It is nutty over here. In forensic psychology world. Absolutely nutty.
You know how nutty? Right off the top I can cite five widespread and simply rampant violations of the APA ethics code (Standards 2.04, 2.01a, 9.01a, 3.04, Principle D: Justice) and two independent counts of failure in their duty to protect, failure in the duty to protect from IPV spousal abuse and failure in their duty to protect the child from DSM-5 Child Psychological Abuse.
That’s just for openers. There are violations in other areas, most prominently with Standard 10.01a regarding informed consent and Standard 10.10 regarding termination of treatment. There’s so many that I can’t even discuss them all.
It’s like I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole into Wonderland over here, with a full cast of characters, there are hookah smoking caterpillars, nutty tea parties, a walrus and the carpenter, croquet with hedgehogs. Just nutty everywhere. Everything is upside-down here.
No one in this nutty world realizes it, because they’re all part of it. Clinical psychologists don’t work with these families, they were banished in the 1980s and that’s fine by us, your families are too dangerous, “I don’t work with high-conflict divorce.” Clinical psychology has abandoned you and down the rabbit hole you fell, into an upside-down world of abuse and exploitation.
This is a pathology of lies. None of this is real – it is the transference dream of childhood trauma (Freud), it is the false kabuki theater of the trauma reenactment narrative (van der Kolk). None of it is true… yet everyone believes the crazy as if it’s normal.
There is a caterpillar smoking a hookah and pontificating crazy stuff. Anyone else see that? That’s not normal. What the hatter and the march hare are saying is wackadoodle. Yet everyone here in Wonderland acts as if it’s just normal. Did you see that baby just turn into a pig? Right there, did you see that? And you think that’s somehow normal?
Except the targeted parents, sort of. They’re all like Alice. They realize things are nutty as all the dickens, but everyone else is acting like playing croquet with flamingos is normal, so maybe it is. Where’d that hedgehog go, I need my hedgehog.
Absolutely nutty. It’s because forensic psychology has been given total control over your families with no oversight and no review… for decades. That’s led to rampant and unchecked ignorance, professional sloth, incompetence, and the widespread and unchecked financial exploitation of vulnerable parents.
Who’s going to stop them? Forensic psychology is the Queen of Hearts. Do you want to tell the red queen she’s wrong? You’ll get our head chopped off. Can’t do that. Forensic psychology owns you. You belong to them.
Meanwhile, we have a tea party of therapists, evaluators, parenting coordinators, a whole menagerie of nutty. Every one of them. Up pops a dormouse, can I have another cup of tea, we need a second child custody evaluation because the first one solved nothing.
None of them know anything about what they’re doing, these forensic psychology people. None of them know attachment pathology (Bowlby), or family systems therapy (Minuchin), or even about the breach-and-repair sequence that is fundamental to parent-child conflict (Tronick). Nothing.
And then the craziest thing is that these completely ignorant mental health people then claim to be the “experts.” In the wonderland that is forensic psychology world, ignorance becomes the “experts.” Just nuts.
Becoming an “Expert”
It doesn’t take anything to be an “expert” over here besides self-assertion. Do you need to know family systems therapy to assess, diagnose, and treat family conflict pathology? No, don’t be silly, expertise is not determined by what you know, this is Wonderland, everything – everything – is upside down… it’s a world of lies.
Do you need to know about the attachment system when assessing, diagnosing, and treating attachment pathology? Heavens no. Knowledge is irrelevant to being an “expert.” Not here, not in forensic psychology world, up is down, black is white, and reality is whatever the Red Queen proclaims it to be.
This is a narcissistic pathology.
It’s all over the place here, narcissism, in all of the pathogen’s allies. That’s how it captures them, their narcissism. It captures another set through their greed, the child custody “Evaluators.”
THAT, is a truly terrifying role for professional psychology – like the Inquisitor of the Spanish Inquisition, judging who “deserves” to be a parent. “Beware the Jabberwock, my son! The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!”
