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Responding to parental alienation for practitioners

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Responding to parental alienation for practitioners. This presentation contains the latest information on evidence based interventions for parental alienation

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Responding to parental alienation for practitioners

  1. 1. PARENTAL ALIENATION: RESPONDING TO DELIBERATE RUPTURES OF CHILDREN'S LOVING PARENTAL RELATIONSHIPS. APS College of Counselling Psychologists Conference 201528/02/15 ©Dialogue In Growth Pty. Ltd. 2015. 1
  2. 2. Profile 28/02/15©Dialogue In Growth Pty. Ltd. 2015. 2  Stan Korosi M.Couns. HS Associate APS  PA Counsellor, consultant and psychotherapist working mainly with parental alienation, targeted or rejected parents, favoured parents etc.  At all stages of the alienation process  PA Counselling and coaching  I am a rejected/alienated parent  Alienation independently assessed (2007)  No intervention prescribed or ordered (2008)  Editor-in-Chief ‘Parental Alienation International’ newsletter of the Parental Alienation Study Group  Reconciliation is possible even decades after a rupture
  3. 3. A Spectrum of Affiliation to Alienation 28/02/15©Dialogue In Growth Pty. Ltd. 2015. 3 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
  4. 4. What Are We Talking About? 28/02/15©Dialogue In Growth Pty. Ltd. 2015. 4 “Is a disorder that arises primarily in the context of child custody disputes. Its primary manifestation is the child's campaign of denigration against a parent, a campaign that has no justification” (Gardener, 1985). “A disturbance in which children, usually in the context of sharing a parents negative attitudes, suffer unreasonable aversion to a person, or persons, with whom they formally enjoyed normal relations or with whom they would normally develop affectionate relations” (Warshak, 2006).
  5. 5. What Are We Talking About? 28/02/15©Dialogue In Growth Pty. Ltd. 2015. 5 Critical aspects are:  A child changes from having a previously good, warm, healthy relationship and attachment, to rejection and aversion of the formerly beloved attachment figure  The child rejects or develops an aversion to others related to the rejected parent (such as family members), and not only to the parent.  A secure attachment becomes highly insecure  Unreasonable, irrational . E.g. otherwise inconsequential issues result in disproportionate responses
  6. 6. What Are We Talking About? 28/02/15©Dialogue In Growth Pty. Ltd. 2015. 6  A good-enough parent is rejected  Emotional child abuse?  Family violence?  A favoured parent is the active agent who causes the child to reject a ‘good enough’ loved parent  Do children alienate themselves?  Do they form extreme alignment as a maladaptive means of dealing with parental conflict?
  7. 7. Parental Alienation (PA) versus Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) 28/02/15©Dialogue In Growth Pty. Ltd. 2015. 7  PAS is not specifically defined in DSM V BUT DSM V now contains a description of alienation  Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) is diagnosed in the child:  determined by the extent to which efforts of the alienating parent have been successfully manifest in the child, and not by the parents efforts alone.  Is it an abnormal family system presentation, a type of serious attachment disorder (Childress.C 2014), a syndrome, a shared delusional disorder?  A. one of the above  B. all of the above  C. does it matter?
  8. 8. Parental Alienation and DSM V 28/02/15©Dialogue In Growth Pty. Ltd. 2015. 8  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.”  DSM 5 Relevant Diagnostic Categories-Child psychological abuse  “non-accidental 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.”
  9. 9. Useful Definitions-Parental Alienation  “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)  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) 28/02/15 9 ©Dialogue In Growth Pty. Ltd. 2015. Alienated Child Alienating Parent
  10. 10. ‘High Conflict or Parental Alienation?  A distinctive, complex family response to divorce, which occurs over time, and constitutes a pattern of severe psychological abuse.  A Favored Parent (FP) recruits the children to form an alliance with the FP in a campaign of denigration against the rejected and hated parent, the Target Parent (TP).This may include the TP’s extended family.  The children become active participants in the campaign of denigration, declaring their devotion and loyalty to the FP while rejecting the TP.  In high conflict divorce, the children have a relationship with both parents.  Severely alienated children only have a relationship with the FP.  In severe alienation the animosity and denigration spreads to the TP's extended family. The child severs those relationships as well. In high conflict situations children are more likely to maintain relationship with extended family 28/02/15 10 ©Dialogue In Growth Pty. Ltd. 2015. What is Parental Alienation? What are the differences between parental alienation and high conflict divorce cases?
