermediate (Remedy 2), and longer-term (Remedy 3).

Within this information-structure, we solve the “controversy” surrounding Gardnerian PAS in Remedy 2 dealing with the APA’s Position Statement on PAS.  I discard Gardnerian PAS.  No more controversy.  No more endless argument.  Done.  We’re shifting to the four domains of knowledge needed for professional competence.  Everyone, 100% of professional psychology, can join in this unified solution to attachment-related pathology surrounding divorce.

The “controversy” is over.  Let’s get on with the solution.  We are ending the division in professional psychology and we are delivering the APA to targeted parents as their ally.

The longer-term action of a conference of experts is the meme-structure that leads to a solution to the broken family law court system.  The Petition to end “parental alienation” is the seed of change, the conference of experts is the fruit of this change.

We have claimed the high-ground.  The information-structure of professional competence is unstoppable.  The four domains of knowledge meme-structures provide a solid foundation on which to stand.  The ethics information-structure is unstoppable.  The action meme-structures are vibrant and alive.

Eventually, the APA will issue a statement endorsing its own ethics code.  It must.  This is an entirely reasonable request from the consumer population for psychological services, “Please endorse your ethics code so we can get professional competence out here.”  How can they possibly say no?  13,000 signatures.  20,000 signatures? The more signatures, the stronger your pressure on them.

These information structures are your siege weapons.  Your siege towers are already against the walls, having been constructed during your prior assault on the APA a year ago.  You already know the entry points, the contact points.  Expand the outreach to state psychological associations asking them to endorse the Petition to the APA.  Begin to ping the AFCC, asking for their endorsement to the Petition.

In its raw form, the Petition becomes a battering ram at the doors of the APA.  All we are seeking is professional competence – bam.   We simply want the APA to support its own ethics code – bam.  All we are seeking is professional competence – bam…

This set of siege weapons can also be taken to other citadels, other organizations and the media.  The AFCC.  The British Psychological Association.  State psychological associations.  State bar associations.  Ask them to endorse the Petition.  All we are seeking is professional competence – bam.  We simply want your endorsement of a call for professional competence – bam.  All we are seeking is… – bam.

In early childhood mental health there’s a saying, you have to introduce a new food to a toddler 11 times before the toddler tries it. The first 10 times, the food is too “foreign” for the toddler to risk actually putting in the mouth.  But by time 11, the child has now seen the food ten other times, the food is now “familiar,” and the toddler tries it.  We’re introducing a new food to a toddler – knowledge to the APA and professional psychology.  One time… two times… three times…

The Petition contains the viral “dna-code” of knowledge; of specific information-structures.  A virus takes control of the host cell by first attaching to an entry point on the host cell, and then it inserts its viral dna-code into the host cell.  Attach to the APA (and to any other organization) at an entry point, and insert the information-structures of the Petition (“Please endorse the Petition to the APA”), and let the meme-structures contained in the Petition propagate and expand within the organism – broadly across the mental health system.  

Some entry points may be disconnected from the organism as a whole, and the information-structures sent to these entry points will simply languish at the inactive entry point.  However, some entry points will propagate the information structures throughout the host organism – throughout the organization.  We won’t know if an entry point is active or inactive until we ask,

‘”Will xyz organization endorse the Petition to the APA?”

All of this is within the flow of that-which-leads.  Each of us has our role.  I am your resource.  You are the warrior.  The time is now.  The battle for your children is now.  The battle for the APA is here.

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

Find Your Allies; Bring Them

The Petition to the APA received 10,000 signatures on its first day.  You breath, and your power pulses.  You are more powerful than you know.  Come together into a single voice. 

Petition to the American Psychological Association 

I will begin my work on formal submission of the Petition to the APA.  In the meantime, continue recruiting allies.  We want to find all of your allies in this battle.  And toward that end I have something for you to do – find and bring your allies.

We want to leverage the Petition to the APA to call forth current allies and educate future allies.  I want you to continue to recruit signatures to the Petition, each signature represents a voice, an ally.  But let’s also identify your organizational allies, beginning with all state psychological associations. 

We are going to identify your current allies and begin recruiting your future allies by asking these organizational entities to formally endorse the Petition to the APA.

The remedies sought by the Petition to the APA are entirely reasonable.  The Petition is simply asking the APA to provide statements affirming the Standards of its own ethics code.  This is an entirely reasonable request. 

Supporting professional knowledge and professional competence is something every professional organization should be able to endorse. 

So then, let’s ask all professional organizations to please formally endorse the Petition to the APA.  Let’s identify your current allies, voices who will stand with you. 

But even if they don’t endorse, simply reading the Petition to the APA will educate them.  That is a very good thing.  We are recruiting them as your future allies.  The world is changing.

