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From Parental Alienation to Reunification-Toward Parent-Child Reunification

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From Parental Alienation to Reunification-Toward Parent-Child Reunification

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From Parental Alienation to Reunification-Toward Parent-Child Reunification

  1. 1. © D.I.G Pty. Ltd S.Korosi 2013. May only be used with the authors permission From Parental Alienation to Reunification Towards Parent-Child Reunification Lone Fathers Association 2013
  2. 2. Seminar Outline  This presentation may be downloaded at  http://www.speakeasycounselling.com.au/Resources.html  http://www.dialogueingrowth.com.au/Resources.html © D.I.G Pty. Ltd S.Korosi 2013. May only be used with the authors permission 2
  3. 3. Seminar Outline  Seminar 60 minutes  A 21st Century scourge?  An enfolding spectrum of affiliation to alienation  What is Parental Alienation?  The dual assessment criteria for PA  Defining and describing alienated children and alienating parents  Parental Alienation Syndrome or not?  How are alienated children affected?  How are target parents and families affected?  Protective parenting  Family Law, Family consultants and family assessments  The 10-step Parent-Child Relationship Remediation and Reunification Programme  Does it work?  What do alienated and target parents struggle with the most?  The way ahead  How many of you are or have struggled for your children to have a relationship with you?  Or know someone who has? © D.I.G Pty. Ltd S.Korosi 2013. May only be used with the authors permission 3
  4. 4. A 21st Century Scourge?  Increasing incidence of claims of parental alienation  Cohort of one parent families in which the children no longer have a relationship with the parent with whom they do not live  Arguably children need both parents  Unrecognised child abuse  Injustice  Family law validates abusive behaviour  Inadequate assessment and intervention  Confusing more benign forms of attachment with Parental Alienation  Only 2 matters left to fight over © D.I.G Pty. Ltd S.Korosi 2013. May only be used with the authors permission 4
  5. 5. A 21st Century Scourge? Bala AIFS 2012  22% of family law cases claimed parental alienation  Doubled 2009 figures  More mothers claim PA but (slightly) more fathers make unsubstantiated claims  20 Substantiated/28 unsubstantiated Mothers  15 Substantiated/10 unsubstantiated Fathers  The resident parent is more likely to alienate  83% of alienating parents had residence of alienated child/ren  2010 substantiated alienation  11% had share care © D.I.G Pty. Ltd S.Korosi 2013. May only be used with the authors permission 5
  6. 6. An Enfolding Spectrum of Affiliation to Alienation Alienated Estranged Aligned Affiliated Non-ambivalent relationship Child estranged from one parent Reaction against IPA or abuse targeting the child Reaction against family situation hostile or indifferent to the child Protective parenting may be involved Pathological alienation-Child abuse Child influenced by alienating parent Unreasonable, distorted SUPERVENING and DOMINANT PROCESS-subsumes all other processes Positive relationship Affiliated with both parents Neither parent unduly influencing the child Ambivalent relationship Aligned with one parent but accepting of the other Aligned parent not involved against non-aligned parent © D.I.G Pty. Ltd S.Korosi 2013. May only be used with the authors permission
  7. 7. An Enfolding Spectrum of Affiliation to Alienation  Positive relationship-Affinity  Equal affinity  Positive relationship, child wants to be with both parents  Affinity  Child may affiliate with one parent  child wants to relate, have continuity, and contact with both parents © D.I.G Pty. Ltd S.Korosi 2013. May only be used with the authors permission 7
  8. 8. An Enfolding Spectrum of Affiliation to Alienation  Ambivalent relationship-Alliance  Child wishes to have contact and relationship with one parent, usually as a result of separation and divorce  May involve intense relationship conflict  May involve a child's strong moral condemnation of the parent with whom they are not aligned  alignment temporary and a reaction to immediate and intense circumstances. The alignment may resolve once the conflictual environment dissipates  Child does not wish to sever contact with the parent with whom they are not aligned  Child may place limits on the contact they have with the non-aligned parent  the child may have unresolved feelings of sadness, anger, love, et cetera with the non-aligned parent  the child is ambivalent towards the parent with whom they are not aligned  the aligned parent is not involved in the formulation of the child ambivalence an alliance with them and their non-alliance with the other parent © D.I.G Pty. Ltd S.Korosi 2013. May only be used with the authors permission 8