Child custody evaluators are piggies at the financial trough of parents and children. They solve nothing yet charge $20,000 to $40,000 for their no-solution evaluation. They churn through families, financially raping them, destroying one and then moving on to the next. They are exploiting vulnerable parents, pure and simple. Who’s to stop them, they’re the only game in town. They banished clinical psychology decades ago under threat of license if we work with your families, they own you. And they are financially raping parents, vulnerable parents, parents in need.
Child custody evaluations are in violation of a basic foundational principle of the Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct of the American Psychological Association: Principle D Justice. At $20,000 to $40,000 each, child custody evaluations deny equal access (in violation of Principle D), and with an inter-rater reliability of zero they deny equal quality (in violation of Principle D). Child custody evaluations not only violate multiple professional practice Standards (2.04, 2.01a, 9.01a, 3.04), child custody evaluations violate a fundamental Principle of ethical professional practice; Principle D Justice.
“Beware the Jabberwock, my son! The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!”
Beware forensic psychology, they will exploit you, take your money, and they will solve nothing.
The abundance of “experts” without expertise feels like the walrus and the carpenter. Come little clams, everything will be so fine over here, and then they eat them.
These “experts” with false voices channel parents into the “parental alienation” construct – surprise, the one thing they happen to be “expert” in – and then they exploit the parents financially, for consultations, for “expert” testimony at trial, to sell you their books and promote themselves as “experts.” Convenient.
Of course they guide parents into this non-existent pathology that has to be proven in court. It’s of benefit to them to be an “expert” in a pathology that needs solution. But sending parents into the family courts to prove a new form of pathology is no solution whatsoever. That approach has failed miserably for forty years. They want to keep doing it. Why? Because that’s what they’re “expert” in. Wonderland, up is down. Where’s my hedgehog?
This is a narcissistic pathology – the narcissism surrounding it is extensive.
What is most remarkable is the profound absence of empathy in forensic psychology – it is both stunning and appalling; their absence of basic human empathy. I read their reports. The ignorance is profound, and the absence of basic human empathy is stunning – and appalling.
A failure in human empathy at this magnitude should NOT be coming from professional psychology. We heal trauma, we don’t inflict trauma. Standard 3.04 Avoiding Harm. Parents count as people. We don’t hurt people. At least clinical psychologists don’t.
I view myself as heading up the trauma recovery team for these parents, the parents who have been targeted for savage and brutal emotional abuse by their ex-spouse. I view this as my ethical responsibility as a clinical psychologist. Clinical psychology is treating the trauma (PTSD complex trauma; traumatic grief) that is being created by forensic psychology.
How nutty is that. I’m treating trauma created by another field of “professional” psychology. I put the term “professional” in quotes because there are many-many violations in ethical standards of practice that lead to the emotional abuse and exploitation of parents.
These parents are being emotionally abused and financially exploited by forensic psychology. They are being traumatized with the loss of their children.
What’s the success rate of forensic psychology in restoring healthy post-divorce families? Zero. Their success rate is zero. Yet they continue to do exactly what does NOT work… making $20,000 to $40,000 per child custody evaluation with an assessment that they KNOW is not valid (no inter-rater reliability) and that is a clear violation on two separate counts of Principle D of the APA ethics code for justice, failing to provide equal access and failing to provide equal quality.
There is a serious abundance of grandiosity and arrogance here – absolutely everywhere.
That’s this “expert” thing you all have going on over here. Everyone is an “expert.” You won’t find psychologists in other fields, such as autism or ADHD, all clamoring that we’re “experts” in autism, you don’t see “experts” in ADHD. An expert in autism is Stanley Greenspan (Floortime) or Ivar Lovaas (Applied Behavioral Analysis). An expert in ADHD is Keith Connors (the Conners Comprehensive Behavior Rating Scale) or Jim Swanson (MTA study). An expert in attachment is John Bowlby or Edward Tronick.
If you don’t match that… you’re not an “expert.” But here… here in forensic psychology world, “experts” abound. Like rabbits, everywhere you look. That’s a problem.
We’ll be leaving Wonderland, returning up and out of the rabbit hole, back to an actual reality, like Alice waking from her dream, or you from this nightmare. Reality exists, and professional obligations under the APA ethics code are required.
