NCFM NOTE: Not to many years ago I attended a parental alienation workshop at a major international conference. The panel was primarily composed of those responsible for producing the 2004 documentary Breaking the Silence, Journeys of Hope. This PBS special was roundly discredited by the PBS Ombudsman as feminist propaganda, not once but three times! You can read an article about my experience at premier of the film here: Domestic Violence Delusions…a PBS documelodrama. Panel members when denying the existence of parental alienation syndrome openly laughed about Dr. Richard Gardner’s suicide. He was the father of the parental alienation movement. They even chuckled about him being a pedophile, which he denied as recorded in the video Richard Gardner on pedophilia before being driven to suicide. Many believe that’s exactly what happened, that Dr. Gardner was so overwhelmed by the unrelenting hostility of feminist driven antagonists that he ended his own life. Though no longer with us, Dr. Gardner deserves much credit for parental alienation being included in the upcoming DMS-V. The memory of mental health and legal advocates, leading professionals in their fields, having the stage at a major international conference, and openly throwing groundless dispersions and laughing at the death of a colleague has never left me, obviously; and, I hope it never does since their unforgivable behavior is ever so typical of those whose careers are lavishly financed by a hate movement, radical feminism. Absolutely disgusting… but what follows will become a living gift to his struggle to help others… comments by Harry Crouch.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 20, 2013
CONTACT: William Bernet, M.D.
Professor Emeritus, Department of Psychiatry
Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
ALTERNATE CONTACT: Judith M. Pilla, Ph.D., L.S.W., P.M.H.C.N.S.-B.C.
Health Bridge Associates
INCLUSION OF CONCEPTS DESCRIBING PARENTAL ALIENATION IN DSM-5 STRENGTHENS CHILD HEALTH IN THE AFTERMATH OF DIVORCE
Groundbreaking advances in latest edition of mental health manual
Family unity took a major step forward at the American Psychiatric Association’s annual meeting in San Francisco this week (May 18-22, 2013) with the inclusion of language that describes the serious mental health problem of parental alienation. For the first time, mental health professionals in the U.S. will have officially recognized concepts to diagnose children who experience parental alienation, strengthening the case against parents who strive to alienate children during divorce.
“This is an important advance for the psychological health of children and families,” said William Bernet, M.D. Bernet is a leader of the Parental Alienation Study Group, the international task force that submitted the proposal to include parental alienation in DSM-5. Bernet, professor emeritus at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, said, “Including language that is specifically applicable to parental alienation empowers the mental health and legal communities to address this important problem more directly and with greater clarity. These revisions to DSM-5 will reducethe harm that parental alienation causes to families.”
Parental alienation is a mental condition in which a child – usually one whose parents are engaged in a high-conflict separation or divorce – allies strongly with one parent and refuses without good cause to have a relationship with the other parent. This process takes place when a parent or caregiver encourages the child’s rejection of the other parent. Parental alienation is driven by the false belief that the rejected parent is evil, dangerous, or not worthy of affection.When the phenomenon is properly recognized, the condition is preventable and treatable in many instances.
DSM-5 now includesthe new diagnoses of “child psychological abuse” and “child affected by parental relationship distress.” Moreover, “parent-child relational problem”refers to the concept of parental alienation, although the actual words, “parental alienation,” are not in DSM-5. Depending on the circumstances, each of thesethree diagnoses can be used in cases of parental alienation.
Child psychological abuse is defined as “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.” In many instances, the behavior of the alienating parent constitutes child psychological abuse.
- Child affected by parental relationship distress should be used “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.” That is a very good description of how parental alienation comes about.
- Parent-child relational problem now has a discussion in the text of DSM-5. The discussion explains that cognitive difficulties in 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.” That is a very good description of a child’s view of the alienated parent.
The Parental Alienation Study Group consists of a highly credentialed group of mental health and legal professionals and other individuals who are experienced in identifying and treating parental alienation. The Parental Alienation Study Group initially proposed in 2008 that parental alienation should be included in DSM -5. Their complete proposal was published as Parental Alienation, DSM-5, and ICD-11 (Charles C Thomas Publishers, 2010). The Parental Alienation Study Group includes 130 individuals from 30 countries.