A false sex-abuse accusation is sometimes seen as a derivative or spin-off of the PAS. Such an accusation may serve as an extremely effective weapon in a child-custody dispute.
SPECIAL REPORT May, 1999 Volume 2 No. 5
THE PARENTAL ALIENATION SYNDROME AND SEX-ABUSE ACCUSATIONS
''The best time for your client to attend sex offender treatment is before they go trial''
A false sex-abuse accusation is sometimes seen as a derivative or spin-off of the PAS. Such an accusation may serve as an extremely effective weapon in a child-custody dispute. Obviously, the presence of such false accusations does not preclude the existence of bona fide sex abuse, even in the context of a PAS. Although the sex-abuse factor in the PAS is an important one, I only make minimal reference to it in this book. Rather, I focus primarily on the etiology, development, manifestations, and treatment of the PAS, having elaborated on the sex-abuse factor in previous books (Gardner, 1987a, 1995a) and in a forthcoming volume (Gardner, 1999). So formidable and complex is this component that a separate book was warranted.
In recent years, some examiners have been using the term PAS to refer to a false sex-abuse accusation in the context of a child-custody dispute. In some cases the terms are used synonymously. This is a significant misperception of the PAS. In the majority of cases in which a PAS is present, the sex-abuse accusation is not promulgated. In some cases, however, especially after other exclusionary maneuvers have failed, the sex-abuse accusation will emerge. The sex-abuse accusation, then, is often a spin-off, or derivative, of the PAS but is certainly not synonymous with it. Furthermore, there are divorce situations in which the sex-abuse accusation may arise without a preexisting PAS. Under such circumstances, of course, one must give serious consideration to the possibility that true sex abuse has occurred, especially if the accusation antedated the marital separation. I am in agreement with Mapes (1995), who holds that professionals conducting forensic assessments of alleged sex abuse should be knowledgeable about the PAS as a motivating factor for a false sex-abuse accusation.
Another factor operative in the need to deny the existence of the PAS, and relegate it to the level of being only a "theory," is its relationship to sex-abuse accusations. I mention frequently throughout the course of this book that a sex-abuse accusation is a possible spin-off or derivative of the PAS. My experience has been that the sex-abuse accusation does not appear in the vast majority of PAS cases. There are some, however, who equate the PAS with a sex-abuse accusation, or a false sex-abuse accusation. My experience has been that when a sex-abuse accusation emerges in the context of a PAS--especially after the failure of a series of exclusionary maneuvers--the accusation is far more likely to be false than true. Claiming that a sex-abuse accusation may be false also has potentially been politically risky in recent years and not "politically correct." Those of us who have stood up and made such claims, both within and outside of the realm of the PAS, have subjected ourselves to enormous criticism--often impassioned and irrational. My experience has been that sex-abuse accusations that arise within the context of PAS situations are more likely to be directed toward men than women. Accordingly, in sex-abuse cases in the context of custody disputes I am more likely to testify in support of the man. This somehow proves me "sexist." The fact that I have most often testified in support of women to be designated the primary custodial parent--even when there has been a sex-abuse accusation--does not seem to dispel this myth. Richard A. Gardner, M.D.
Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS)
"This condition arises as a distinctive form of psychological injury to children in high conflict divorce. It occurs when the child becomes aligned with one parent as a result of the unjustified and/or exaggerated denigration of the other parent. This leads to an impaired relationship with the alienated (target) parent and an absolute loss of parenting as a result of the hostility of the parent producing the alienation. In most cases of high conflict divorce, there are degrees of alienation. In severe cases, the child's once love-bonded relationship with the target/rejected parent is destroyed."
Diagnosis and treatment:
Whenever there is alleged, obvious or deep-seated parental alienation, the diagnosis and treatment must proceed swiftly to preclude the worsening of the condition. Diagnosis involves an estimation of the extent of the alienation and the nature of the causative factors. Attention is paid to rejecting behaviors on the part of the alienating parent that undermine the child's legitimate need for a relationship with both parents. Rejecting behaviors include: terrorizing factors by which the child may be bullied and verbally assaulted into being fearful of the target parent to the point where the child fears contact with that parent; relating factors where the alienating parent keeps the child from normal opportunities for parenting with the target parent, their relatives, friends and extended family; and corrupting influences where the child is mis-socialized and misinformed by the alienating parent about the real intentions of the target parent.
After careful assessment of the individual case as a result of the mandated participation of both parents, a treatment plan is devised and tailored to the degree of alienation documented. Mild and moderate degrees of alienation are properly dealt with through family therapy and parent education. Therapy is begun to support the child's healthy need for both parents, to eradicate unhelpful contributions of the alienating parent and unwitting contributing factors on the part of the target parent.
Severe alienation with a phobic or hysterical reaction of the child to the target parent and alienation of the child to the point of prolonged visitation refusal or cessation must be treated aggressively to have any hope of a successful outcome. Separation from the alienating parent is often mandatory. This separation can be accomplished by mandating the child to foster care, the care of other relatives or to a hospital setting which has a specially trained staff for rehabilitation, deprogramming and reestablishment of the parent-child relationship.