Start with your state’s psychological organization (such as the Pennsylvania Psychological Association, the New York Psychological Association, the Oregon Psychological Association, the North Carolina Psychological Association…)

I want you to ask all of your state psychological organizations to formally endorse the Petition to the APA.  Master’s level psychological organizations as well.  Every mental health organization, ask them to formally endorse the Petition to the APA.

Internationally, I would ask the same.  Ask your national and regional psychological organizations in your country to formally endorse the Petition to the APA.  (the British Psychological Association, the Australian Psychological Association, the Canadian Psychological Association, the Nederlands Instituut van Psychologen, the Polish Psychologists’ Association…).  Ask them to endorse the Petition to the APA.

We are identifying your current allies and bringing their voices to yours, and we are educating your future allies.  This is all good.

And let’s not stop at the mental health system.  Let’s seek the endorsement of legal organizations as well.  Let’s ask all of your state bar associations to endorse the Petition to the APA.  Will any of them endorse the Petition?  I don’t know.  Let’s find out.

How about law schools and graduate psychology programs at universities… would any of them formally endorse the Petition to the APA?  I don’t know.  I do know that they won’t endorse the Petition if they’re not asked.

What about all of your state licensing boards?  I doubt that they’ll take an official position on the Petition to the APA, but they will at least know about the issues.  Statement of Concern 4 speaks directly to licensing boards.  We are not only calling for current allies, we are educating future allies.

What about your state legislators… will they introduce legislation to endorse the Petition to the APA?  Maybe not, but at least its an opportunity to educate the office of your state legislator about the trauma to families and the unchecked professional ignorance and incompetence.  Ask for a formal statement from the office of the representative endorsing the Petition to the APA.

What about the media?  Do you think journalists and the media might be interested in the story of the Petition to the APA? 

Parents seeking professional competence from a broken mental health system.  Family’s destroyed by rampant and unchecked professional ignorance and incompetence in professional psychology. 

Parents calling out to the APA for relief, calling for the APA to affirm its  support for their own professional standards guaranteeing parents their foundational right to professional knowledge and professional competence in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of their children and families.

Do you think the media might be interested in that story?  I don’t know.  Let’s ask.

The Petition to the APA is on Change.org.  A pdf copy of the Petition to the APA is on my website, right at the top of the Parental Alienation section.  In seeking formal endorsements from organizations, you can link your request to the Petition directly or you can send a pdf of the Petition as part of your request.

I’d suggest writing a cover letter saying something like:

The lives of children and families experiencing attachment-related family pathology surrounding divorce are being destroyed by professional ignorance and incompetence. 

A Petition to the American Psychological Association signed by over X0,000 is gathering voices of support for the APA to affirm its Standards guaranteeing parents the right to professional competence in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of their children and families (Standard 2.01a of the APA ethics code).

I am requesting that the xyz organization also add its voice to this call for professional competence by formally endorsing the Petition to the APA regarding standards of professional competence in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of attachment-related pathology surrounding divorce.

You will find a copy of the Petition to the APA attached. 

Thank you for your consideration of this request that xyz organization provide a statement of support endorsing the Petition to the APA.

Emails to organizations may be one approach.  I think postal mail is always more powerful.  Even if they don’t formally endorse the Petition, or even if their endorsement takes ages to work its way through their endorsement process, these organizations become educated by simply reading the Petition.  The knowledge will percolate, embed itself, and they will become our future allies. 

Every professional quote in the Petition is a seed of knowledge planted in the mind of the reading mental health professional.  In the fertile soil of an authentic professional mind, each seed of knowledge will grow.  And just look how many seeds of knowledge the Petition contains, each quote is a seed.

All of Article 3 is a valuable seed of knowledge for licensing boards, with Statement of Concern 4 amplifying the message to licensing boards. 

Articles 1 and 2 provide an unraveling of the pathology for legal professionals and CPS social workers, familiarizing them with the vocabulary and concepts; a cross-generational coalition, pathogenic parenting, pathological mourning by a narcissistic/(borderline) parent, the psychological control of the child.

Education requires repeated exposure to familiarize the construct and begin to embed and anchor the information.  Each source of information, the Petition and the booklets – The Narcissistic Parent, the Assessment of Attachment-Related Pathology, the Contingent Visitation Schedule – provides a repetition and slightly varied extension of the information.  Through each source of information the knowledge becomes increasingly anchored and reinforced.

It’s time for all of your allies to join us on the battlefield.  The time is now.  The battle to recover your children, all of your children, is now.  Let’s identify your current allies and bring them to the field to join us, and let’s begin to recruit your future allies. 