If you assert that you are an “expert,” bring your vitae and substantiate the statement. Otherwise, that would be a violation of Standard 5.01b
Standard 5.01 Avoidance of False or Deceptive Statements
(b) Psychologists do not make false, deceptive, or fraudulent statements concerning (1) their training, experience, or competence;
If you say that you are an “expert” – that is a professional statement to the public about your level of competence. Dr. Childress is not saying that he is an “expert” – I’m just a clinical psychologist. You are making a professional statement that you are not merely a clinical psychologist, you know more, that you are an “expert” in this pathology. You know more than Dr. Childress. That’s what you are saying.
So, prove it. Let’s see your vitae that supports your claim to be an “expert.”
Because, “Psychologists do not make false, deceptive, or fraudulent statements concerning their… competence.” You are claiming to be MORE than a mere therapist and mental health professional… you’re an “expert.” You’re above the rest of mental health professionals. That is your professional statement when you claim to be an “expert.”
Dr. Childress is merely a clinical psychologist. You are claiming to be superior in your professional knowledge than Dr. Childress, you are an “expert”. That is your professional claim.
So, back it up. I am asserting that your statement of supposed “expert” status is a “false, deceptive, and fraudulent statement” about your “competence,” and is in violation of Standard 5.01b of the APA ethics code. So, bring your vitae and let’s see.
Dr. Childress is NOT claiming to be an “expert.” I am a clinical psychologist. That’s it.
If you are claiming to be an “expert,” you are claiming to know more than Dr. Childress. My vitae is up on the web (Dr. Childress: Vitae), I have a YouTube series on my vitae (Dr. Childress: Youtube Vitae), I have a blog post on my professional qualifications (Dr. Childress: Professional Background).
If you claim to be an “expert” with this pathology, then you claim to know more than I do. I’m not an “expert,” I’m just a clinical psychologist. So, bring your vitae and let’s compare our… expertise.
The exploitation of these parents stops.
I am heading up their trauma recovery, because somebody has to do it. You’re not doing it, so I am. I’m a clinical psychologist, I’m working. The exploitation of these parents by professional psychology stops. If you try to exploit these parents and their vulnerability, you will have words with the head of their trauma recovery team. That is not okay, to exploit these parents and their vulnerability.
Let me be entirely clear… It is not okay for professional psychology to exploit the vulnerability of these parents.
We must provide them with a grounded and actualizable solution to their family difficulties.
Over in real world… being expert in what you do is the expectation. If you’re not expert in ADHD or autism or trauma… then what are you doing over here, go away.
Seriously, if you don’t know what you’re doing – stop, now – you shouldn’t be doing what you’re doing. That applies to all pathologies. In real-world professional psychology, expertise is the expected standard of practice.
Over here, it’s all like a twirly made-up world. I can hardly turn around without bumping into an “expert” – and the “experts” I run into are stone-cold ignorant of actual reality – van der Kolk, Bowlby, Tronick, Stern, Fonagy, Bowen… just stone-cold ignorant. None of them know Fonagy, none of them. None of them know Tronick or Stern. Just stone-cold ignorant.
I can’t even have a professional-level conversation with them because I first have to educate them in order to have a professional-level conversation with them. If you’re claiming to be an “expert” I shouldn’t have to first educate you just to have a professional-level conversation with you (Fonagy, mentalization; Stern, intersubjectivity). And yet… you’re an expert. I’ll have some Earl Grey, please.
Just insane. Nutty as the day is long.
Let me clue my professional colleagues in on the meaning of the term “competence” – professional competence is knowing everything there is to know about the pathology, and then reading journals to stay current.
That’s called basic competence. Ignorance and sloth are not acceptable standards of practice, so expertise is not remarkable – expertise is standard of practice. It is expected standard of practice for EVERYONE who works with a particular type of pathology to know everything there is to know about the pathology, and then read journals to stay current. That is the meaning of the word, “competence.”