The Rye Hospital Center staff is prepared to evaluate cases of PAS and implement inpatient treatment for severely alienated children and their families. During a hospital placement for the treatment of PAS the hospital staff will focus on the child's feelings about the alienating parent and the target parent. The child will be educated to the healthy realities of attachment to eliminate the distortions supporting alienation. Group sessions with other alienated children will be used whenever possible. Intensive therapy with the target parent will aim at the reintegration of the alienated child in a loving relationship. In addition, while there may be minimal contact for a significant period of time between the child and the alienating parent, an intensive educational therapy will be used with the alienating parent to create a correct understanding of that parent's responsibility for maintaining a loving connection that keeps both parents in the child's life.
A post-hospital treatment plan will be devised to continue the reintegration of the child with the target parent and his/her extended family and maintain the changes in the alienating parent. The plan will include gradual integration of the alienating parent back into the child's life, possibly through supervised visitation and carefully monitored contacts. The out-patient treatment may involve a change of residence for the child to the custody of the former target parent until the court can be assured that the behaviors that produced the alienation have been remedied.
Every case will be dealt with on an individual basis with treatment plans carefully tailored to the needs of all the parties. The goal will be the restoration of a relationship with both parents. The expectation of the program is to produce life-long benefit to the child and enable the child to have a normal psychological development even after divorce.
After-care plans describing the hospitalization, interventions and continued treatment will be a routine part of discharge planning. Blueprints for an ongoing treatment of all parties covered will be furnished to treating personnel in the area to which the child returns. Edward M. Stephens, M.D. Member, American Psychiatric Association
Committee on Juvenile Justice Member, American Psychiatric Association Committee on Mental Health in Schools
From FAMILY PRACTICE NEWS, Vol 20, #24, December 15-31, 1990, page 7. Custody Disputes Fueling Parental Alienation Syndrome
New York -- With increasing child custody disputes has come a growth in parental alienation syndrome, Dr. Richard A. Gardner said at a meeting of the American Academy of Psychoanalysis.
Abetted by one parent, the child develops an obsessive, irrational hatred of the other, who is viewed as the incarnation of evil, said Dr. Gardner, a child psychiatrist at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York.
Ninety percent of the time, the father is the victim; but in 10% the roles are reversed. There is no history of abuse. To call it brainwashing would be an oversimplification. The child jumps on the mother's bandwagon...but adds his own scenario, he said.
In the typical presentation, which may arise within days of the announcement of custody conflict, the child obsessively denigrates the father, with no empathy and little guilt. The denigration has a litany quality; every altercation of the past is used to justify his hatred.
Lack of Normal Ambivalence
When asked why he never wanted to see his father again, one little boy said that he chewed too loud and added, He used to say, `Don't interrupt.'
Bizarre charges, condoned by the mother, may be made. One child said that his father had murdered his grandfather, who had actually died, at age 85, in the hospital. The father was the kind of person who would do it, the boy declared, supplying details of the crime.
When asked what she thought, the mother said she didn't actually believe the murder had happened, adding but I wouldn't put it past him, Dr. Gardner said.
A hallmark of the syndrome is the child's lack of normal ambivalence toward both parents: He can find nothing he dislikes about his mother and nothing he likes about his father.
The hatred may extend to the father's family; grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins with whom relations had previously been good are now viewed as despicable, Dr. Gardner said.
Evidence that might counteract the distortions is met with rationalization and delusion. Asked about a photograph from happier times in which the family was together at Disney World, one boy explained that if I didn't smile for the picture, he'd beat me.
He believes the syndrome has arisen as a result of social and legal changes of the last 15 or 20 years. In the mid-1970's, the presumption that the mother is the de facto preferred custodial parent gave way to an egalitarian commitment to determine the child's best interests in a gender-blind fashion.
Custody disputes burgeoned and the erosion of the mother's position deepened in the late 1970's and early 1980's with the increasing popularity of the joint custody concept.
In severe cases of parental alienation syndrome -- the alienating parent is unamenable to therapy and so filled with rage, paranoia, and delusions that a virtual folie a deux has developed with the child - the only hope is court ordered removal of the child to the other parent's home. In this case, the primary psychological bond is strong but sick, he said.
In more moderate cases, the bond must be respected but the child induced to see the other parent. Being respectful of the child's wishes won't work, Dr. Gardner said.
To give the child no choice but to see the father provides an excuse that allows him to protect his relationship with the mother ( I still hate him, but the judge says I have to ).
In moderate and milder cases, truncating custody litigation is probably more therapeutic than any intervention in resolving the syndrome. Once the threat is gone, there's no need for the scenario, he said.
The syndrome may be seen at any age past 3 or 4 years. When a couple in their fifties divorces acrimoniously, a variant may occur in children in their twenties.
In severe cases, lifelong alienation from one parent may ensue, Dr. Gardner said.
Parental Alienation: What Can the Courts Do?
Recognize early the symptoms of alienation. Intervene quickly.
Don't let attorneys use unfounded delay tactics like continuances.
Order parents into therapy (family systems therapy), hopefully before they come to an agreement on a Shared Parenting Plan.
Order a Guardian Ad Litem to monitor compliance and report to the court.
Don't withhold visits unless there is a question about the child's safety. There is always the risk that withholding visits will reinforce alienation and increase the risk that the child will believe there is something wrong with the targeted parent.
