Thoughts on Blog Post: What is PAS? (Parental Alienation Syndrome)

I agree that Parental Alienation and Domestic Violence by Proxy do exist. However, I disagree with Dr. Gardner, and believe his application of PAS is dangerous, and has damaged the validity of parental alienation aka domestic violence by proxy. Dr. Gardner’s PAS theory has perpetrated a gender bias, and created a divide, of mothers against fathers, when in reality, the problems parents are facing in family court have to do with systemic failures that rob fit, loving parents (either mothers or fathers) of custody of their children, and deny parental rights. And too often, abusers win custody at the detriment of children. 

Dr. Gardner was a paid expert court witness, the majority of his clients were fathers accused of domestic violence or child abuse. He was an expert speaker, whose career became famous because of PAS. Dr. Gardner’s PAS is not based on systematic research; rather, he developed this theory through his personal observations and work as an expert witness. The PAS criteria used by Gardner, are basically cut/paste and built from the ruins of his earlier (the widely discredited) test for determining whether children were fabricating allegations of sexual abuse, the “Sexual Abuse Legitimacy Scale” (SAL Scale). The only appellate court to rule on the admissibility of the SAL Scale held it inadmissible because there was no showing that it had “some reasonable degree of recognition and acceptability among the spectrum of scientific or medical experts in the field” (Page v. Zordan, 564 So. 2nd 500, Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1990).

Dr. Gardner provides no scientific data to support his theories about PAS, and most of his articles on the subject have not appeared in peer-reviewed medical journals, which require analysis by fellow professionals before publication.PAS also isn’t listed as a “syndrome” in the American Psychiatric Association’s manual of such disorders.
The Parental Alienation Syndrome:
Is It Scientific? http://www.leadershipcouncil.org/1/res/dallam/3.html

Scientific and Professional Rejection of PAS (developed by Dr. Gardner): http://www.dvleap.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=kQAngavEi6E%3D&tabid=173

Dr. Gardner used PAS as an “abuse excuse” to help fathers win court, by discrediting the mothers claiming abuse happened as being an “alienator” whose testimony cannot be trusted, and thereby labeling the mother with a kind of mental illness. Dr. Gardner believed women made abuse allegations against a former partner because they were sexually frustrated, and upset about the end of the relationship. This perpetrates an adversarial he said/she said environment in court, by diverting attention from the alleged abuse to casting suspicion, and assigning blame to one party. Abuse allegations should be taken seriously, and properly investigated. Dr. Gardner believes that 90 percent of the allegations of abuse against children in custody cases are false, whether they involve physical, emotional or sexual abuse. Dr. Gardner also believed that mothers found, by his unscientific and unreliable methods, to be alienators should be sent an intimidating and strong message from the courts including financial sanctions, jail time and loss of custody. This itself creates alienation — indeed, many parents report the Courts, and unjust court orders, are actually alienating them from their children.

“The mother must know that any obstructionism on her part will be immediately reported to the judge, either by the therapist or though the guardian ad litem or child advocate. The court must be willing to impose sanctions such as fines or jail. The threat of loss of primary custody can also help such mothers ‘remember to cooperate. — Dr Richard Gardner, American Fatherhood.

Dr. Gardner also implemented “threat therapy” to forcibly reunite children, even those alleging abuse happened, with a parent. Some children have been jailed and involuntarily held in psychiatric facilities as part of threat therapy. There are many modern versions of Dr. Gardner’s work implemented in the US, and other courts around the world.

Alternatively, Benjamin D. Garber believes that Dr. Gardner’s PAS theory confuses cause and effect. He cautions that it is very easy for a presumption of alienation “to take on a life of its own without proper consideration of the many alternative (and often more likely) causes of a child’s distress during parental separation and divorce. PARENTAL ALIENATION SYNDROME: FRYE V GARDNER IN THE FAMILY COURTS (PART 2 OF 2): http://expertpages.com/news/parental_alienation_syndrome2.htm

Further, in cases where domestic violence is present, the dynamic of parental alienation is a little different because the alienating behavior is part of the abuse dynamic, and often occurs throughout the relationship. For example- an abuser may teach the children to disrespect the other parent, calling them names, or even engaging in abusive parents. Domestic Violence by Proxy is the term commonly used to label alienating behavior in the context of abuse, it means that an abuser uses the children as a weapon to hurt or gain control of a partner who has left, and has no access to.