The Gardnerians and the puffy-vitae forensic psychologists, all of them… If someone tells you they’re an “expert” in some pathology, they’re just a narcissist captivated by their self-grandiosity. Direct them to speak with Dr. Childress regarding their alleged expertise. Tell them to bring their vitae, I’ll want to see their vitae.
Standard 5.01 Avoidance of False or Deceptive Statements
(b) Psychologists do not make false, deceptive, or fraudulent statements concerning (1) their training, experience, or competence;
Standard 1.04 Informal Resolution of Ethical Violations
When psychologists believe that there may have been an ethical violation by another psychologist, they attempt to resolve the issue by bringing it to the attention of that individual,
Standard 1.05 Reporting Ethical Violations
If an apparent ethical violation has substantially harmed or is likely to substantially harm a person or organization and is not appropriate for informal resolution under Standard 1.04, Informal Resolution of Ethical Violations, or is not resolved properly in that fashion, psychologists take further action appropriate to the situation. Such action might include referral to state or national committees on professional ethics, to state licensing boards, or to the appropriate institutional authorities.
The APA ethics code is not optional. I did not write the ethics code of the APA. It is required of all psychologists. It is not optional.
You claim to be an “expert” in a particular type of pathology? Prove it. The exploitation of these families by professional psychology ends.
We are leaving the insanity of trauma-world, it’s nuts over here. Everything is upside-down.
Standards of Practice
I have a proposal to address this “expert” thing over here, it’s simply out of control.
I’m your baseline standard. If you know more than me, we’ll confer on you the title of “expert.” If you don’t know more than me about the pathology… you’re not an “expert”… you’re just a human.
Once someone self-proclaims as an “expert” their professional identity becomes all wrapped up in their maintaining their status as an “expert,” so they stop making rational decisions in the best interests of their clients and their motivation instead becomes to maintain their status as an “expert.”
I’m not an “expert.” My first referral for recovery from complex trauma is to Dorcy Pruter… because that’s in the best interests of my client. She can accomplish what I can’t. No ego. She gets the job done, she’s my first referral.
And she knows as much about this pathology as I do, in some ways more. She understands it from the inside. The pathology teaches of itself, we learn of the pathology from the pathology.
So no more “experts.” Call yourself a “consultant” – You’re a consultant on something.
Experts in Unicorns
Now here’s the thing… when they call themselves an “expert” in “parental alienation,” there is actually no such pathology as “parental alienation” in established professional psychology.
They are essentially saying they’re an “expert” in a mythological beast – a thing that doesn’t actually exist… and they are an expert in it. That’s like saying they’re an “expert” in unicorns – they know all the pretty colors and magical properties of unicorns.
That’s great. Problem is, there’s no such thing as unicorns, so they are actually experts in nothing. Pretty unicorns, great. Not really practical if we want to actually solve anything.
That’s what the Gardnerians are looking at right about now. I’m taking the construct of “parental alienation” away from them – away from everybody – so that everyone over here has to apply real knowledge – which means that they also have to know real knowledge.
But these “experts” have their narcissistic and grandiose professional self-identity entirely wrapped up in unicorns. They’re not an expert in attachment, or trauma, or family systems therapy – just unicorns. If they lose unicorns, they lose personal self-identity. They are an “expert” in unicorns.
So when unicorns vanish, so too does their expertise, which is the entire source of their professional self-identity. That’s a problem. They’re going to resist change because the change means these “experts” vanish.
Bowlby is an expert – Minuchin is an expert – Beck is an expert.
We’re swapping out our “experts.”
Here’s the standard for “expert” – that you know more than Dr. Childress. I’m your baseline.
- I have a doctoral degree in clinical psychology; not medicine, not law, not research psychology – a doctoral degree in clinical psychology.
So, psychiatrists and other physicians, Master’s level therapists, and attorneys… you’re not “experts.” You’re physicians, therapists, and attorneys. Physicians are expert in medicine, attorneys are expert in the law. I am not an “expert” in medicine, I am not an “expert” in the law. I don’t enter your domain and claim to be an “expert.” I’m a clinical psychologist, my domain is psychopathology, its assessment, diagnosis, and treatment. My world.