  9. 9. An Enfolding Spectrum of Affiliation to Alienation  No ambivalence-Estranged  Children who reject a violent and/or abusive parent  reaction of children who have witnessed intimate partner abuse, witnessed or experienced traumatic aftermath for an abused parent or have been the target of abuse themselves  parents who take action to remove children from the abusive influence of another parent are protective, rather than alienating parents  The parents from whom the children are estranged have generally contributed to the estrangement through the perpetuation of violence and abuse.  Child’s anger, rejection of the parent is reasonable under the circumstances  This may be a healthy reaction in children to protect themselves from family situations that are intrinsically hostile or indifferent to them and to their emotional needs © D.I.G Pty. Ltd S.Korosi 2013. May only be used with the authors permission 9
  10. 10. An Enfolding Spectrum of Affiliation to Alienation  No ambivalence:Pathological alienation- Alienated Children  Extreme and non-ambivalent rejection of a parent  Rejection based upon distorted, exaggerated or blatantly untrue perspectives of the rejected parent  the rejected parent may have contributed through their personality and style of parenting  the process of alienation is implemented and affected by a hostile and alienating parent  intent on targeting the rejected parent by using the child against them  This becomes the supervening and dominant process. Affiliated, aligned and estranged children are highly susceptible to the actions and omissions of an alienating parent  except where parent has been protective in the presence of abuse (estrangement but NOT ALIENATION) © D.I.G Pty. Ltd S.Korosi 2013. May only be used with the authors permission 10
  11. 11. What is Parental Alienation? 11 Manipulating the child to reject the target parent Demoting and devaluing the rejected parent’s role in the child’s life Sabotaging time the child spends with the target parent Displaced anger, hurt © D.I.G Pty. Ltd S.Korosi 2013. May only be used with the authors permission
  12. 12. Assessing Parental Alienation-Dual Criteria  Children’s Behaviour  Harsh, unreasonable, irrational rejection of a formerly loved parent  May be sudden  Harsh, unreasonable, irrational rejection of formerly loved extended family  Unconditional support of the alienating parent without critique  “Independent thinker phenomena”  Alienated child believes that their decision to reject a loved parent is entirely their own  Parroting/repeating coached or borrowed scenarios  Campaign of denigration of the rejected parent  Rejection or denial of memories and experiences of a prior loving relationship  Devalued and/or demoted parental relationship  Calling the rejected parent by their first name  Loss of ambivalence, unable to show guilt, remorse for their rejection of a loved parent  Alienating Parents Behaviour  Denigrating and devaluing the target parent  Destroying and/or undermining memories and relationships  Manipulating the child/ren to reject the target parent  Confiding in and parentifying the child  Adult concepts  Devaluing and demoting the rejected parent’s role in the child/rens life  Use of first names  Sabotaging and/or limiting child/rens contact and/or communication with the target parent  Withdrawal of love and establishing love conditional upon loyalty to alienating parent and rejection of target parent  Either-or not both-and  Cultivating dependence upon the alienating parent  Asking the child to keep secrets  Asking the child to spy on the rejected parent  Changing the child’s name  Legal, financial, administrative exclusion of the target parent © D.I.G Pty. Ltd S.Korosi 2013. May only be used with the authors permission 12
  13. 13. Useful Definitions-Parental Alienation Alienated Child  “Who expresses freely persistently, unreasonable negative feelings and beliefs (such as anger, hatred, rejection and/or fear) towards a parent that are disproportionate to the child's actual experience with that parent. Entrenched alienated children are marked by an un- ambivalent, strident rejection of the parent with no apparent guilt or conflict”  Johnston (2005) Alienating Parent  Who expresses to their child/ren freely persistently, unreasonable negative feelings and beliefs (such as anger, hatred, rejection and/fear) towards the other parent that are disproportionate to the other parent’s and child’s experience of a loving relationship between them, with the premeditated intentions of rupturing the relationship between their child and the other parent. Extreme alienating parents are marked by a dependent relationship between themselves and the child/ren, lack of insight or self-awareness of the effects of their behaviour upon the child/ren, loss of ambivalence and strident rejection of the target parent whom they formerly loved, lack of apparent guilt or remorse.  Korosi(2013) © D.I.G Pty. Ltd S.Korosi 2013. May only be used with the authors permission 13
