Friday, October 14, 2011

Upcoming Radio Program

While still working out the logistical details (time, date, etc.) I wish to put out there my current thinking about the call-in program I hope to start within the month. First, I want it to be solution oriented. There are many phases in the parental alienation experience and each one has its own special challenges. What I envision is an examination of each of these phases, looking for examples of what a solution would like like for each of them.

For example, during the phase where a parent has no contact with a child for a period of time, what would a solution look like? My thinking is that, if all avenues of access to the child or children have been reasonable exhausted, a solution would be more focused on the internal landscape of dealing with this situation. A solution might entail an examination of strategies from the various tracks of psychology that provide specific exercises and things that can be done to maintain a healthy self in the face of this dilemma. Within this one example, there is a wealth of empirical data that supports the fact that one can actually do things that helps turn this experience into not only something that one can hopefully survive, but something that one can ultimately grow from. This is the kind of thing I think would be helpful. And I would hope and anticipate hearing from those in the audience who have successfully found their own methods of dealing with these challenges.

Other phases of the parental alienation experience likewise will have their solutions as well. For example, if one is in the process of preparing for a court hearing or trial, there are practical do's and don'ts that often only are seen when it is too late. Solutions in this phase may include very practical input about the hidden land mines and trip wires that are the stuff of the Family Court System. For example: when can a GAL be a good idea, and when can a GAL's appointment be a disaster? There is a reliable calculus to this and this information can be shared and discussed.

My plan is to have guests on the program that can likewise shed light into their understanding of such solutions. In all, I hope this program to be a clearinghouse and laboratory for the development and exploration of such helpful solution oriented information. Input is invited.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Secret Rules of Family Court

Today I spoke with a parent who was following the direction of the court, and in so doing, contacted a Psychologist as directed. From the conversation that occurred between this parent and the Psychologist, it became fairly clear to me that the court had not been clear about the role that this Psychologist was supposed to play, that of evaluator or that of therapist. This is a very significant distinction in that the role of a therapist and the role of an evaluator are as different as night and day. It is surprising that very often, Family Law Judges are not aware of this distinction, and therefore issue unclear and ambiguous orders. The significance of this is that if she, in fact, was to contact this Psychologist to act as an evaluator, she herself should not have contacted him, but her lawyer should have. Her contacting him, assuming he was to act as an evaluator, would have tainted his objectivity to the degree that he probably would have declined to take the job as evaluator. The problem is nobody tells you these rules before you enter into these actions. The fact of the matter is that many otherwise well qualified attorneys and judges do not really understand this. I know that this must sound ridiculous, however I suspect many who may read this post can describe the price they ended up paying for not knowing any better

In Family Law there are many rules that are never described. Most often, parents learn of them after they inadvertently break them, honestly not knowing any better. In the adversarial environment of the the court, the hapless parent in the hypothetical example described above, could have been portrayed by the other side as perhaps sabotaging the whole process and the court's wishes, which was never the case at all. I would have difficulty counting the number of times I have heard the comment that "if I only understood then, what I now have learned now, none of this would have happened."