Clinical psychologists are more expert than Master’s level therapists in pathology – more training and education. Match my background training and education.
- I am a trained family systems therapist. That means, to be an “expert” you also have to be a trained family systems therapist.
In fact, if you’re not a trained family systems therapist and yet you are treating complex family conflict… then you’re not even competent… it’s not even a matter of being an “expert” – it’s questionable if you are simply competent. How can you be competent in family therapy if you know nothing about family therapy?
Ignorance is not “expertise” – opposite ends.
- I also have background training and experience in treating attachment pathology. To be an expert, you also have to have background training and experience in assessing, diagnosing, and treating attachment pathology.
Again, if you DON’T have background training and experience treating attachment pathology – yet you are assessing, diagnosing, and treating attachment pathology (i.e., a child rejecting a parent), then you’re not even competent.
To be competent in treating an attachment pathology you must have professional training and experience treating attachment pathology.
How completely insane is that, that I would even need to make such a self-evident statement? To be competent in attachment pathology you need to know attachment pathology. Yet I need to make that entirely self-evident statement… because it’s not happening. These people are entirely incompetent.
Wonderland, ignorance becomes the anointed “expert.” Follow me, over here, we’ll have a grand old time, said the walrus and the carpenter to the unsuspecting clams. Take a walk with us into the family courts, and we’ll prove a new pathology of “parental alienation” to a judge, at trial.
Are you nuts? Judges are legal professionals. Judges don’t diagnose pathology, psychologists do. Don’t go with the walrus and the carpenter into the family courts to prove “parental alienation.” Are you nuts? Stay away from the family courts, remember the Jabberwocky.
Oh. I see. The mental health professionals are entirely ignorant and slothful, they’re not trying to solve anything.
Well, we’ll need to change that won’t we.
The Expert Model
The narcissistic assertion: “Truth and reality are whatever I assert them to be.”
They simply assert that they are an “expert” and they magically become one. That’s all it takes in forensic psychology world.
Then they all go around anointing each other as “experts” – it’s the funniest thing I’ve ever seen. Like watching an odd dance of birds, they gather and cluck – “I’m an expert – you’re an expert – we’re experts.” What an odd display. Things just keep getting curiouser and curiouser.
Do you see that happening anywhere else in professional psychology – “experts” in autism, “experts” in panic attacks, “experts” in eating disorders? No.
In every other field it’s simply called our specialization. I specialize in autism, or anxiety disorders, or eating disorders. Am I an “expert” in these things? If I’m specializing in that pathology, of course, I know everything to know about the pathology – but that’s not being an “expert” – that’s called being competent.
Aristotle was an “expert.” For thousands of years we treated medical illness by bleeding patients with leeches because Aristotle said sickness was caused by an imbalance in our four “humours,” and that bleeding the patient would restore the balance.
Was any of that true? No. That is exactly what the “expert” model gets us. Thousands of years of ignorance.
For the longest time the Bible was the expert authority on all things. The sun circled the earth because that’s what the Bible said, the authority. Galileo then reported on the actual data, that the earth travels around the sun. The Church threatens to burn him at the stake unless he recants and says a false thing, that the earth is at the center and the sun circles the earth, because that’s what the authority said.
Was any of that true, about the earth being the center and everything circling the earth? No. That’s exactly what the “expert” model gets us, continued ignorance.
The scientific method and scientific research, not “experts” who assert without support, leads to solutions.
If you want to be an “expert” – bring your vitae. I’ll set up a booth at the County Fair, Compare Your Vitae, like one of those hammer and bell things. You can bring your vitae and compare it to Dr. Childress. If you know more than I do – you’ll ring the bell and we’ll declare you an “expert,” and you can go home with a big stuffed bear with a giant E on its tummy – if not, then we’re talking basic competence.
They’ll have me beat on unicorns. I know next to nothing about mythical animals. Do these “experts” have more training and background in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of unicorns. I guess so. I have zero training and background in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of unicorns. They are clearly experts in unicorns, I suppose.