For individuals, ask every person you know to sign the petition.  For organizations, ask every organization you can identify to endorse the petition.

Professional psychology associations.  Professional legal associations.  All licensing boards (CPS agencies?).  Media outlets.  Your extended family.  Your friends.  Identify all of your allies and bring them to the field, and begin to recruit your future allies. 

Organizations won’t endorse the Petition if they’re not asked.  No harm in asking:

“Please endorse… attached is the Petition to the APA.  Thank you.”

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

Petition to the APA

I have just posted the Petition to the APA to Change.org.

Petition to the American Psychological Association

I will formally submit this petition to the APA when it has 10,000 signatures.

This is the time for your voice to be heard.  You are the warriors for your children.  You are more powerful than you know.  Become an unstoppable force for change.

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

Time to Decide Karen

In September, I invited Karen Woodall and the clinical psychologist with whom she works to Certification training in the Bowlby-Minuchin-Beck model of attachment-based “parental alienation” (AB-PA).  A personal invitation for professional collaboration.

An Invitation to Karen Woodall

I extended the invitation to both Karen and her clinical psychologist, because apparently, according to Karen on her blogs, she is not professionally qualified to diagnose personality disorder pathology so she must refer cases of “parental alienation” involving suspected narcissistic or borderline personality disorder pathology of the parent to a clinical psychologist:

From Karen Woodall: “If I suspect a personality disorder is present I will ask our clinical psychologist to evaluate this and on the basis of this outcome we will design and deliver a treatment route, often in a team setting, sometimes headed by our clinical psychologist.”

I find this intriguing, since personality disorder pathology exists on a spectrum (mild, moderate, severe) and is often unrecognized during initial assessment presentations. 

From Beck:Underdiagnosis constitutes a big problem that results in insufficient treatment.  In many cases we saw, it took years of fruitless attempts to treat these patients before it became clear they were in fact suffering from BPD.” (Beck, et al. 2004 p. 196)

Dr. Childress Comment:  Aaron Beck is one of the preeminent leading figures in professional psychology.

From Cohen: “The perception [of narcissism in a patient] is hampered by the fact that narcissistic individuals may well be intelligent, charming, and sometimes creative people who function effectively in their professional lives and in a range of social situations… While narcissism is recognized as a serious mental disorder, its manifestations may not be immediately recognized as pathological, even by persons in the helping professions, and its implications may remain unattended to.” (Cohen, 1998, p. 197)

So I wonder… at what threshold does Karen refer to her “clinical psychologist to evaluate this”?  Might she be missing cases of parental narcissistic or borderline personality pathology because she is not personally capable or qualified to independently assess and independently diagnose parental personality pathology, and therefore doesn’t make the referral to her clinical psychologist in sub-threshold cases of personality disorder traits or features?  Because in addition to actual personality “disorders” there are also personality “traits” and “features” that don’t meet full diagnostic criteria for a “disorder.”  At what threshold does Karen refer to her clinical psychologist?

If she and her clinical psychologist had attended the AB-PA Certification in November, this could have been a very productive conversation between Karen, myself, and her clinical psychologist at the AB-PA Certification seminar.  After all, I am a clinical psychologist with an expertise in the area of pathogenic parenting by a narcissistic/(borderline) parent.  A lost opportunity for seemingly valuable professional-to-professional dialogue.

In my invitation to Karen and her clinical psychologist back in September, I explicitly offered a professional collaboration in solving the attachment-related pathology of “parental alienation” in the UK.

From An Invitation to Karen Woodall:

“And you know what Karen?  If you have an AB-PA Certified psychologist on staff at your clinic, and if you’re documenting your assessments using the instruments of AB-PA, then you can unleash me on the British mental health system. 

Hmmm, if I’m taking on the incompetent mental health assessment of attachment-related pathology in the British mental health system, it sure would be nice to have an AB-PA Certified psychologist in England who could conduct a proper assessment of AB-PA.  Hmmm, who could that be?  Hey, I know.  There is only one clinical psychologist in all of England who is AB-PA Certified.  Go to that person and you’ll get an exceptionally good diagnostic workup.

Come on Karen.  Personal invitation from Dr. C.  Come to Pasadena with your clinical psychologist in November.  Three days – Advanced Certification in AB-PA for both you and your clinical psychologist.  Then unleash me into your mental health system.”

Crickets.  No response from Karen.  I offer professional collaboration in solving “parental alienation.”  She refuses the offer.