  11. 11. ‘High Conflict or Parental Alienation?  The process between the FP and children involves devaluing, demoting and vilifying the TP.  The reasons for rejecting/hating the TP are irrational and out of proportion to justify the intense staunch relentless rejection of the TP.  The FP’s purpose - to sever the physical, emotional, and psychological relationship, and a once mutual love bond the children held with the TP.  Alienated children may lie and/or spy for the FP, and high conflict divorce children avoid choosing one parent over the other.  Alienated children make false allegations against the TP.  In high conflict divorce cases, children who have normal child and parent conflicts, express the conflict with feelings of ambivalence. 28/02/15 11 ©Dialogue In Growth Pty. Ltd. 2015. What is Parental Alienation? What are the differences between parental alienation and high conflict divorce cases?
  12. 12. Parental Alienation in Australia:2012 28/02/15©Dialogue In Growth Pty. Ltd. 2015. 12  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  Bala.N 2012 AIFS
  13. 13. Bala.N 2012 AIFS 28/02/15©Dialogue In Growth Pty. Ltd. 2015. 13
  14. 14. Parental Alienation Internationally 28/02/15©Dialogue In Growth Pty. Ltd. 2015. 14  Illegal in Brazil  Illegal in some states of Mexico including Mexico city  Legislative changes under consideration in Puerto Rico  What is illegal?  Parental involvement in causing a child to reject or refuse contact with a beloved parent  Sanctions include change of residence
  15. 15. A (Brief) Review of Parental Alienation 28/02/15©Dialogue In Growth Pty. Ltd. 2015. 15  Evidenced based family relationship presentation more than 30 years old  Developed by Dr. Richard Gardner 1980’s  Reformulated at least 3 times  1990’s a gender neutral approach-Dr. Richard Garner  2001 Alienated child perspective –Kelly and Johnson  2005 Differentiation between naïve, mild/moderate and extreme alienation (Warshak.R, Baker. A.J et.al.)  Intervention programme Family Bridges for Alienated Children (FBAC)  2012 Family Reflections Reunification Programme (FRRP). Reay, K.  2012 Family Therapy and Collaborative Systems approach to PA (Gottlieb.L)  2013-14 Attachment based formulation in process (C. Childress)  Criteria for behavioural indicators of PA remain remarkably consistent with Gardeners original formulation in the 1980’s
  16. 16. A (Brief) Review of Parental Alienation 28/02/15©Dialogue In Growth Pty. Ltd. 2015. 16  Generally considered to be a particularly egregious form of child emotional/psychological abuse and family violence (targeting the alienated parent).  Family law often leaves alienated children in the care of the abusive alienating parent because  It simply does not know what to do when an alienated child (unreasonably and harshly) refuses contact  Misinterprets a child’s rejection and aversion as the child’s genuine response independent of parental influence  Misinterprets a childs bond with a favoured or alienating parent as secure  Does not appreciate that the harm unreasonable contact refusal/rejection causes is similar to child sexual abuse and family violence (Baker, A.J. 2007, 2009)  Research (Baker, A.J 2007, 2009) indicates that outcomes for alienated children are as compromised as for other forms of abuse including sexual abuse.