Although, I’m not seeing where believing things that aren’t true is of much help to solving anything. The construct of “parental alienation” is a unicorn. It doesn’t exist. A nice story about a horse with a lovely magic horn on its forehead. Nice story, doesn’t exist.
The pathology is the trans-generational transmission of attachment trauma.
Trauma? So… are they “expert” in trauma? No, that would be Bruce Perry, John Briere, and Bessel van der Kolk.
Attachment? Are they “expert” in attachment? No, that would be John Bowlby, Mary Ainsworth, Alan Sroufe, Edward Tronick, Daniel Stern, Peter Fonagy.
I’m not particularly interested that blue unicorns will magically make music when they prance, or that yellow unicorns can end storms and bring sunshine. Because unicorns don’t exist.
There is no new pathology. Everything about this family pathology is ENTIRELY describable using the established constructs of professional psychology. We don’t need a new pathology.
This is a narcissistic pathology. The proliferation of “experts” is a symptom feature of that. They are manifesting a symptom of narcissistic pathology – grandiosity.
That’s right, these “experts” are a symptom. It is a symptom of this narcissistic (trauma) pathogen, this plethora of “experts” everywhere. They don’t realize it because they are captured by their own narcissistic grandiosity of being “experts” – it’s the transference narrative – they become the “protective other” in the trauma dream of the reenactment story.
They are the beneficent protector – the “expert.”
Let me anchor in reality for a second. The vitae of Alan Sroufe from 2014 is online. This is what an expert in attachment looks like.
Alan Sroufe Vitae
Notice first, his degrees are in clinical psychology. Those university positions are strong, those journals he edited are top-tier, his awards substantial, his books are many, and look at the number of research articles – not opinion pieces – solid research in substantial journals… page after page. Sixteen pages, no fluff. That’s what the vitae of an “expert” looks like.
Delusions of Grandiosity
A fixed and false belief that is maintained despite contrary evidence is a delusion. The contrary evidence for the construct of “parental alienation” is that the American Psychiatric Association fully examined the construct… and said no. The APA said no. That’s the contrary evidence.
A fixed and false belief that is maintained despite contrary evidence is a delusion. A false belief in having “special knowledge” that no one else has is called a “grandiose delusion.”
From my vantage, they look less like professionals and more like a cult of personality surrounding Richard Gardner and his PAS proposal – the worst diagnostic model for pathology ever proposed from the beginning of time until now – the worst ever.
Bowlby – Minuchin – Beck; the application of the “established scientific and professional knowledge of the discipline” is required by Standard 2.04.
First. Apply knowledge first. Before any “new pathology” proposals. First, apply knowledge first – Standard 2.04.
The APA ethics code is not optional, it is mandatory – apply the “established scientific and professional knowledge of the discipline” – first.
If we need a “new form of pathology” proposal AFTER we have applied the “established scientific and professional knowledge of the discipline” then we can propose one – AFTER applying the “established scientific and professional knowledge of the discipline.”
And you know what? The moment we apply the “established scientific and professional knowledge of the discipline” we solve this pathology immediately.
And they know it, these unicorn “experts.” They just won’t do it, apply knowledge. Why?
First, because they don’t know the knowledge. They are not even at basic competence.
Second, because the moment they do then they cease to be “experts” and become just ordinary.
To my professional colleagues, I’m your standard. Bring your vitae and let’s compare. If you know more than me, then you’re an “expert,” but if you don’t know more than Dr. Childress, then you’re not an “expert” and Standard 5.01b applies regarding Avoidance of False or Deceptive Statements.
I’m not an expert.
You’re the one claiming to know more than I do. You’re the one claiming to be an “expert.” So, prove it. Otherwise your claim is a violation of Standard 5.01b of the APA ethics code.
We are raising – substantially – the professional standards of practice with these children and for these parents. The application of the “established scientific and professional knowledge of the discipline” (Bowlby, Minuchin, Beck) is not optional, and failure to do so is unethical professional practice (Standard 2.04 Bases for Scientific and Professional Judgments).
Craig Childress, Psy.D.
Clinical Psychologist, PSY 18857