Two weeks ago, I extended another invitation to Karen Woodall to engage in a professional collaboration; a professional level discussion of the pathology on a joint blog:

Invitation to Karen Woodall

Joint Blog: A Conversation Between Karen Woodall & Dr. Childress

This would be an immensely valuable opportunity for a professional-level discussion regarding the nature of the pathology, its assessment, its diagnosis, and its treatment.  This professional-level conversation could advance both the professional-level understanding for the pathology and its definition, and could potentially speed the enactment of a solution to “parental alienation” pathology in Great Britain.

So far, I’ve heard nothing but crickets.  No response from Karen.  She is apparently refusing my offer of a professional-level discussion of the pathology and collaboration in its solution.

What the Bowlby-Minuchin-Beck model of attachment-based “parental alienation” (AB-PA) does is return professional practice to the standard and established constructs and principles of professional psychology.  No “new forms of pathology” proposals that are rejected by establishment psychology and that open us to mental health persons simply making stuff up, whatever they want, that then leads to our current situation of rampant and profound professional ignorance and incompetence.

The Bowlby-Minuchin-Beck model of AB-PA returns professional psychology to standard and established constructs and principles, and doing so immediately provides all targeted parents everywhere with a solution:

The Solution: The Return to Professional Practice

The Solution: The Dominoes

There is not a rational and responsible mental health professional who can possibly argue against a professional reliance on the established constructs and principles of professional psychology to assess, diagnose, and treat pathology – any pathology – all pathology – including attachment-related pathology surrounding divorce.

What the Bowlby-Minuchin-Beck model of AB-PA does is establish a defined standard of practice using the defined and established foundational principles and constructs of professional psychology;

The Attachment System

Personality Disorder Pathology

Family Systems Therapy

Complex Trauma

If Karen Woodall wants to add “new forms of pathology” that she thinks she’s “discovered” to the work of Bowlby and Minuchin and Beck and Haley and van der Kolk and Millon and Kernberg…, fine by me.  Add all the unicorns and mermaids you want.  If you can get your unicorns and mermaids accepted by professional psychology, woo hoo.  I have no problem with that.

But in the meantime, let’s solve the attachment-related pathology of “parental alienation” using the standard and established constructs and principles of professional psychology.

If Karen Woodall wants to argue that the Bowlby-Minuchin-Beck model of AB-PA doesn’t solve all the different variants of the pathology, and that the standard and established constructs and principles from the accumulated wisdom and scientific investigation of professional psychology is inadequate to solve the pathology, and that she alone possesses the wisdom needed to solve the pathology, fine by me.  Make the argument to professional psychology that you’re a new magnificent expert.  I have no problem with that.

But in the meantime, let’s solve what we can – the severe form or “pure case” as you call it – of “parental alienation” surrounding divorce.  Let’s start by solving the most severe form using the standard and established constructs and principles of professional psychology.  There is absolutely zero reason why we should not begin immediately implementing the Bowlby-Minuchin-Beck model of AB-PA to solve the (allegedly) “severe cases” of “parental alienation”.  If we can solve the suffering of these families right now, today – and we can – let’s do it. 

Let’s not waste a minute arguing among ourselves.  If the Bowlby-Minuchin-Beck model of AB-PA immediately solves the most severe cases, lets all of us get on the mountaintops and church steeples and begin to shout about this.  Lets all of us work together to get this change into place as fast as we possibly can.

In truth, the Bowlby-Minuchin-Beck model (i.e., the standard and established constructs and principles of professional psychology) CAN and will solve all the different variants of the pathology as well, I just won’t argue that at this point.  In my view, first things first.  We start with solving the most severe form, develop the system-wide professional knowledge and competence to solve that, and then we expand this knowledge and competence into the variant expressions of parental pathology following divorce.  Step-by-step.

I’m a clinical psychologist.  I know the constructs and principles of professional psychology – Bowlby, Minuchin, Beck, Haley, Fonagy, Stern, Kohut, Winnicott, Tronick, van der Kolk, Ainsworth, Main, Sroufe, Bowen, Satir, Millon, Linehan, Kernberg – we can absolutely solve all the different variants of attachment-related family pathology following divorce by using the standard and established constructs and principles of professional psychology.

But I won’t argue that at this point.  If Karen Woodall thinks she’s discovered “new things” and “new forms of pathology” fine by me.  Let’s just solve the severe cases using the Bowlby-Minuchin-Beck model of AB-PA and end the suffering of these families everywhere – in the United States, in England, in Australia, in the Netherlands, in South Africa, in Japan, everywhere.  Then we can discuss your “hybrid cases,” the different variations of the pathology.

And you know what, Karen?  I’m more than happy to discuss that with you on a professional level:

A Conversation Between Karen Woodall & Dr. Childress

Send me an email and I’ll send you the password for this joint blog and we can begin the professional-level discussion.