  17. 17. Family Law Conflicted on PA? 28/02/15©Dialogue In Growth Pty. Ltd. 2015. 17  The Kelly and Johnston model (2001) often referred to in Family Assessments proposes that children refuse time with the other parent because.  The child experiences separation anxiety, preferring to remain with the "custodial" parent. (Exploited by an alienating parent)  The child copes/manages with severe parental conflict by minimising time with one of the parents. (Alignment NOT Alienation. Conflict created by alienating parent)  ‘It only takes one to tango’  The child is concerned about the parent's parenting style and has experienced rigidity, rejection and insensitivity. (Alignment NOT Alienation)  The child rejects the other parent because the child is concerned about the "custodial" parent's emotional stability if they had time with the other parent. This condition implies a degree of parentification (AND alienation when exploited by the favoured parent)  The child rejects the other parent's new partner because they are concerned about their treatment by the parent's partner-how it is made out to them.  Step family alienation-The ‘EX FACTOR”
  18. 18. Family Law Conflicted on PA? 28/02/15©Dialogue In Growth Pty. Ltd. 2015. 18  Family Law assesses alienation using models that do not consider alienation as material to a child’s rejection!  Kelly & Johnston model de-emphasises role of alienating parent as a causative agent. Treats the child but the cause remains  Martindale and Gould (2007) -important to distinguish between children who refuse to have time with a parent because of a range of reasons from those who are alienated.  Most PA research and practice supports the view that alienation occurs through the campaign of denigration and demotion by an alienating parent to which a child responds with unreasonable and irrational rejection  Alienating parent is the causative agent in alienating a child
  19. 19. Extreme Alienation  Harsh, unreasonable rejection  May include extended family  No ambivalence  Unbalanced  Reflexive support to favoured parent  May make unsubstantiated allegations  ‘Parroting’  Independent thinker phenomena  Favoured parent uses a variety of extreme techniques  Mail interception  Monitoring media of all types  Legal, financial, administrative abuse  Denigration  Manipulating and/or destroying family history and memories  Encouraging the child to ‘demote’ the rejected parent e.g.use of first name  Breaching orders  Passivity  Co-opt the child into spying and intelligence gathering  Contact interference  Creating a climate of fear and threat  Recruit siblings 28/02/15 19 ©Dialogue In Growth Pty. Ltd. 2015. Alienated Child Alienating Parent
  20. 20. The Alienation Proposal 28/02/15©Dialogue In Growth Pty. Ltd. 2015. 20  “I am the only parent who loves you and you need me to feel good about yourself; the other parent is dangerous and unavailable; and pursuing a relationship with the other parent jeopardizes your relationship with me.”  Baker. A.J
  21. 21. PA Injury to Targeted Parent 28/02/15©Dialogue In Growth Pty. Ltd. 2015. 21  “…that only the alienated parent suffers abuse resulting from the PAS; and because they are “big boys and big girls,” they are expected to, “Just get over it and move on.””  Gottlieb.L The Parental Alienation Syndrome: A Family Therapy and Collaborative Systems Approach to Amelioration p 209. Charles Thomas Publishers USA 2012  Trauma  Incomplete ambiguous loss  Existential ‘assault’ and violation of cherished values and beliefs  Emotional and Empathic dysregulation  Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)  Many alienated parents report at least one or more symptoms
  22. 22. PA Injury-Child 28/02/15©Dialogue In Growth Pty. Ltd. 2015. 22  The effects of losing not only the intact family, but also a parent, hang heavily over children, touching them in ways that can wreak havoc in many realms of life both in the present and future. As adults, many victims of bitter custody battles who had been permanently removed from a target parent . . . still long to be reunited with the lost parent. The loss cannot be undone. Childhood cannot be recaptured. Gone forever is that sense of history, intimacy, lost input of values and morals, self-awareness through knowing one’s beginnings, love, contact with extended family, and much more. Virtually no child possesses the ability to protect him or herself against such an undignified and total loss.  Clawar and Rivlin (1991) p. 105 in Gottlieb.L The Parental Alienation Syndrome: A Family Therapy and Collaborative Systems Approach to Amelioration p 209. Charles Thomas Publishers USA 2012
  23. 23. Outcomes for Adult Alienated Children 28/02/15©Dialogue In Growth Pty. Ltd. 2015. 23  Feelings of remorse  Regret for lost opportunities- particularly when rejected parent has since died  Suffer rates of depression, anger, anxiety, relationships difficulties, substance abuse  Report that they wish someone had intervened and NOT listened to them as children  Can be alienated from own children and family  Have adult conflict with favoured/alienating parent Baker, A. (2007). The Ties that Bind. New York: Norton.
  24. 24. Conceptions of Alienating Parents 28/02/15©Dialogue In Growth Pty. Ltd. 2015. 24  Highly plausible, high functioning. May present as the target parent  Present as rigid, defensive, moralistic, flawless and virtuous, externalise responsibility and lack insight.  Extreme personality traits such as histrionic, paranoid, anxiety borderline and narcissistic disorders  May be sub-clinical  Reactive to separation, loss.