Give the parents an opportunity to speak before the court.
If the child is already alienated, order therapy for the child.
Since the 1970s, we have witnessed a burgeoning of child-custody disputes unparalleled in history. This increase has primarily been the result of two recent developments in the realm of child-custody litigation, namely, the replacement of the tender-years presumption with the best-interests-of-the-child presumption and the increasing popularity of the joint-custodial concept. The assumption was made that mothers, by virtue of the fact that they are female, are intrinsically superior to men as child rearers. Accordingly, the father had to provide to the court compelling evidence of serious maternal deficiencies before the court would even consider assigning primary custodial status to the father. Under its replacement, the best interests of the child presumption, the courts were instructed to ignore gender in custodial considerations and evaluate only parenting capacity, especially factors that related to the best interests of the child. This change resulted in a burgeoning of custody litigation as fathers now found themselves with a greater opportunity to gain primary custodial status. Soon thereafter the joint-custodial concept came into vogue, eroding even further the time that custodial mothers were given with their children. Again, this change also brought about an increase and intensification of child-custody litigation.
In association with this burgeoning of child-custody litigation, we have witnessed a dramatic increase in the frequency of a disorder rarely seen previously, a disorder that I refer to as the parental alienation syndrome (PAS). In this disorder we see not only programming ( brainwashing ) of the child by one parent to denigrate the other parent, but self-created contributions by the child in support of the alienating parent's campaign of denigration against the alienated parent. Because of the child's contribution I did not consider the terms brainwashing, programming, or other equivalent words to be applicable. Accordingly, in 1985, I introduced the term parental alienation syndrome to cover the combination of these two contributing factors (Gardner, 1985a, 1987b).
In accordance with this use of the term I suggest this definition of the parental alienation syndrome:
The parental alienation syndrome (PAS) 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. It results from the combination of a programming (brainwashing) parent's indoctrinations and the child's own contributions to the vilification of the target parent. When true parental abuse and/or neglect is present the child's animosity may be justified, and so the parental alienation syndrome explanation for the child's hostility is not applicable. Richard A. Gardner, M.D.
THE PARENTAL ALIENATION SYNDROME IS NOT THE SAME AS PROGRAMMING ( BRAINWASHING )
It has come as a surprise to me from reports in both the legal and mental health literature that the definition of the PAS is often misinterpreted. Specifically, there are many who use the term as synonymous with parental brainwashing or programming. No reference is made to the child's own contributions to the victimization of the targeted parent. Those who do this have missed an extremely important point regarding the etiology, manifestations, and even the treatment of the PAS. The term PAS refers only to the situation in which the parental programming is combined with the child's own scenarios of disparagement of the vilified parent. Were we to be dealing here simply with parental indoctrination, I would have simply retained and utilized the terms brainwashing and/or programming. Because the campaign of denigration involves the aforementioned combination, I decided a new term was warranted, a term that would encompass both contributory factors. Furthermore, it was the child's contribution that led me to my concept of the etiology and pathogenesis of this disorder. The understanding of the child's contribution is of importance in implementing the therapeutic guidelines described in this book. Richard A. Gardner, M.D.
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE PARENTAL ALIENATION SYNDROME AND BONA FIDE ABUSE AND/OR NEGLECT
Unfortunately, the term parental alienation syndrome is often used to refer to the animosity that a child may harbor against a parent who has actually abused the child, especially over an extended period. The term has been used to apply to the major categories of parental abuse: physical, sexual, and emotional. Such application indicates a misunderstanding of the PAS. The term PAS is applicable only when the target parent has not exhibited anything close to the degree of alienating behavior that might warrant the campaign of vilification exhibited by the child. Rather, in typical cases the victimized parent would be considered by most examiners to have provided normal, loving parenting or, at worst, exhibited minimal impairments in parental capacity. It is the exaggeration of minor weaknesses and deficiencies that is the hallmark of the PAS. When bona fide abuse does exist, then the child's responding alienation is warranted and the PAS diagnosis is not applicable.
Programming parents who are accused of inducing a PAS in their children will sometimes claim that the children's campaign of denigration is warranted because of bona fide abuse and/or neglect perpetrated by the denigrated parent. Such indoctrinating parents may claim that the counter-accusation by the target parent of PAS induction by the programming parent is merely a cover-up, a diversionary maneuver, and indicates attempts by the vilified parent to throw a smoke screen over the abuses and/or neglect that have justified the children's acrimony. There are some genuinely abusing and/or neglectful parents who will indeed deny their abuses and rationalize the children's animosity as simply programming by the other parent. This does not preclude the existence of truly innocent parents who are indeed being victimized by an unjustifiable PAS campaign of denigration. When such cross accusations occur--namely, bona fide abuse and/or neglect versus a true PAS--it behooves the examiner to conduct a detailed inquiry in order to ascertain the category in which the children's accusations lie, i.e., true PAS or true abuse and/or neglect. In some situations, this differentiation may not be easy, especially when there has been some abuse and/or neglect and the PAS has been superimposed upon it, resulting thereby in much more deprecation than would be justified in this situation. It is for this reason that detailed inquiry is often crucial if one is to make a proper diagnosis. Joint interviews, with all parties in all possible combinations, will generally help uncover The Truth in such situations. Stahl (1994) and Hysjulien, et al. (1994) make reference to the complexity of some PAS evaluations. Richard A. Gardner, M.D.