But unless you’re willing to engage in a professional level-discussion and join with us in solving the pathology using the standard and established constructs and principles of professional psychology (the Bowlby-Minuchin-Beck model of AB-PA), then you are just using your platform and supposed “expertise” to sow confusion, controversy, discord, and division.  Stop it.  We’re trying to solve this. 

Join with us in creating the solution – using ONLY the standard and established constructs and principles of professional psychology – to which ALL mental health professionals can be held ACCOUNTABLE – thereby establishing a baseline professional standard of practice for all mental health professionals everywhere using standard and established professional domains of knowledge, or else you simply become an obstructionist seeking to promote your own self-interest at the expense of a solution.

My offer for you and your clinical psychologist to become AB-PA Certified in the Bowlby-Minuchin-Beck model of “parental alienation” stands.  If you and your clinical psychologist want to become AB-PA Certified in the spring of 2018, just give me the dates and I’ll book a seminar at a hotel in Long Beach.  My offer to then collaborate on bringing the Bowlby-Minuchin-Beck model of AB-PA to England also stands, as it would to collaborate with any mental health professional anywhere.

My offer for you and I to engage in a professional-level discussion of the pathology so that we can bring professional division to an end using a joint blog  – A Conversation Between Karen Woodall & Dr. Childress – stands.  Send me an email and I’ll send you the password to this blog and we can begin the professional-level dialogue.

But understand this clearly Karen… I will NOT allow you impede the solution available to targeted parents and their children provided by a return of professional psychology to the standard and established constructs and principles of professional psychology.  If you do not want to collaborate in the solution offered by the Bowlby-Minuchin-Beck model of AB-PA, then I suggest you simply stand aside for the next year or so while we solve this – internationally.  Because I will NOT allow you to impede the solution by your sowing of confusion, controversy, discord, and division.

If you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem.  The world is changing.  The status quo is not acceptable.  More of the same is not acceptable.

We are returning to the standard and established constructs and principles of professional psychology.  That is a fact.

We are going to establish a ground foundation for a professional standard of practice in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of attachment-related pathology surrounding divorce.  That is a fact.

Gardnerian PAS and its eight symptom identifiers are NOT part of the solution.  Gardnerian PAS is dead.  That is a fact.

We are going to solve the attachment-related pathology of “parental alienation” for all children and all families everywhere using the standard and established constructs and principles of professional psychology (as defined through the Bowlby-Minuchin-Beck model of AB-PA) .  That is a fact.

Join us in the solution.  Or stand aside.

Because I will not allow you to simply obstruct the solution for your own self-interest.  Gardnerian PAS is dead.  Let it go.  Embrace the coming change and join us in creating the change.  That is my invitation to you.

Send me an email, I’ll send you the password, and we can begin our professional-level conversation:

A Conversation Between Karen Woodall & Dr. Childress

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


Beck, A.T., Freeman, A., Davis, D.D., & Associates (2004). Cognitive therapy of personality disorders. (2nd edition). New York: Guilford.

Cohen, O. (1998). Parental narcissism and the disengagement of the non-custodial father after divorce. Clinical Social Work Journal, 26, 195-215

The Wisdom of Dorcy

This is a post by Dorcy Pruter to the Facebook group, the Alliance to Solve Parental Alienation.  It is so incredibly rich in wisdom that I want to emphasize her insights and counsel.

A preface; there are a set of brain cells called mirror neurons.   I recommend everyone watch this short PBS show on Mirror Neurons:

PBS: Mirror Neurons

The mirror neuron network is designed to read the intention of other people; what is motivating the other person.  One of the leading researchers in this domain is Daniel Stern:

From Stern: “Our nervous systems are constructed to be captured by the nervous systems of others.  Our intentions are modified or born in a shifting dialogue with the felt intentions of others.  Our feelings are shaped by the intentions, thoughts, and feelings of others.  And our thoughts are cocreated in dialogue, even when it is only with ourselves.  In short, our mental life is cocreated.”  (Stern, 2004, p. 76)

From Stern: “The discovery of mirror neurons has been crucial.  Mirror neurons provide possible neurobiological mechanisms for understanding the following phenomena: reading other people’s states of mind, especially intentions; resonating with another’s emotion; experiencing what someone else is experiencing; and capturing an observed action so that one can imitate it — in short, empathizing with another and establishing intersubjective contact.” (Stern, 2004; p. 78)

From Stern: “The perception of an attributable intention seems to have its own brain localization — a sort of intention-detecting center (Blakemore & Decety, 2001).  For example, the intention-detector brain center is activated if the action, in its context, seems to have an intention.  If the exact same movement is seen, in a different context where no intention can be attributed, the brain center will not activate.” (Stern, 2004; p. 80).

