"Our government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill it teaches the whole people by its example.
Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a law breaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself."
–Supreme Court Justice Brandeis

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

“Presidential Alienation Syndrome,” the new “PAS”?

Note: Cross posted from [wp angelfury] Family 'Lawless' Court Whores.



Another reason that “PAS” will never be in the DSM

“Presidential Alienation Syndrome,” the new “PAS”?

It makes as much sense to ask the American Psychological Association to put “Parental Alienation Syndrome” or Disorder into the next edition of the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual (DSM), the mental-health diagnostic “bible,” as it does for supporters of President Obama’s message to school children to petition the APA to put “Presidential Alienation Syndrome” into the DSM.

1989 – 2009: Family members including parents who are accused of child abuse have successfully counterclaimed “Parental Alienation Syndrome” (widely called “PAS” or Parental Alienation), counterclaiming that children who allege abuse have been coached or brainwashed to so state by, 80-90% of the time, their vengeful mothers. The children then suffer, proponents say, from the disorder of “PAS” which sounds scientific; however, there is no general acceptance in the medical and mental health communities. To add to the confusion inherent in the words “parental alienation,” the theory plays off the very real behavior of plain old alienation wherein one parent tries to set a child against the other, and it helps some families give structure to terrible upsets that happened to them. Mental health scientists call the actual behavior, when it exists, “alienation of affection,” and suggest that when clear evidence of alienating can be produced (in family court, for example) the offending parent should be appropriately sanctioned and without simultaneously punishing the children. Unfortunately, when “PAS” is counter-claimed to allegations of abuse made in good faith by parents seeking to protect their children, the investigations into the child abuse claims too often halt, and perfectly good parents are sanctioned unjustly by having their parental rights severed or interrupted. Families suffer unfairly, often for years.

September 2009: Many parents want to protect their children from what they consider the emotional abuse of their children being subjected in their schools to hearing a brief message from the current President of the United States, containing, they suspect, objectionable political overtones. Discussion in households has spread to the media and we hear from individuals who feel so strongly that they plan to keep their children home from school that day. The children are hearing the discussions at home, in school and perhaps on television. Some argue with each other. What must they think of the President? In the name of family values, a laudable goal, some could say that the children are being coached to disrespect this President and/or the presidency for years to come. The President, meanwhile, claims his message is innocent, given in good faith to encourage children to do their homework and study hard.

The purpose of these small paragraphs is not to castigate parents for wanting to protect their children or themselves, but rather to show the parallels between both non-existent “PASes,” and, drawing on the obvious absurdity of making “Presidential Alienation” an official mental health diagnosis, reveal the sham that would result were any similar credibility given to “Parental Alienation Syndrome” or its derivatives.

Donnalee Sarda MC, LPC, child advocate, Defenders of Children, Phoenix, AZ September 7, 2009


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