THE PARENTAL ALIENATION SYNDROME AS A FORM OF CHILD ABUSE
It is important for examiners to appreciate that a parent who inculcates a PAS in a child is indeed perpetrating a form of emotional abuse in that such programming may not only produce lifelong alienation from a loving parent, but lifelong psychiatric disturbance in the child. A parent who systematically programs a child into a state of ongoing denigration and rejection of a loving and devoted parent is exhibiting complete disregard of the alienated parent's role in the child's upbringing. Such an alienating parent is bringing about a disruption of a psychological bond that could, in the vast majority of cases, prove of great value to the child--the separated and divorced status of the parents notwithstanding. Such alienating parents exhibit a serious parenting deficit, a deficit that should be given serious consideration by courts when deciding primary custodial status. Physical and/or sexual abuse of a child would quickly be viewed by the court as a reason for assigning primary custody to the nonabusing parent. Emotional abuse is much more difficult to assess objectively, especially because many forms of emotional abuse are subtle and difficult to verify in a court of law. The PAS, however, is most often readily identified, and courts would do well to consider its presence a manifestation of emotional abuse by the programming parent.
Garbarino and Stott (1992) consider the PAS to be an example of what they refer to as the psychologically battered child and describe it specifically, by name, as one form of child battering. Rogers (1992) identifies five types of psychological maltreatment: rejecting, terrorizing, ignoring, isolating, and corrupting, and then describes how each of these types may be seen in the PAS. Accordingly, courts do well to consider the PAS programming parent to be exhibiting a serious parental deficit when weighing the pros and cons of custodial transfer. I am not suggesting that a PAS-inducing parent should automatically be deprived of primary custody, only that such induction should be considered a serious deficit in parenting capacity---a form of emotional abuse--and that it be given serious consideration when weighing the custody decision. In this book, I provide specific guidelines regarding the situations when such transfer is not only desirable, but even crucial, if the children are to be protected from lifelong alienation from the targeted parent. Richard A. Gardner, M.D.
THE PARENTAL ALIENATION SYNDROME DOES NOT EXIST BECAUSE IT IS NOT IN DSM-IV
There are some, especially adversaries in child-custody disputes, who claim that there is no such entity as the PAS, that it is only a theory, or that it is Gardner's theory. Some claim that I invented the PAS, with the implication that it is merely a figment of my imagination. The main argument given to justify this position is that it does not appear in DSM-IV. The DSM committees justifiably are quite conservative with regard to the inclusion of newly described clinical phenomena and require many years of research and publications before considering inclusion of a disorder, and this is as it should be. The PAS exists! Any lawyer involved in child-custody disputes will attest to that fact. Mental health and legal professionals involved in such disputes must be observing it. They may not wish to recognize it. They may give it another name (like parental alienation ). But that does not preclude its existence. A tree exists as a tree regardless of the reactions of those looking at it. A tree still exists even though some might give it another name. If a dictionary selectively decides to omit the word tree from its compilation of words, that does not mean that the tree does not exist. It only means that the people who wrote that book decided not to include that particular word. Similarly, for someone to look at a tree and say that the tree does not exist does not cause the tree to evaporate. It only indicates that the viewer, for whatever reason, does not wish to see what is right in front of him (her). To refer to the PAS as a theory or Gardner's theory implies the nonexistence of the disorder. It implies that it is a figment of my imagination and has no basis in reality. To say that PAS does not exist because it is not listed in DSM-IV is like saying in 1980 that AIDS does not exist because it is not listed in standard diagnostic medical textbooks. The PAS is not a theory, it is a fact. My ideas about its etiology and psychodynamics might very well be called theory. The crucial question then is whether my theory regarding the etiology and psychodynamics of the PAS is reasonable, and whether my ideas fit in with the facts.
This is something for the readers of this book to decide.
But why this controversy in the first place? With regard to whether PAS exists, we generally do not see such controversy regarding most other clinical entities in psychiatry. Examiners may have different opinions regarding the etiology and treatment of a particular psychiatric disorder, but there is usually some consensus about its existence. And this should especially be the case for a relatively pure disorder such as the PAS, a disorder that is easily diagnosable because of the similarity of the children's symptoms when one compares one family with another. Over the years, I have received many letters from people who have essentially said: Your PAS book is uncanny. You don't know me and yet I felt that I was reading my own family's biography. You wrote your book before all this trouble started in my family. It's almost like you predicted what would happen. Why, then, should there be such controversy over whether or not PAS exists?
One explanation lies in the situation in which the PAS emerges and in which the diagnosis is made: vicious child-custody litigation. Once an issue is brought before a court of law-in the context of adversarial proceedings-it behooves one side to take just the opposite position from the other, if one is to prevail in that forum. A parent accused of inducing a PAS in a child is likely to engage the services of a lawyer who may invoke the argument that there is no such thing as a PAS. And if this lawyer can demonstrate that the PAS is not listed in DSM-IV, then the position is considered proven. The only thing this proves to me is that DSM-IV has not yet listed the PAS. It also proves the low levels to which members of the legal profession will stoop in order to zealously support their client's position, no matter how ludicrous their arguments and how destructive they are to the children.