In my clinical psychology work with children and families, I typically describe to parents that the child’s brain is reading the parent’s intention, not just the parent’s behavior.  The most important thing about parenting is NOT what we do, it is the intention that is motivating our actions.  I then work with parents on developing and organizing their underlying intentions from which their actions flow.

This is Dorcy’s wisdom.  Targeted parents – and everyone – would be well served by a commitment to understanding Dorcy’s wisdom and counsel:


From Dorcy Pruter:

In some situations the supposedly targeted parent is the pathogenic parent.

Some cases we work on at the Conscious Co-Parenting Institute both parents are pathogenic. Those are the most difficult cases.

Kids love both of their parents and we have an obligation as a society and as humanity to stop judging, labeling and blaming and seek to educate and empower children with the skills they need to be in a healthy relationship with both parents.

When a child is being abused we must first protect the child, we then recover and restore the child to their authentic self, we then recover the pathogenic parents (adult abused children) to their authentic selves.

We don’t throw the parents out. We give them the support and teach them the skills they need to be better parents.

Empathy and compassion is unconditional love in action.

I encourage all parents to take a deep dive into their subconscious mind and discover why they are choosing the experiencing they have chosen as parents unconsciously. The solution to restoring relationships and really creating healthier relationships starts with you always. It is so easy to blame the other, focus on their pathology and faults, however this does not advance your family forward.

You take you wherever you go. It is not about blame it is about 100% responsibility 100% of the time. It is from this empowered place that you can recover your children and the special bond you have with them. Pathogenic parent or not.

Children love their parents, even their pathogenic parents. Once the bond is formed it is never broken. My mother is extremely pathogenic and yet I still love her and have always loved her. I have extreme compassion and empathy for her. I can see her unhealed child and she suffers. Instead of hating her, I love her. This is the same for all humans. Our ability to love unconditionally is how we come into the world. Most have forgotten because of the conditioning that starts early on because our parents are unconscious.

We don’t need more suffering – we need more empathy and compassion.

We love not because of how other people are or act, we love because of who we are.

One last thing, if you are stuck in your victim mindset, you will not be able to recover your children. You must resolve your suffering with compassion for self. It is from this transformational place of healing that you will attract your beloved children back to you.

We must all rise together and not allow each other to suffer with self-pity and blame. When you see someone suffering, don’t sympathize, this is very lower self this holds people stuck. Empathize, this encourages people to rise up, take responsibility and make a change.

I know the “system” is broken, and you are going to have to rise up out of the system and take your power back. It is the belief that keeps getting projected into the world that perpetuates it as truth.

When you change your thoughts, you change your feelings which changes your actions. From a new thought comes a new perspective comes a new action.

This is how it works. This is how it works for EVERYONE. This is how some people reunite and some don’t.

When our clients come to us they are suffering and when they listen and start implementing new thoughts and actions reunification happens.

The moment we go down the mindset path of victim, the system is broken, my ex is alienating, lawyers and judges are unfair, mental health professionals are incompetent and on and on we are telling the universe this is the truth for us and then the universe dishes up more of what you believe you deserve. This is how it works. I have seen it time and time again. The shift in the mindset and the shift in doing the inner work is what makes difference.

We chose to have children mostly from our lower self consciousness and it is now time to rise up and be the Higher Purpose Parents we are being called forward to be.

Authentically targeted parents are the chosen parents, they are the parents with the internal strength and gifts to shift all of humanity. They have forgotten and they are awakening now.

#togetherwerise #endallchildabuse #higherpurposeparents



Thank you Dorcy, for healing and correcting the dark energy of suffering and victimization.  We start by understanding and organizing our deeper intentions, finding our love, finding our power, healing ourselves.  Then, from this more steady place of light and love, we recover the children who are lost.

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

Your Stories

I have had an idea for a while now that I keep trying to push away, and it keeps coming back.  So, I’ve decided to roll it out and see where it leads.  Maybe somewhere, maybe nowhere.

I want to create a resource from the stories of grief and loss borne by so many targeted parents, your stories of love for your children, your stories about the failure of the mental health system, and your stories of the failed court system.  Your stories of pain.

I know these stories far too well, because I’ve heard these stories far too often.  While each story is unique, each story is also the same, over-and-over they replay in families, the loss of children to the pathology of a narcissistic/(borderline) parent.

I want to send your stories to the APA, to child custody evaluators, to media representatives, and to state legislators, so they can hear what I hear; the grief and loss, and the enduring family tragedy of “parental alienation” that occurs surrounding divorce.

