Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The Importance of Qualified Experts

While most mental health professionals who work in the area of divorce would describe some familiarity with Parental Alienation Syndrome, it is important to understand that this is a very specialized field that requires different evaluative techniques and tools than if Alienation is not present. If the evaluator is not intimately familiar with the nuances of this phenomenon, it is likely that this condition will be misdescribed and mistreated.

First, Parental Alienation must be distinguished from Parental Alienation Syndrome. Parental Alienation refers to the behaviors engaged in by the parent, with the possible result being the development of Parental Alienation Syndrome in the child. Parental Alienation refers to the actions of one parent onto the children. Specifically, this refers to one parent denigrating, criticizing and attacking the other parent in front of and ultimately with the children. It represents the one parent's attempt to remove what is referred to as the “Target Parent” from their children's lives, and making it appear that it is the child who feels this way. How this is accomplished ranges from the most subtle to the most obvious of strategies. But they all carry the common goal of attempting to eliminate the Target Parent from the child's life and world. Parental Alienation refers to specific actions by the Alienating Parent. These behaviors are predictable and form an identifiable pattern. The pattern of these behaviors form four Criteria which are listed below

Visitation or access blocking by one parent
False allegations of abuse or unfit parenting against the Target Parent
Deterioration in the relationship with the child and the Target Parent since marital separation
Exaggerated fear reaction on the part of the child at displeasing the Alienating Parent
When these four criteria are present, the stage is set for the development of Parental Alienation Syndrome.

Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) is the psychological condition that exists within the child who has been a victim of these Parental Alienating behaviors. These behaviors have the effect of causing the child to internally reformulate how they view and feel about the now absent Parent. Parental Alienation Syndrome is the process of manipulating the child to internally transform their view of the other parent from being an object of love into being an object of hate. This is a profound and very damaging psychological illness can and often will create life long harm to the child, well into adulthood.

Parental Alienation Syndrome is the result of the child living in the presence of the four criteria listed above for some significant period of time. Parental Alienation Syndrome can be identified by the presence of following manifestations or symptoms in the child. They are:

Campaign of Denigration
Weak or Frivolous Rationalizations for the Deprecation
Lack of Ambivalence
"Independent Thinker" Phenomenon
Reflexive support of Alienating Parent
Absence of guilt over cruelty and exploitation of Alienated Parent
Presence of Borrowed Scenarios
Spread of Animosity to Extended Family of Alienated Parent

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