An important factor operative in the PAS not being listed in DSM-IV relates to political issues. Things that are hot and controversial are not likely to get the consensus that more neutral issues enjoy. As I will elaborate upon below, the PAS has been dragged into the political-sexual arena, and those who would support its inclusion in DSM-IV are likely to find themselves embroiled in vicious controversy and the object of scorn, rejection, and derision. The easier path, then, is to avoid involving oneself in such inflammatory conflicts, even if it means omitting from DSM one of the more common childhood disorders.
The PAS is a relatively discrete disorder and is more easily diagnosed than many of the other disorders in DSM-IV. At this point, articles are coming forth and it is being increasingly cited in court rulings. Articles about PAS in the scientific literature will be cited throughout the course of this book. Court rulings in which the PAS is cited are also appearing with increasing frequency. I continue to list these on my web site as they appear (http://www.rgardner.com/refs). My hope is that by the time committees are formed for the preparation of DSM-V, the committee(s) evaluating for inclusion will see fit to include the PAS and have the courage to withstand those holdouts who, for whatever reason, need to deny the reality of the world. It may interest the reader to note that if PAS is ultimately included in the DSM, its name will be changed to include the term disorder, the current label utilized for psychiatric illnesses that warrant inclusion. It might very well have its name changed to parental alienation disorder. Richard A. Gardner, M.D.
THE PARENTAL ALIENATION SYNDROME IS NOT A SYNDROME
There are some who claim that the PAS is not really a syndrome. This criticism, like many, is especially seen in courts of law in the context of child-custody disputes. It is an argument sometimes promulgated by those who claim that PAS does not even exist. The PAS is a very specific disorder. A syndrome, by medical definition, is a cluster of symptoms, occurring together, that characterize a specific disease. The symptoms, although seemingly disparate, warrant being grouped together because of a common etiology or basic underlying cause. Furthermore, there is a consistency with regard to this cluster in that most (if not all) of the symptoms appear together. Accordingly, there is a kind of purity that a syndrome has that may not be seen in other diseases. For example, a person suffering with pneumococcal pneumonia may have chest pain, cough, purulent sputum, and fever. However, the individual may still have the disease without all these symptoms manifesting themselves. The syndrome is more often pure because most (if not all) of the symptoms in the cluster predictably manifest themselves.
An example would be Down's Syndrome, which includes a host of seemingly disparate symptoms that do not appear to have a common link. These include mental retardation, mongoloid-type facial expression, drooping lips, slanting eyes, short fifth finger, and characteristic creases in the palms of the hands. There is a consistency here in that the people who suffer with Down's Syndrome often look very much alike and most typically will exhibit all these symptoms. The common etiology of these disparate symptoms relates to a specific chromosomal abnormality. It is this genetic factor that is responsible for linking together these seemingly disparate symptoms. There is then a primary, basic cause of Down's Syndrome: a genetic abnormality.
Similarly, the PAS is characterized by a cluster of symptoms that usually appear together in the child, especially in the moderate and severe types. These include:
A campaign of denigration
Weak, absurd, or frivolous rationalizations for the deprecation
Lack of ambivalence
The independent-thinker phenomenon
Reflexive support of the alienating parent in the parental conflict
Absence of guilt over cruelty to and/or exploitation of the alienated parent
The presence of borrowed scenarios
Spread of the animosity to the friends and/or extended family of the alienated parent.
Typically, children who suffer with PAS will exhibit most (if not all) of these symptoms. This is almost uniformly the case for the moderate and severe types. However, in the mild cases one might not see all eight symptoms. When mild cases progress to moderate or severe, it is highly likely that most (ii not all) of the symptoms will be present. This consistency results in PAS children resembling one another. It is because of these considerations that the PAS is a relatively pure diagnosis that can easily be made by those who are not somehow blocked from seeing what is right in front of them. As is true of other syndromes, there is an underlying cause: programming by an alienating parent in conjunction with additional contributions by the programmed child. It is for these reasons that PAS is indeed a syndrome, and it is a syndrome by the best medical definition of the term. Richard A. Gardner, M.D.
Articles in Peer-Review Journals on the Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) by Richard A. Gardner, M.D. is a description of the nature of PAS and a compilation of citations by the researcher who introduced the term. This is available through a link to his company, Creative Therapeutics at http://www.rgardner.com/ This particular paper as also been captured into a PDF format (January 4, 1999 version). On the site, Dr. Gardner also has a list of legal citations indicating times that testimony on PAS has been admitted in the courts of various jurisdictions. The site is set up to allow you to order books, including his The Parental Alienation Syndrome (2nd edition) directly.
Rye Hospital Program For Treating Children Affected by Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS), as published on the web site http://www.divorcedfather.com , written by Edward M. Stephens, M.D., provides some information on the diagnosis and treatment of Parental Alienation Syndrome. This particular page as also been captured in PDF format.