To do this, I want to compile your stories into a book that can be sent to the APA, and to custody evaluators, and to state legislators.  I want to say,

“Look.  Look at this, hear these stories.  Look at the lost love, the grief, and the nightmare of the failed mental health system and the failed legal system response to the malignancy of the parental personality pathology surrounding divorce; a child’s love that becomes twisted by the pathology of a narcissistic/(borderline) parent into unrecognizable anger, hostility, and rejection.”

Targeted parents are experiencing a form of complex trauma called “traumatic grief.”

Wikipedia: Complex Trauma

 A therapeutic approach to processing trauma is through journaling about the experience.  Being able to form the trauma experience into the structure of an organized coherent narrative – forming and telling the story – helps to heal the trauma, it helps integrate the incomprehensibility of the trauma experience.  Putting the chaotic emotions of trauma into words helps bring psychological organization to the experience, which then assists in the processing of the complex trauma experience.

But no sooner do I have these thoughts for compiling a book of stories, than sanity grabs ahold of me and says,

“What are you doing?  Are you nuts?  You already have way too much on your plate.  You can’t take on editing a collection of stories from targeted parents regarding their grief and loss, and about the failures of the mental health system and legal system.”

“They’ll send you 10, 20, 30 pages of detailed stories.  You’ll never have time to read them.  The mere attempt to compile these stories would be overwhelming.”

But, in spite of this immensely sage wisdom from my sanity, I’ve come to the conclusion that your stories need to exist, your loss needs to be recognized, your love and heartbreak needs to be heard.

So, I’ve decided to start a book project of compiling stories from targeted parents.  I have absolutely no doubt that each parent can write a full book, each of you on your own, regarding the wild roller coaster ride of tragedy created from your experiences, and many have.  My goal, however, is different.  It is to bring these stories together into a single powerful voice, each story unique, and yet all of them the same.  I want to say with these stories, “Look.  See these people.  Listen to their heartbreak.”

And I also want to give each of you a chance to begin processing your complex trauma – the traumatic grieving created by the failed responses from the mental health system and legal system to the personality pathology of your ex-spouse that has emerged through your child following the divorce.

So, I have decided to request your stories – in a very structured format.  I don’t have time to read pages and pages of each story.  There are too many of you and it is too much.

Bringing organization and structure to your story is part of your brain’s way of making sense of it.  If your experience simply spews forth, it remains disorganized and unprocessed.  I am asking that you structure your stories in a very specific way, and then to send your story to me at an email address I’m going to provide.

The Structure

The STRUCTURE is to tell your story in 11 paragraphs. 

That’s all you get: 11 paragraphs total.  Your entire story in 11 paragraphs.

And here’s how these paragraphs are to be formed:

Paragraphs 1 & 2: Love and Light

In these opening two paragraphs (of 4 sentences each; that’s all you get, four sentences for each paragraph), I want you to describe the love and bonding with your children before the pathology emerged. 

I want you to tell me how wonderful your children are, how much you love them, and the deep love, joy, and bonding that you shared with your children before the tragedy.  Help me to see your beautiful and wonderful children.  Tell me how your son loves peanut butter and bananas and how your daughter was so proud when she scored her soccer goal.  Let me love your children with you.

These are the paragraphs of light and love that will then devolve through paragraphs 3 through 9 into the dark night of the alienation and loss.  There is a flow.  Each story is unique, and each is the same.

Two paragraphs of 4 sentences each for love and light, that’s all you get. 

This two-paragraph limitation is important, both for the processing of trauma and because that’s what the book needs, it’s not simply your story – it’s all of your stories together, each unique and yet each the same.  By each story remaining focused and structured, the love becomes accessible to the reader, the nightmare becomes accessible to the reader, and the tragedy of profound loss and grief becomes accessible to the reader.

Paragraphs 3 – 4 – 5: The Pathology’s Emergence

In three paragraphs of 4 sentences each, tell me about the pathology, how it emerged, how your beautiful children changed, how the pathology of your ex-spouse twisted your children into their anger, hostility, judgement, fearfulness, and rejection.

Tell me what happened to your children.  Tell me of their destruction.

Three paragraphs of 4 sentences each.  All of the pathology in only three paragraphs of 4 sentences each.

Paragraphs 6 & 7:  The Failed Mental Health System

Next, I want to learn about the failure of the mental health system, the failure by therapists and custody evaluators to identify the pathology and stop the pathology, and the collusion by mental health persons with enacting the pathology.

In two paragraphs of 4 sentences each, tell me about how the mental health system failed you, how no one listened, how no one saw, how no one made it stop.