  14. 14. Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS)?  DSM 5 Relevant Diagnostic Categories  Child affected by parental relationship distress  “when the focus of clinical attention is the negative effects of parental relationship discord (e.g., high levels of conflict, distress, or disparagement) on a child in the family, including effects on the child’s mental or other physical disorders.”  Child psychological abuse  “nonaccidental verbal or symbolic acts by a child’s parent or caregiver that result, or have reasonable potential to result, in significant psychological harm to the child.”  Supporting DSM 5 discussion on Parent-child relational problem .  “may include negative attributions of the other’s intentions, hostility toward or scapegoating of the other, and unwarranted feelings of estrangement.”  A very good description of a child’s view of the alienated parent?  So What?  How would a diagnosis change your situation ? © D.I.G Pty. Ltd S.Korosi 2013. May only be used with the authors permission 14
  15. 15. How Alienated Children are Affected  The case for parental alienation as child abuse  Warshak, Baker studies support the view that  Adult children may struggle to reform a relationship with the alienated parent or alienated extended family  May require a significant life event  Adverse outcomes  study by (Dr Amy Baker Ph.D. )of 40 adults ranging in age from 19 to 67 who were alienated , found that they were affected by  Depression = 70%  Drug & alcohol abuse = 40%  Lack of trust in themselves & others = 40%  Alienation from their own children = 50% © D.I.G Pty. Ltd S.Korosi 2013. May only be used with the authors permission 15
  16. 16. How Target Parents and Families are Affected  A tendency to ‘blame the victim’  Depression and mood disorders  Disenfranchised grief and anger  Existential crisis-loss of meaning  Social-societal disengagement-disfranchisement  Rupture of social covenant  Trauma  Loss of loved children  No acknowledgement  No closure or completion © D.I.G Pty. Ltd S.Korosi 2013. May only be used with the authors permission 16
  17. 17. Protective Parenting versus Parental Alienation  Protective Parents  Have evidence of abuse  Will support their children to give their 1st person witness account  Will take only those actions necessary to protect the children  May involve isolation and removal from abusive parent and environment  Alienating Parents  May make allegations of abuse without supportive evidence  May coach their children to parrot the alienating parents story  Independent thinker phenomenon  Will do all they can to cut out the other parent from the children’s lives © D.I.G Pty. Ltd S.Korosi 2013. May only be used with the authors permission 17
  18. 18. Parental Alienation and Allegations of Abuse  Abuse allegations  Some sexual abuse claims are justified  High incidence of unfounded claims 18 Reference: Bala. N AIFS 2012
  19. 19. Family Law  What you are up against-Relevant provisions of Family Law Act 1975  60CA. Child's best interests paramount consideration in making a parenting order  60CC. How a court determines what is in a child's best interests  60CD. How the views of a child are expressed  60CF. Informing court of relevant family violence orders  60CG. Court to consider risk of family violence  Parental alienation is NOT a specific criteria  Safety is paramount  Are allegations of FV and IPA becoming a standard tactic?  Child inclusive conferences  Child responsive programme  Less adversarial-more consultative  Involves family consultant  Outcomes depend upon knowledge of Parental Alienation  Implicit assumption that the loss of a loving parent is preferable to exposing children to high conflict relationship environments © D.I.G Pty. Ltd S.Korosi 2013. May only be used with the authors permission 19
  20. 20. Family Consultants and Family Reports  Mandated assessment by Family Consultant  Key guidance for judges-what is going on in your family  Family law act 1975 Section III Paragraphs 11A, 11B, 11C, 11D  Required to assess against provision of family law act (Paragraphs 55A, 62G)  Required to consider children’s views but may also discount those views  Issues with recognition of alienation  Family consultants very good at screening IPA but often miss key signs of alienated children and alienating parents  sometime miss the ‘too good to be true’ alienating parent  Polarised non-ambivalent children’s views unchallenged  Children’s allegations untested  Everyone to blame-hybridisation  Alienation conflated with ‘normal’ alignment  Failure to consider alienation as a plausible hypothesis to be tested.  Affiliation to alienation informed assessments required © D.I.G Pty. Ltd S.Korosi 2013. May only be used with the authors permission 20
  21. 21. AIFS 2012 21
  22. 22. Individualised 10-Step Parent-Child Remediation and Reunification Programme  1. From moral outrage to compassionate outcomes  2. Understanding the infinity loop-how you and your ex-partner are STILL connected  3. Focus on children’s needs and how they are affected  4. Create a safe and secure base for the children  5. Keeping your memory alive in the children’s consciousness © D.I.G Pty. Ltd S.Korosi 2013. May only be used with the authors permission 22
  23. 23.  6. Develop strategies to counter alienation processes  7. Appreciate alienating parents emotional needs and motivations  8. Child Development issues relevant to your parent-child rupture or injury  9. Parental Alienation education  10. Parenting and personal coaching and counselling Individualised 10-Step Parent-Child Remediation and Reunification Programme © D.I.G Pty. Ltd S.Korosi 2013. May only be used with the authors permission 23