Differentiating between Parental Alienation Syndrome and Bona Fide Abuse-Neglect by Richard A. Gardner from The American Journal of Family Therapy, Volume 27, Number 2, p 97-107 (April-June 1999). Talk about a HOT new article! The article looks at the differences in children, but most specifically adults, under a PAS situation with false allegations of abuse or neglect, and the same where there is true abuse-neglect. Truly makes one wonder seriously about the inducers of PAS. This document is also available in PDF format.
Parental Alienation Syndrome: How to Detect It and What to Do About It by J. Michael Bone and Michael R. Walsh as published in The Florida Bar Journal, Volume 73, Number 3, March 1999, p. 44-48. This new article is meant for lawyers. It provides a higher level look at PAS, provides the indications that a lawyer or judge can use to tell if PAS is present, and deals with the absolute need of the courts to operate swiftly if PAS is detected. A quote from the article: Any attempt at alienating children from the other parent should be seen as a direct and willful violation of one of the prime duties of parenthood . This document is also available in PDF format.
Alienation Revisted as presented by Mr. Paul Lodge, FCOA, at the Third National Family Court Conference October 20-24 in Melbourse, Australia. This article is conference notes that were initially taken in PDF formation from the conference site. The conference material has moved several times so that a good link is not available. This is conference material, so make some allowances for missing points and references that are not used, please. The original PDF document is available here.
Identifying Cases of Parent Alienation Syndrome--Part I by Leona M. Kopetski as published in The Colorado Lawyer, February 1998, Volume 27, Number 2 p 65-68
(also available in PDF format), and
Identifying Cases of Parent Alienation Syndrome--Part II by Leona M. Kopetski as published in The Colorado Lawyer, February 1998, Volume 27, Number 3 p 61-64 (also available in PDF format)
These articles deal with evidence of PAS that pre-dated Gardners original work and talks about the impact of PAS on children. The final comments on the second part talks about the significance of sexual reproduction, and equivalent psychological nature of this.... If children are allowed free access to these different people, they do not need a perfect parent. It is not individual parental mistakes that harm the development of children. It is the exclusion of these different people that places them in danger.... .
The Emerging Problem of Parental Alienation by Caroline Willbourne and Lesley-Anne Cull, as published in Family Law, December 1997, p. 807-8. This document is meant for lawyers and provides an overview of things to look at that indicate parental alienation (though I doubt that lawyers see the children enough to tell) but also talks about the damage done to the children in leaving them in the residential care of the alienating parent.. This document is also available in PDF format.
Management of Visitation Interference as published in The Judges' Journal (Number 36) of the American Bar Association in the Spring of 1997. This document is meant for judges and is very strong and specific about the types of therapy and the considerations in orders that are required to handle access problems when Parental Alienation Syndrome or Divorce-Related Malicious Mother Syndrome in involved. This document is also available in PDF format.
Summary of the Practice Parameters for Child Custody Evaluation as published on the website of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry as approved in 1997 and published in their Journal. Parental alienation is recognised as the serious problem that it is. This particular page as also been captured in PDF format.
Perspectives on Parental Alienation, Child Custody and Dispute Resolution Systems by Anita Vestal was an award winning essay in the American Bar Association's Section on Dispute Resolution and can be found, in a less formatted form at http://www.abanet.org/dispute/comwin.html This is also available in PDF format. This is a good summary of PAS meant for lawyers and discusses such things as the problems with mediation and joint custody when PAS is involved.
The Spectrum of Parental Alienation Syndrome (Part I) by Deirdre Conway Rand as published in the American Journal of Forensic Psychology, Volume 15, Number 3, 1997. This came from files at Aktive Fedre, a new fathers' group in Norway (with minor cleaning by FACT) and is kept in two pieces due to the size of the HTML file. These files have also been put into a single file in PDF format.
The Spectrum of Parental Alienation Syndrome (Part II) by Deirdre Conway Rand as published in the American Journal of Forensic Psychology, Volume 15, Number 4, 1997. This came from Aktive Fedre as well (with minor cleaning by FACT) and is kept in three pieces due to the size of the HTML file. These files have also been put into a single file in PDF format. These are excellent articles and deal with not only the psychological aspects of PAS, but the legal process and judicial recognition (mostly in the US) of PAS. We would strongly recommend reading them, and then perhaps distributing them to judges, lawyers, social workers, psychologists, journalists, etc. who deal with, or are interested in, the children of divorce.
Parental Alienation Syndrome: An Age-Old Custody Problem by Michael R. Walsh and J. Michael Bone from the June 1997 issue of The Florida Bar Journal (p. 93-96). This is also available in PDF format. This is an excellent article for officers of the courts and parents in looking at the face of PAS, the problems with dealing with it, and their roles in protecting the children.
Relocation as a Strategy to Interfere with the Child-Parent Relationship by Ira Daniel Turkat, Ph.D. from the American Journal of Family Law, Volume 11, 39-41 (1996). This article talks about the unhealthy relocation of children to interfere with parental contact and identifies some of the risk factors associated with this. A good article to look at for casting some question on relocations. This document is available in PDF format.
