Submitted by Anonymous on July 24, 2011 – 3:51pm.
Why do “alienated” children get forced to go to expensive “reunification centers” with the parent they hate/fear (supposedly from being brainwashed, as if kids can’t think for themselves) and why is custody transferred to the other parent (often the father), who then withholds access to the “alienator” (ie mother).
PAS is destructive, we agree on that. Problem is it destroys bonds with parents that are trying to protect them, it places children in danger of being reunified with an abuser, and it gives abuser an ace in the hole defense: I didn’t abuse little Jane/Johnny, the evil ex-wife brainwashed her/him to hate/fear me. Brilliant. Promote a “theory” that provides a defense to abusers. Have more concern about access than safety – what a public health stance from so-called therapists. Profit is more important than public health? Shame.
Submitted by Robert Samery on July 25, 2011 – 8:43am.
Let me take your comments 1 at a time.
Normally when children are forced into therapy, expensive or otherwise, it’s because the alienating parent is also the custodial parent, and they are refusing any kind of therapy or even mediation for either themselves or the child. Without their consent, any medical treatment or therapy is not possible. Secondly, even if the first issue can be overcome, because of the very nature of PAS, the child is unable to make a free and informed choice on their own need for therapy. The court, while finding that the child is being emotionally abused, has to make an order to protect the child and treat the harm already done. Therapy, most often requires that the abuser be removed from the child’s influence while the treatment is ongoing and the results of the abuse linger. The abuser most often can not be easily or quickly reformed and will immediately re-abuse when the child is under their influence thereby undoing whatever progress the therapist has achieved.
I agree with the entire second issue you raised. However, it’s likely that we are referring to different individuals as the abuser. So I will address you with that assumption.
If by abuser you are referring to an individual who has been found guilty of abuse you are referring to false allegations of PAS. I agree that this possibility exists when professionals misdiagnose PAS. This can happen for a number of reasons including human error, or even ideological blindness. However, the court, with the help of the opposing side, should be able to catch many of those cases, and the child will be protected. But, MISTAKES WILL HAPPEN. That is why there are appeal courts in all cases. We hope that at some point the mistakes get caught at the next level.
In my opinion, rather than deny that PAS exists or is almost always misused, the way to ensure that PAS is helpful to victimized children is to inform everyone about what constitutes the behaviors, results and remedies of PAS, as well as how to recognize the red flags of false allegations.
Maybe these comments resonated with me strongly today because just this morning I met with my senator to discuss his proposed legislation of Presumptive 50/50 Joint Physical Custody (which has not passed in the 15 years he’s brought it forward). Or maybe it is because for the first time in 30-something years my mom and I discussed the circumstances surrounding my relationship with my dad and why it was severed. Let’s just say that by 9:30am I had experienced two things I never thought were possible (and please don’t hold my political views against me or the work that I do, as I work bipartisanly to get our goals achieved); 1) Meeting with a Republican in support (sort of) of their legislation, and 2) Having an honest and heartfelt discussion with my mother about my relationship with my father…without argument and with total empathy.
So, without further commentary, just take a moment to be with both sides of the debate that you read above. Not the angry, politically motivated sides, but the sincere debate about the reality and devastation of Parental Alienation, and the real fear of putting a child into the care of an actual abuser. Let both sides of the debate resonate within your heart for just a moment.
Now, let’s find common ground.
P.S. After you are done taking a moment to find the love in both sides, let’s take it a step further and show the National Organization of Women that Parental Alienation is real, for Women AND for Men, and NEEDS to be addressed, rather than simply denying it and sweeping this inconvenient truth under the rug. Sign the petition on change.org to show your support: http://www.change.org/petitions/women-want-now-to-change-their-position-on-parental-alienation