  25. 25. Conceptions of Alienating Parents 28/02/15©Dialogue In Growth Pty. Ltd. 2015. 25  Poor boundary between self and other  Attachment injuries. E.g. Fearful-avoidant  Never stop  Become predictable and intensify their alienation as their child gets older and asserts self-agency  May lead to a fatal, non-recoverable rupture.  May turn on YOU!
  26. 26. (Mis) Conceptions of Alienated or Target Parents  They are ‘bad’ parents  Degree of parental empathy-attunement towards children  Reactivity to alienating behaviour can reinforce alienation  FALSE. Bad parenting may result in alignment- NOT alienation  TRUE-will affect remediation  TRUE-Reactive to alienation interactional cycle 28/02/15 26 ©Dialogue In Growth Pty. Ltd. 2015.
  27. 27. (Mis) Conceptions of Alienated or Target Parents  May react with passivity or withdrawal reinforcing allegations of abandonment, disinterest and poor parenting.  May be easily offended and react with aggression and disrespectful behaviour Little or no insight into their own contributing behaviours .  Confusing child’s needs with their own  TRUE- Alienated Parents simply do not know what to do  Bad advice: “The kids will eventually come around”.  FALSE. Rejected parents are violated and traumatised-may drive anger  TRUE. Inadvertently collapse own needs upon children & create insecurity.  Feeds alienation interactional cycle 28/02/15 27 ©Dialogue In Growth Pty. Ltd. 2015.
  28. 28. (Mis) Conceptions of Alienated or Target Parents  May struggle with interpersonal communication  Parenting flaws contribute to alienation  May have unrecognised FOO experience of alienation or alignment  Have diagnosed their ex-partners and may be waging their own ‘counter campaign’  The loss of a child under alienating circumstances is TRAUMATIC  FALSE. No more than any other ‘ good enough’ parent  TRUE where rejected parent reinforces alienation  TRUE. Psychodynamic aspect ‘blindsides’ rejected parents  TRUE. Some alienated/rejected parents lose sight of the children  May result in EMPATHIC and EMOTIONAL DYSREGULATION  PTSD 28/02/15 28 ©Dialogue In Growth Pty. Ltd. 2015.
  29. 29. The Target Parent’s Dilemma 28/02/15©Dialogue In Growth Pty. Ltd. 2015. 29  “Alienated parents generally find themselves in a double-bind situation: if they pursue a relationship with their resistant children, they are labeled aggressive or insensitive to their children’s feelings. But if they do not pursue their visits, they are accused of abandoning their children.”  Gottlieb.L The Parental Alienation Syndrome: A Family Therapy and Collaborative Systems Approach to Amelioration p 209. Charles Thomas Publishers USA 2012
  30. 30. Why ‘Traditional’ Therapeutic Approached are Contraindicated for PA 28/02/15©Dialogue In Growth Pty. Ltd. 2015. 30  Traditional therapeutic approaches can make PA worse; the alienated child and favored parent may entrench their positions to prove their point, thereby further entrenching their distorted views.  Factors related to the failure of traditional therapeutic approaches are:  Initially, the therapist is likely to have an adversarial relationship with some family members, including the alienating parent and the alienated child (or children)  The alienating parent and child (or children) attend reluctantly, if at all and only if legally mandated. They may be poorly motivated and deeply determined to undermine both the therapy and the therapist  Reay, K. (2015). Family Reflections: A Promising Therapeutic Program Designed to Treat Severely Alienated Children and Their Family System. American Journal of Family Therapy, Volume 43, Issue 2, pp. 1-12, 2015
  31. 31. Why ‘Traditional’ Therapeutic Approached are Contraindicated for PA 28/02/15©Dialogue In Growth Pty. Ltd. 2015. 31  Factors related to the failure of traditional therapeutic approaches are:  Co-morbid psychopathology, particularly in the alienating parent. Prevalence of personality disorders, such as antisocial and borderline personality disorders, among severely alienating parents. Such presentations are resistant to intervention for PA, as such people they may not react well to “looking in their mirror.”  Psychotherapy may not address the primary underlying problem in severe PA- the alienating parent’s problematic thinking, emotional instability, and harmful behavior. In severe cases, the alienating parent is too determined, too disturbed, and too delusional to respond to intervention– traditional or otherwise  Reay, K. (2015). Family Reflections: A Promising Therapeutic Program Designed to Treat Severely Alienated Children and Their Family System. American Journal of Family Therapy, Volume 43, Issue 2, pp. 1-12, 2015