Understanding and Collaboratively Treating Parental Alienation Syndrome by Kenneth H. Waldron, Ph.D. and David E. Joanis, J. D. from the American Journal of Family Law, Volume 10, 121-133 (1996). This is an good article and attempts to broaden the discussion of the nature of PAS by examining the alienating parent, the target parent, and the family system, as well as the techniques used in and results of parental alienation. It also discusses the adversarial system, and the roles of the parties if there is truly a concern about protecting the children. This document is also available in PDF format.
Children's Alignment with Parents in Highly Conflicted Custody Cases by Anita K. Lampel discusses the personality characteristics measured for children who aligned with a parent (the parent the child felt provided more empathy and understood the child's age-specific concerns ), nonaligned children, and their parents. In the study about equal numbers (actually a bit more) of the children indicated that father was the preferred parent . This study was published in Family and Conciliation Courts Review, Vol. 34, No. 2, April 1996, 229-239. This paper is also available in PDF format.
A Therapist's View of Parental Alienation Syndrome by Mary Lund discusses the nature of PAS and the structure of therapy groups that could be used. It was published in Family and Conciliation Review, Vol. 33, No. 3, July 1995. This paper is also available in PDF format.
Divorce-Related Malicious Mother Syndrome by Ira Daniel Turkat as published in the Journal of Family Violence, Volume 10, No. 3, 1995, p 253-264. This article takes a look at a condition involving somewhat acting like a very severe PAS inducer, but with no other mental disorder affecting behavior. It is interesting to read. This document has also been put into a PDF format.
Child Visitation Interference in Divorce by Ira Daniel Turkat from Clinical Psychology Review, Vul. 14, No. 8, pp. 737-742, 1994. This article sets the structure of the various forms of visitation interference and talks about how the courts and the lack of research have become big problems in contributing to this form of child abuse. The article has also been put into a PDF format.
The Parental Alienation Syndrome: An Analysis of Sixteen Selected Cases by John Dunne and Marsha Hedrick. This was published in the Journal of Divorce and Remarriage, Vol. 21(3/4), 1994. This article looks at sixteen cases that met Dr. Gardner's criteria for Parental Alienation Syndrome. It shows that traditional interventions in these cases were ineffective, and that the only effective treatment included a change in custody of the alienated child. This material is also available in PDF format.
The Detrimental Effects on Women of the Gender Egalitarianism of Child-Custody Dispute Resolution Guidelines by Richard A. Gardner from the Academy Forum Volume 38, Number 1,2 p 10-13 (Spring/Summer 1994), the publication of The American Academy of Psychoanalysis. This article discusses the history of custody over the ages and the possible reasons for the high incidence of parental alienation seen now. The article has also been put into a PDF format.
Parental Alienation Syndrome: A Developmental Analysis of a Vulnerable Population by Joseph L. Price, Ph.D. and Kerry S. Pioske, RN, MS, ANP. This was published in the Journal of Psychosocial Nursing, Vol. 32, No. 11, 1994 p 9-12. This article provides an overview of PAS for nurses and some description of how it fits into psychological framework of the child and the family. This material is also available in PDF format.
When You Suspect the Worst: Bad-faith relocation, fabricated child sexual abuse, and parental alienation by Carol Holstein Sanders. This was published in the Family Advocate in the Winter, 1993 edition. This article looks at alienation in context of the other common conditions associated with alienating parents using children as weapons against the other parent. This article is a simple and general piece (well, it was written for lawyers) but amply indicates the tie in on Parental Alienation with many other actions often seen on relationship breakdowns. This material is also available in PDF format.
Expanding the Parameters of Parental Alienation Syndrome by Glenn F. Cartwright as published in the American Journal of Family Therapy, 21 (3), 205-215 (1993). This is available through a link to his personal site at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. An excellent paper. He seems to have / make use of a site called P. A. I. N. (Parental Alienation Information Network ) at http://www.education.mcgill.ca/pain/ for the dissemination of material. This particular paper as also been put into a PDF format.
Family Wars: The Alienation of Children, Composite case from actual examples by Peggy Ward and J. Campbell Harvey was published in the New Hampshire Bar Journal, Volume 34, No.1, March 1993. A slightly different version, but with the same title, composed all of Newletter #9 (from 1993) of The Professional Academy of Custody Evaluators (PACE) is available through a link to PACE's Web site at http://www.pace-custody.org. This is an excellent and comprehensive paper. The PACE version is available in many different formats across the Web. The PACE version of this paper has been captured in PDF format, and the New Hampshire paper has been printed in PDF format.
Mediation: Parental Alienation Syndrome by Mary Lund from the Family Law News, the official publication of the State Bar of California Family Law Section, Volume 15, Number 1, in the Spring of 1992. It provides a very brief overview of the issues with lawyers to help them not contribute to the child abuse known as Parental Alienation. This particular paper as also been put in PDF format.
Le syndrome d'aliénation parentale (Parental Alienation Syndrome) by Anne-France Goldwater. This is an article that was originally published in Dévelopments Récents en Droit Familial 1991, P. 121-145, but that was made available through http://www.total.net/~goldwate as a Microsoft Word document. There are some other good papers there. Despite the French title, most of this document is in English. It provides a good summary from a Canadian, and specifically a Quebec, legal viewpoint. The Word version of this particular paper as also been put in PDF format.
