Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Parental Alienation and Parental Alienation Syndrome(PAS)

Parental Alienation and Parental Alienation Syndrome

Parental Alienation Syndrome was first defined and described by Psychiatrist Richard Gardner, M.D. in his work with divorcing families with minor children in 1985. He began to notice a growing phenomenon where one parent would try to alienate the children from the other parent so that the children would ultimately reject that parent. When this alienation was successful, Dr. Gardner identified a cluster of symptoms that these children would begin to exhibit, which he described as the "Parental Alienation Syndrome". Since his original work in this area, there has been much further work and research done by Dr. Gardner as well as many other mental health professionals.

Since this phenomenon would occur in the context of divorce only, it is perhaps not surprising that it would generate a great deal of controversy. That is, it was essentially discovered, described and battled over in the acrimonious environment of the court.

The existence of Parental Alienation Syndrome has been debated in court in the context of litigation. It had until recently been argued that PAS had not been tested within the courts as being admissible as evidence. As noted earlier, this challenge has always been in the context of it being a litigation strategy. It is therefore of some significance that PAS was tested and did pass this important legal test in November of 2000, in Tampa, Florida. J. Michael Bone, Ph.D. was directly involved in this Frye Hearing as was Richard Gardner, M.D. along with Richard Warshack, Ph.D. The court ruled that PAS was accepted in the professional scientific community and did meet the Frye standard. Click here for more detailed information regarding this legal event.

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