Paragraphs 8 & 9: The Failed Legal System

In two paragraphs of 4 sentences each, tell me about the nightmare of the failed family courts, the financial bankruptcy created by the legal system, the endless delays, and the manipulation of the injustice system by your ex-spouse.  Tell me about the false allegations and imposed separation from your children, tell me about the unwarranted supervised visitation orders, tell me about the injustice system of the family courts.

Two paragraphs of 4 sentences each.  Hard, I know. But two paragraphs of 4 sentences each is all you get.

You can switch the order of Failed Mental Health and Failed Legal System if this order of presentation seems more appropriate to your family, but these two sections always follow the three paragraphs on the Emergence of Pathology.  You can also write less, but just not more than the structure I provide.

Paragraphs 10 & 11:  The Dark Night

In these final two paragraphs of 4 sentences each, share the dark night of your grief and loss.  Your love, your tears, your helplessness, and your grief.

Working with Structure

I understand that the limitations will be hard.  There is so much information, so much to understand in each of your stories.  How can you possibly describe the emergence of pathology in your children in only three paragraphs?  How can you possibly explain the injustice of false allegations and the nightmare of the legal system in only two paragraphs?

But that is the task.  Eleven paragraphs of 4 sentences each.

Here’s my suggestion.  Write six paragraphs on the Emergence of the Pathology.  Don’t send them.  Let them sit for a week.  Then go back and edit the six paragraphs down to four paragraphs.  Let it sit for a week, and then edit them down to three paragraphs.  This will help you in processing the trauma experience.  It will help bring psychological organization to the chaos of the trauma.

Each of your stories will be unique, and each story will be the same.  Your specific individual story may not find its way into the final product.  The universe will weave itself.  Yet your story is in all stories.

Over-and-over this pathology takes its own course in each family, and yet the stories all have the same core, the same pathology, the same failure of the mental health system and legal system.  The power is from bringing your stories together into a single voice that says, “Look.  See this.  We need to stop this.”

When you have your own unique story ready in 11 paragraphs of 4 sentences each, send your story to me at a special Gmail address just for this purpose:

            myalienationstory@gmail.com

I will read your stories.  If I receive enough stories, I will edit and compile them into a book of stories – all unique – yet all variants of the same story – told over-and-over again with new characters in new families.  Stories of your voice, your trauma, your helplessness, your grief and loss; abandoned by the mental health system, abandoned by the legal system.  Your stories.  In eleven paragraphs of 4 sentences each.

If this forms into a book of stories, then in my weaving of the presentation of your stories I will provide commentary on the pathology and the suffering it creates, bringing my professional voice to yours, amplifying and emphasizing your experience.

A book of stories may emerge, or it may not emerge.  This is all to the source of that which leads.  If a book of your stories emerges, what I then want to do is send this book to every Committee of the APA, to every licensing board, and to every state legislator’s office.  I want to say,

“Look.  Hear these parents.  See the sorrow, the tragedy, the pathology; over-and-over again and no one makes it stop.”

Your voices, your stories, together – all unique, and all the same.

That’s my idea that just won’t go away, a book of stories, your stories.  I have the email address to receive your stories (myalienationstory@gmail.com).  Eleven paragraphs of 4 sentences each:

Paragraphs 1-2:  Light and Love

Paragraphs 3-5:  The Pathology Emerges

Paragraphs 6-7:  The Failure of Mental Health

Paragraphs 8-9:  The Failure of the Courts

Paragraphs 10-11:  The Dark Night

If nothing emerges, then the universe did not want to bring a book of stories into existence.  Still, in writing your story, in struggling to fit your story into the structure I laid out, you will be journaling about your complex trauma, bringing “cognitive mediation” to an overwhelming emotional experience. This alone will be a good thing.

If you send me a STRUCTURED story of 11 paragraphs, I will read it.  If you send me an unstructured story or a story longer than 11 paragraphs, I will not read it.  I don’t have time.  I wish I had time, but I don’t have time.  There is too much work still to be done.  With your stories, if you choose to tell me your story, you need to help me.  Structured – 11 paragraphs.

Once you complete your 11 paragraphs and send your story to me, if you then want to write your book, that becomes a “you thing.”  Turn each section into a chapter.  Write your story to full measure.  Just don’t send it to me.  I don’t have time.  I wish I had time.  I don’t.  There’s still too much work to be done.

Eleven paragraphs.  That’s all I have time to read from each of you.  There are so many of you, each story unique, and each story a variant of the same story told over-and-over again because no one is making this stop.

We will make it stop.  We can’t stop what happened to you, but we can stop it from happening to other families, other parents, other children.  Your stories can help make it stop.

But 11 paragraphs of 4 sentences each is all you get to tell your story.

myalienationstory@gmail.com

Craig Childress, Psy.D.
Psychologist, PSY 18857