  32. 32. Toward PA Informed Practice 28/02/15©Dialogue In Growth Pty. Ltd. 2015. 32  RED ALERT!  It is NOT NORMAL for a child to reject a formerly beloved parent/grandparent/extended family  ASK HOW, WHY?  Delusional constructs  Children’s construction of reality and attachment may not be reliable when under the influence of an alienating parental figure  Child Exclusive practice. How much credence to put on children’s views?  Evidence shows that children WANT a loving relationship with the parent they are rejecting (Baker.A.J)  They secretly want YOU to intervene and protect them from sanctions from the favoured parent
  33. 33. Toward PA Informed Practice 28/02/15©Dialogue In Growth Pty. Ltd. 2015. 33  Evidence shows that children are emotionally/psychologically abused by the process of alienation, especially if it results in them rejecting a beloved parent  Trauma markers  Targeted parents are not perfect parents, they are ‘good enough’ but they have been abused and traumatised  Rejecting a parent is traumatising  This will dys-regulate and disrupt remediation and intervention  Rejected/alienated parents have suffered emotional and attachment injury
  34. 34. Toward PA Informed Practice 28/02/15©Dialogue In Growth Pty. Ltd. 2015. 34  Attachment disorders  Alienating parents are very plausible  Personality disorders  Disorganised attachment -precursor to extreme personality traits or personality disorders  Consider both children’s behaviour AND parents behaviour (passive and active)  DANGER! Child over-empowerment  12 y.o children do not vote, do not drive, do not get to choose which parent to love
  35. 35. Toward PA Informed Practice 28/02/15©Dialogue In Growth Pty. Ltd. 2015. 35  High conflict as a possible marker of Parental Alienation  Often advantageous to one parent  One parent LOOKS like the perpetrator-but are they?  Alienated parent has no choice but to fight for their children’s welfare  Alienating parent’s best tactic is passivity  Watch out for the use of unsubstantiated allegations  Keep it NON GENDERED
  36. 36. Assessment and Intervention Principles 28/02/15©Dialogue In Growth Pty. Ltd. 2015. 36  Humanistic-existential approaches contraindicated for PA  Risk validating delusional reality  Triangulation of therapist into delusional system  Caution with family therapies that treat ‘the system’ without considering PA dynamics-blaming the victim  Alienated and alienating parents both need intervention  Trauma, disenfranchised (target or alienated parent)  Pathology, attachment injury, extreme personality traits (favoured or alienating parent)  An exclusion period, no contact between alienated child and alienating or favoured parent MUST be considered.
  37. 37. Assessment and Intervention Principles 28/02/15©Dialogue In Growth Pty. Ltd. 2015. 37  Why consider an exclusion period, no contact between alienated child and alienating or favoured parent?  Loss of or fused boundary between self and other, between alienating parent and alienated child is a key mechanism by which an alienated child loses his/her sense of self-construction, reality and individuality  Children may not see themselves as independent (despite asserting the contrary).  Therefore there is no independent ‘self’ (child)who might relate with an ‘other’ (target parent)  The ‘self’ can only be reinstated in the absence of the enveloping ‘other’  Alienated children may be ‘parentified’ into caring for an alienating parent who is ‘vulnerable’ and ‘dependent’  This is a harmful process where children’s developmental needs are suspended
  38. 38. Assessment and Intervention Principles 28/02/15©Dialogue In Growth Pty. Ltd. 2015. 38  Why consider an exclusion period, no contact between alienated child and alienating or favoured parent?  Children take ownership of alienated parents severe anxiety and may be unable to separate, individuate and differentiate appropriately in an anxiety mediated relationship where they may have difficulty experiencing their emotions separately from those of the alienating parent.  Alienated children’s distorted views and insecure attachment cannot be reosolved within a relationship that reinforces it
  39. 39. Assessment and Intervention Principles 28/02/15©Dialogue In Growth Pty. Ltd. 2015. 39  The rejected parent is the best therapist  Alienated child and rejected parent MUST be placed together  Therapist as facilitator  Challenge  Direct-reality formation, basis for harsh and unreasonable rejection, ‘unsafe’  Indirect-’what we think we see may not be what we saw’ The fallibility of human perception and memory  Discuss other situations that are similar or analagous to the child’s and alienated parent, use metaphors or examples-less threatening and more easily engaged with.
