"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

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Separation, Divorce and Parental Alienation Syndrome: Straightening Them Out One Social Worker at a Time.

Note: Cross posted from [wp angelfury] A Human Rights Issue-Custodial Justice.


Separation, Divorce and Parental Alienation Syndrome: Straightening Them Out One Social Worker at a Time

Filed under: Activism, American Psychological Association, Best interest of the child, Child Custody, Child Custody Battle, Child Custody Issues, Child Custody Mediation, Child Custody for mothers, Child custody for fathers, Children and Domestic Violence, Children who witness abuse, Children's rights, Domestic Abuse, Domestic Violence, Dr. Richard Gardner, Family Court Reform, Family Courts, Family Rights, Michael J. Formica, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Psychology Today, parental alienation — justice4mothers @ 11:48 am



A few days ago, a new article went up in Psychology Today written by Michael J. Formica.  The title of the article was “Separation, Divorce and Parental Alienation Syndrome.”   Several of us had made comments on the article, and they were being deleted within a few minutes.  Many of us commented on how so-called “parental alienation syndrome” and “parental alienation” had been debunked by the American Judge’s Association, the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, the National District Attorney’s Association, the American Medical Association, and the American Psychological Association, mainly because it’s use as a legal tactic for abusers to get custody of children from loving, protective parents.  Submit, delete, submit, delete, submit, delete.  For hours.  After a few of us noted that we would complain to Psychology Today, Mr. Formica finally started to leave the comments and answered.

Screen shot of comment on November 23rd

Even though, as he states above, the article was about “parental alienation” and not “parental alienation syndrome,” he left comments up that gleefully announced that “PAS WILL be in the DSM-V.”  (And how about that title….”Separation, Divorce and Parental Alienation Syndrome.”)  That news is probably somewhat of a surprise to the American Psychological Association, which says this about PAS:

Statement on Parental Alienation Syndrome

The American Psychological Association has no official position on “parental alienation syndrome.” This concept has been used in contested child custody cases and has become the subject of significant debate. While it may be that in some divorces, children become estranged from their non-custodial parent for a variety of reasons, there is no evidence within the psychological literature of a diagnosable parental alienation syndrome.


After a few more comments, he asked if he should have used the word “splitting” instead of “alienation” given the charged meaning associated with the concept, and I answered him on this.  Within a few minutes, the article’s title was changed to “Separation, Divorce and Splitting.”  It didn’t last more than a couple hours before the whole page was taken down by Psychology Today.

Before it went down, Mr. Formica acknowledged that he had not fully been aware of all the ramifications of use of this “syndrome.”    Once he was challenged to acknowledge points about the so-called syndrome, he was responsible enough about it to change the title and acknowledge not fully examining the subject.  I only hope more people become educated about how “parental alienation” and “parental alienation syndrome” are used to destroy children by helping abusers get custody by claiming this in court.  Thankfully, someone did the right thing and it disappeared…

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