Legal and Psychotherapeutic Approaches to the Three Types of Parental Alienation Syndrome Families by Richard A. Gardner, M.D.. This article was published in the Court Review Volume 28, Number 1, Spring 1991, p. 14-21, the publication of the American Judges Association. This paper describes the three types of PAS and gives some specific pieces of information that judges, at least judges that care, need to know when coming across PAS in the courtroom. You need to read this one. The paper as also been put in PDF format.
Custody Disputes Fueling Parental Alienation Syndrome written about Richard A. Gardner, M.D.. This is a news article was published in the Family Practice News, Volume 20, Number 24, December 15-31, 1990, p 7. The paper as also been put in PDF format.
Preventing Parentectomy Following Divorce by Frank S. Williams, M.D.. This article was the keynote address at the Fifth Annual Conference of National Council for Children's Rights held in Washington DC on October 20, 1990. This paper describes problems with the process and motivations for separation of the children from a parent and talks about some of the preventative actions a parent can take. The paper was taken from the Men's Rights Agency site at http://www.ecn.net.au/~mra/page27b.htm and reformatted slightly. This site has considerable amounts of interesting data, and can be accessed through the URL http://www.ecn.net.au/~mra/. The paper as also been put in PDF format.
Judges Interviewing Children in Custody/Visitation Litigation by Richard A. Gardner, M.D.. This article was published in the New Jersey Family Lawyer, Volume VII, Number 2, August/September 1987, p 26ff. This paper describes the problems that judges have in interviewing children affected by PAS directly, and gives some guidance on the approach and questions that a judge who wants to directly interview the children should take into account. The paper as also been put in PDF format.
Post-Divorce Therapy With Highly Conflicted Families by Anita K. Lampel, Ph.D. This article was published in The Independent Practitioner Volume 6 Number 3, July 1986, p. 22-26, the Bulletin of the Division of Psychologists in Independent Practice, Division 42 of the American Psychological Association. This paper describes the success of conventional techniques on mild cases, but indicates that conventional techniques do not work well on severe cases, and that a change in residency has a much greater chance of working. Some of the improvements are discussed. The paper as also been put in PDF format.
A Guide to the Parental Alienation Syndrome by Stan Hayward. This is available through a link to http://www.coeffic.demon.co.uk, the UK Men and Father's Rights page. An excellent paper. This particular paper as also been captured in PDF format.
The Father's Guide: Coping with Parental Alienation by the Texas Fathers for Equal Rights (T. F. E. R.). This is is a discussion, by fathers, of some of the strategies fathers should consider in re-establishing a relationship with a child who has been alienated but is once again visiting. TFER's home page can be found at http://www.startext.net/homes/tfer/index.htm. This particular paper as also been captured in PDF format.
Dr. Douglas Darnall, a therapist, expert witness and author in Ohio, has a great collection of information on Parental Alienation - the stages that usually occur before the more serious PAS kicks at his site at http://www.parentalalienation.com/PASdirectory.htm. Information on his book is, of course, there too. There is some useful stuff to consider there. If you are interested, Dr. Parnell was the guest at an on-line chat session at Concerned Counselling on February 3,1998, and that transcript is available here.
Parental Alienation Syndrome is an article The Family Court Reform Council of America. This is a discussion of PAS in general. Their home page can be found at http://www.familycourts.com/. This particular page as also been captured in PDF format.
SOME REPORTED RESULTS OF ACCESS DENIAL AND PARENTAL ALIENATION
Increased suicidal tendencies were found in people who had experienced the loss of the father. Bron, Strack & Rudolph, Univ. of Gottingen, Germany, 1991
Children showed the most behavior problems if their parents were in a legal conflict and the visitation was not frequent or regular. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 1990 British researchers have found adults who suffer parent loss due to separation or divorce have significantly higher risk of developing agoraphobia with panic attacks and panic disorder. British Journal of Psychiatry, 1989
Scandinavian research has found a significantly higher number of adults who attempted suicide had lost a parent through divorce in childhood. Acta Psychiatrica, Scandinavia,1990, 1993
Children who were separated from their father for a period of three months or longer and between the ages of 6 months to 5 years old, suffer a higher risk (2.5 to 5 times higher) of hysteria, emotional disorders and conduct disorder than other children. Indian Journal of Psychiatry, 1988
An Irish Equal-Parenting group, called Parenting Equality has an interesting collection of Parental Alienation statistics, with good source references, on their site. You can reach the site at http://homepages.iol.ie/~pe/ for other interesting information.
http://www.education.mcgill.ca/pain/ The Canadian Parental Alienation Information Network (P.A.I.N.) and involves the team from McGill University, including Dr. Glenn F. Carwright and Despina Vassiliou.
http://www.parentalalienation.com/ is Dr. Douglas Darnall's site. He deals with Parental Alienation -- the state proceeding the full-fledged PAS -- as well as Parental Alienation Syndrome. Dr. Darnall also has a book available through his site.
http://www.spig.clara.net/ Shared Parenting Information Group (SPIG) UK. An excellent site in the UK with a lot of useful information. It also has a PAS section that has an exhaustive article list.
http://www.acfc.org/, the American Coalition for Fathers & Children has an extensive site with considerable information on a number of topics, including some reports and studies on Parental Alienation.