  40. 40. PA Systemic Strategic Empathy- Empathic Strategy 28/02/15©Dialogue In Growth Pty. Ltd. 2015. 40  Reunification seems to occur when rejected parents focus upon their children,  are seen to take a hit for them,  focus on relational security,  are not defensive,  appropriately challenge false assertions,  act protectively, (do not expose the child to alienating parents sanction)
  41. 41. PA Systemic Strategic Empathy- Empathic Strategy 28/02/15©Dialogue In Growth Pty. Ltd. 2015. 41  Strategically ‘manage’ the favoured/alienating parent  Allow them to expose themselves. Alienating parents are entrapped by their personality  Allay extreme anxiety/paranoia  Constructive dialectic-child must experience internal conflict to change  The ‘irritant factor’  Evoke loving memories,  Make no emotional demands and at the same time stand their ground
  42. 42. PA Systemic Strategic Empathy- Empathic Strategy 28/02/15©Dialogue In Growth Pty. Ltd. 2015. 42  Decouple from alienation interactional cycle  Drive a positive ‘counter-alienation interactional cycle’  Hold adolescent and teenage alienated children accountable and responsible for their choices  Without blame  Appeals to their next developmental level.  Let go but do not give up
  43. 43. PA Structured Family Systems Therapy 28/02/15©Dialogue In Growth Pty. Ltd. 2015. 43  Disengage the PA coalition or ‘triangle’  ‘Disrupt’ the negative interactional cycle  Alienated child is the focus but not the problem  Activate parent-child love (rejected parent-child)  Alienated parent as ‘deprogrammer’  Avoid validation of child’s distorted and delusional views of rejected parent  Does not require that the alienating parent attend  Primary focus is on the negative delusional systems between alienated child and rejected parent  Gottlieb. L.J (2012). THE PARENTAL ALIENATION SYNDROME: A Family Therapy and Collaborative Systems Approach to Amelioration. Springfield. Illinois: Charles.C. Thomas Publishers
  44. 44. Intervention Programmes 28/02/15©Dialogue In Growth Pty. Ltd. 2015. 44  FBAC Family Bridges for Alienated Children (USA, Australia), Warshak.R, Rand.R  Legal mandate  Mandatory exclusion period between alienated child and favoured parent  Since 2005-most researched  Trained facilitators in Australia  Overcoming Boundaries (USA)  Voluntary  No exclusion period  Family Reflections Reconciliation Programme (FRRP) (Canada), Reay. K  Analogous to FBAC  Since 2012  Efficacy study  Intervention (Australia)  Family Bridges (FBAC) trained facilitators/leaders  Court ordered reportable therapy
  45. 45. Family Bridges (FBAC) 28/02/15©Dialogue In Growth Pty. Ltd. 2015. 45  The Family Bridges workshop replaces the structure of traditional weekly 45-minute office sessions with an intensive private four-day workshop intervention….  The children’s reintegration with the rejected parent is accomplished both through the process and the content of the workshop… bringing parent and child together, with the support of the court, to work cooperatively on common goals helps lessen hostility and prejudice.  The syllabus covers the underlying processes that contribute to parental alienation …exercises teach how distortions in memory, perception, and thinking occur.
  46. 46. Family Bridges (FBAC) 28/02/15©Dialogue In Growth Pty. Ltd. 2015. 46  The FBAC programme also teach how:  negative stereotypes form under the influence of suggestion and authority figures,  how parental conflict harms children,  how to think critically,  how children can stay out of the middle of their parents’ conflicts, and  how the children and parent can better communicate and manage conflict.  Children learn how to maintain balanced, realistic, and compassionate views of both parents  Warshak, R.A (2014). Parental Alienation: What it is; How to Manage it. University of Texas School of Law. American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (Texas Chapter). Innovations ;Breaking Boundaries in Custody Litigation. 12-13 June 2014. Dallas, Texas. USA.