  24. 24. What Alienated Parents Struggle With?  Moral outrage  Rights versus relationship needs  Replication of their own formative experience of alienation/alignment  Trauma  Disenfranchisement  The effect of their actions and behaviours on the children  The effect of their actions and behaviours on their ex- partner  THEIR EX PARTNER!  Focusing on the children while your ex-partner focuses upon YOU! 24© D.I.G Pty. Ltd S.Korosi 2013. May only be used with the authors permission
  25. 25. Some Hopeful Signs-Practice Based Evidence  Individualised Parent-Child Relationship Remediation and Reunification  76% of alienated parents end up with a better relationship with their children  41% are engaged but may be under duress or threat  35% reunify after a rupture  24% of alienated parents decide to suspend their attempts at a relationship with their alienated children  44% of alienated parents engage with the programme after their family law cases are (unsuccessfully concluded)  19% of alienated parents modified their cases in the course of engagement 25© D.I.G Pty. Ltd S.Korosi 2013. May only be used with the authors permission
  26. 26. The Way Ahead-Remediation and Reunification  Characteristics of intervention programmes  MUST focus on STOPPING the alienating behaviour of the alienating parent  -Psycho-education for both parents  Child-focused approach  Reuniting and reforming the relationship between alienated children and alienated parents  Individualised  Include enforced time between alienated children and the target parent  Include separation and/or supervised contact between alienated children and alienating parent  Family therapy may be CONTRAINDICATED if alienation is assessed  Triangulates practitioner into an abusive system  May be appropriate for alliance and alignment formation  where the child is ambivalent to both parents  Where the aligned parent is supportive  Where the non-aligned parent is self-reflective  May be appropriate for naive alienation  where the child is ambivalent to both parents  Where the alienating parent is child-focused  Where the non-aligned parent is self-reflective © D.I.G Pty. Ltd S.Korosi 2013. May only be used with the authors permission 26
  27. 27. Resources  Dialogue-In-Growth-Mens Action in Open Thinking W: www.dialogueingrowth.com.au E: info@dialogueingrowth.com.au T: 0414 888 413  SpeakEASY Counselling and Psychotherapy W: www.speakeasycounselling.com.au E: info@dialogueingrowth.com.au T: 0414 888 413  Other support groups & resources  Parental Alienation Programme 'Family Bridges' and Blog- http://www.warshak.com/alienati on/pluto-dvd-2.html  Hostile Aggressive Parenting and Parental Alienation- http://www.hostile-aggressive- parenting.com/  Parental Alienation-UK resources-http://www.parental- alienation.info/  www.parentalalienation.com.au © D.I.G Pty. Ltd S.Korosi 2013. May only be used with the authors permission 27
  28. 28. References  Baker, A. J. L. (2007). Adult children of parental alienation syndrome: breaking the ties that bind. New York: W.W Norton & Co.  Baker, A. J.L. (2013. Working with Alienated Children and Families-A Clinical Guidebook  Darnell, D (2010). Beyond Divorce Casualties-Reunifying the Alienated Family  Gardner, R. (1987). Parental alienation syndrome and the differentiation between fabricated and genuine sexual abuse. New Jersey: Creskill, Creative Therapeutics.  Gardner, R. (1989). Family evaluation in child custody, mediation, arbitration and litigation. New Jersey: Creskill, Creative Therapeutics.  Gardner, R. A. (2004). Commentary on Kelly and Johnston's "The Alienated Child: A reformulation of parental alienation syndrome.". Family Court Review Vol 42(4) Oct 2004, 611-621.  Johnston, J. R., & Kelly, J. B. (2004). Rejoinder to Gardner's "Commentary on Kelly and Johnston's 'The Alienated Child: A reformulation of parental alienation syndrome.'". Family Court Review Vol 42(4) Oct 2004, 622-628. © D.I.G Pty. Ltd S.Korosi 2013. May only be used with the authors permission 28
  29. 29. References  Kelly, J. B., & Johnston, J. R. (2001). The Alienated Child: a Reformulation of Parental Alienation Syndrome. Family Court Review, 39(3), 249-266.  Lowenstein, L. F. (1998). PARENT ALIENATION SYNDROME: A TWO STEP APPROACH TOWARD A SOLUTION. Contemporary Family Therapy: An International Journal December, 20(4), 505-520.  Lowenstein, L. F. (2007). Parental Alienation: How to understand and address parental alienation resulting from acrimonious divorce or separation. London: Russell House Publishing.  Lund, M. (1995). A Therapist's View of Parental Alienation Syndrome. Family and Conciliation Courts Review, 33(3), 308-316.  McIntosh, J. (2003). Enduring Conflict in Parental Separation: Pathways of Impact on Child Development. Journal of Family Studies, Vol. 9(1), 63- 80.  Reahy, M (2011). Toxic Divorce-A Workbook for Alienated Parents  Warshak, D. R. A. (2010). Divorce Poison: How to Protect Your Family from Bad-mouthing and Brainwashing. New York: Harper Collins. © D.I.G Pty. Ltd S.Korosi 2013. May only be used with the authors permission 29

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