  47. 47. Principles of FBAC 28/02/15©Dialogue In Growth Pty. Ltd. 2015. 47  Goals  facilitate, repair, and strengthen the children's ability to maintain healthy relationships with both parents;  help children to avoid being in the middle of their parents' conflicts;  strengthen children's critical thinking skills;  protect children from unreasonably rejecting a parent in the future;  help children maintain balanced views and a more realistic perspective of each parent as well as themselves;  help family members develop compassionate views of each other's actions rather than excessively harsh or critical views;  strengthen the family's ability to communicate effectively with each other and to manage conflicts in a productive manner: and  strengthen the parents' skills in nurturing their children by setting and enforcing appropriate limits and avoiding psychologically intrusive interactions
  48. 48. How Effective is FBAC?  2010 US Study  23 Rejected parent-alienated children families  All with prior failed experience of counselling, family therapy, other court ordered ‘family counselling’ or other intervention  22 of 23 (96%) Successful reunifications, Positive relationship restored.  18 of 22 (82%) retained a positive relationship after long term follow up.  Relapses due to premature contact with favoured/alienating parent  Warshak, R.A. (2010). Family Bridges: Using Insights From Social Science to Reconnect Parents and Alienated Children. Family Court Review. Volume 38. No 1. January 2010. Association of Family and Conciliation Courts.  2014 US Study (in progress)  57 alienated children  40 of 57 >12 y.o  22 >14 y.o  33% rejected their mother  Evenly divided by gender  95% recovered a positive relationship with rejected parent  82% (47 0f 57) retained a positive relationship after long term follow up  Relapses due to premature contact with favoured/alienating parent  Warshak, R.A (2014). Parental Alienation: What it is; How to Manage it. University of Texas School of Law. American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (Texas Chapter). Innovations ;Breaking Boundaries in Custody Litigation. 12-13 June 2014. Dallas, Texas. USA 28/02/15 48 ©Dialogue In Growth Pty. Ltd. 2015.
  49. 49. Family Reflections Reunification Programme (Reay, K.) 28/02/15©Dialogue In Growth Pty. Ltd. 2015. 49  ”The Family Reflections Reunification Program...is often utilized in circumstances where traditional therapy has not proven successful to foster a healthy relationship between children and a rejected normative parent. “  “The purpose of the FRRP is to reconcile children with their rejected normative parent and to foster a healthy relationship between the child and his or her rejected parent. “  Court mandated: British Columbia, a court may order, under Section 40 and 41 of the Family Law Act, that the target parent (or some suitable third party) shall have guardianship and parental responsibility of the child to enroll and place the child in FRRP for a period of up to one year.  This includes aftercare services for the purpose of restoring the child’s relationship with the target parent and his/her family.  Reay, K. (2015). Family Reflections: A Promising Therapeutic Program Designed to Treat Severely Alienated Children and Their Family System. American Journal of Family Therapy, Volume 43, Issue 2, pp. 1-12, 2015
  50. 50. FRRP Structure 28/02/15©Dialogue In Growth Pty. Ltd. 2015. 50  1. TRANSITION PHASE: The child and his or her siblings initially attend the retreat without having any contact with both parents.  2. REUNIFICATION PHASE: The child subsequently begins a psycho-educational program that leads to the reunification process with the rejected parent  The rejected parent arrives at the retreat shortly after the child begins working with a psychologist in preparation for a successful reunification  Reay, K. (2015). Family Reflections: A Promising Therapeutic Program Designed to Treat Severely Alienated Children and Their Family System. American Journal of Family Therapy, Volume 43, Issue 2, pp. 1-12, 2015
  51. 51. FRRP Structure 28/02/15©Dialogue In Growth Pty. Ltd. 2015. 51  3. DEPARTURE PHASE: The child and rejected parent engage in various psycho-educational and outdoor experiential programs separately and then together after they have successfully reconnected with each other.  The favored parent begins counseling with a FRRP therapist.  FOLLOW UP PHASE: A continuing care plan supports the reunification process over the long- term.  Reay, K. (2015). Family Reflections: A Promising Therapeutic Program Designed to Treat Severely Alienated Children and Their Family System. American Journal of Family Therapy,
  52. 52. How Effective is FRRP? (Reay, K.) 28/02/15©Dialogue In Growth Pty. Ltd. 2015. 52  Preliminary studies show a “95% success rate in re-establishing a healthy relationship within a very short period of time between severely alienated children/youths and their rejected parent”.  The FRRP began in early 2012.  Families were followed at 3-month, 6-month, 9- month and 12-month intervals. .  Two additional research studies underway.  Reay, K. (2015). Family Reflections: A Promising Therapeutic Program Designed to Treat Severely Alienated Children and Their Family System. American Journal of Family Therapy, Volume 43, Issue 2, pp. 1-12, 2015
  53. 53. What Next? 28/02/15©Dialogue In Growth Pty. Ltd. 2015. 53  Family consultants need to consider criteria for assessing PA  Treat PA as child abusive  Treat PA as a form of family violence  Differentiate ‘high conflict’ and parental alienation  Consider recommending a structured intervention programme in severe cases  Develop PA informed practice.  Further workshops/training  Psychological/social work/counselling  Legal
  54. 54. References 28/02/15©Dialogue In Growth Pty. Ltd. 2015. 54  Altobelli, T. (2011). “When a Child Rejects a Parent: Why Children Resist Contact”. Australian Journal of Family Law. No 185  Baker. A.J. (2007). Breaking The Ties That Bind: Adult Children of Parental Alienation Syndrome. New York USA. W.W Norton & Company.  Baker.A.J, Sauber, R.S. (2013). Working with Alienated Children and Families: A Clinical Guidebook. New York. USA. Routledge  Baker, A.J, Bone, M.J, Ludmer, B. (2014). The High Conflict Custody Battle: Protect Yourself and Your Kids From a Toxic Divorce, False Accusations and Parental Alienation. USA.Harbinger Publications.  Darnall. D.(2010). Beyond Divorce Casualties: Reunifying The Alienated Family. New York. USA Taylor Trade Publishing  Gottlieb. L.J (2012). THE PARENTAL ALIENATION SYNDROME: A Family Therapy and Collaborative Systems Approach to Amelioration. Springfield. Illinois: Charles.C. Thomas Publishers  Gould, J.W, Martindale , D.A. The Art and Science of Child Custody Evaluations, (2009). New York. USA. The Guilford Press  Kelly, J. B., & Johnston, J. R. (2001). The Alienated Child: a Reformulation of Parental Alienation Syndrome. Family Court Review, 39(3), 249-266.  Lorandos.D, Bernet.W, Sauber R.S, (2013)Parental Alienation: The Handbook for Mental Health and Legal Professionals. Springfield. Illinois: Charles.C. Thomas Publishers
  55. 55. References 28/02/15©Dialogue In Growth Pty. Ltd. 2015. 55  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.  McBride, J.(2012). Child-less Parent: Snapshots of Parental Alienation. USA. CCS Communication.  Moore,T. Please…Let Me See My Son: A Fathers Fight with Parental Alienation and the Family Law Process.(2013). Guildford. UK. Grosvenor House Publishing  Reay, K. (2015). Family Reflections: A Promising Therapeutic Program Designed to Treat Severely Alienated Children and Their Family System. American Journal of Family Therapy, Volume 43, Issue 2, pp. 1-12, 2015  Reahy, M (2011). Toxic Divorce-A Workbook for Alienated Parents  Warshak, R.A (2014). Parental Alienation: What it is; How to Manage it. University of Texas School of Law. American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (Texas Chapter). Innovations ;Breaking Boundaries in Custody Litigation. 12-13 June 2014. Dallas, Texas. USA.  Warshak, R. A. (2010). Divorce Poison: How to Protect Your Family from Bad-mouthing and Brainwashing. New York: Harper Collins.  Warshak, R.A. (2010). Family Bridges: Using Insights From Social Science to Reconnect Parents and Alienated Children. Family Court Review. Volume 38. No 1. January 2010. Association of Family and Conciliation Courts.
  56. 56. Resources and Links 28/02/15©Dialogue In Growth Pty. Ltd. 2015. 56  International Parental Alienation Study Group  www.pasg.info  Overcoming Parental Alienation  www.dialogueingrowth.com.au  Family Bridges  www.warshak.com  Family Reflections Reunification Programme (FRRP)  www.familyreflectionsprogram.com  kreaycounselling.com

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