Also worth reading about is the Grieco case. In February 1998, Nathan Grieco, 16, of North Huntingdon (PA) was found dead in his bedroom, a belt around his neck. His death came after years of custody disputes between his mother, Karen Scott, and his father, Louis Grieco. Dr. Gardner found that mother, Ms. Scott. was an alienator, and ordered threat therapy for Nathan. Nathan was alleging that his father was physically abusive to him, and told the family court judge that he did not want to visit his father. Both Dr. Gardner and the court were unrepentant even after the suicide, and it was only after an exposé in the local newspaper that custody arrangements for the two surviving boys were changed.
Casualties of a Custody War: http://old.post-gazette.com/custody/parttwo.asp

Related: 

Dr. Gardner Advises Courts: Mothers Cooperate Best When Threatened

 

Parental Alienation

Gardner’s definition of PAS is:

1. The Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) is a disorder that arises primarily in the context of child-custody disputes. 

2. Its primary manifestation is the child’s campaign of denigration against a parent, a campaign that has no justification. 

3. It results from the combination of a programming (brainwashing) of a parent’s indoctrinations and the child’s own contributions to the vilification of the targeted parent.

Excerpted from: Gardner, R.A. (1998). The Parental Alienation Syndrome, Second Edition, Cresskill, NJ: Creative Therapeutics, Inc.

http://www.breakthroughparenting.com/PAS.htm

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About Emily Court

Mom & Kids Need "Just Us" To Fight Injustice in Family Court. I blog to raise awareness about problems existing in the family court system, and use my own story as a personal example of how the systemic failures in family court, and the Guardian ad Litem Program, affect families, in an effort to encourage needed reform. "Emily Court" is a survivor of domestic violence and homelessness working to create a better life for her children, in a stable home free of violence. In her efforts to rebuild her life, she has not only encountered harassment and intimidation from her alleged abuser but faced systematic failures in family court that have empowered her alleged abuser and put her children at risk. Emily is fighting to keep her kids safe, and bring them home. Through writing and blogging, Emily is working to raise awareness about domestic violence, and the urgent need for family court reform. She is currently working on a memoir titled "'Til Prayers Are Answered".
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One Response to Thoughts on Blog Post: What is PAS? (Parental Alienation Syndrome)

  1. My son’s “Mr. X” told him repeatedly that he was “ugly” because he looked like “Mommy” instead of “Daddy,” . . . at five years old after no-calling, no-showing, and not answering the phone to our very disappointed, hurt, and angry, but incredibly sweet, highly intelligent, profoundly witty, spirited, healthy little boy for over a year’s worth of “visitation” while he was off celebrating his adulterous feat that ended in him succeeding in stealing another man’s family–my son’s “Mommy” for the last three interminable years–so that “Daddy” could groom the new “Mommy” and launch psychological warfare on our innocent son (before the private play therapist, CPS, and police “coached” the alleged sexual abuse against “Daddy” and “The Visitor–a ‘homeless teenager with ‘black, spiky hair’ who, as reported by my then five year-old son, always spent the night at “Daddy’s” (and “Nancy’s” house with he/r own three small children from the marriage s/he left to raise my son for “Mr. X” (a domestic slave and apath for the sociopath, among other things) that they, the “coachers” later blacklisted me as “reason-to-believe” for alleged “coaching” child emotional abuse for the second unnecessary sexual assault exam they compelled after I had already acted lawfully and according to all doctors and other police, but not the thugs who came with notorious CPS Supervisor retaliating that I had been forced to call the Office of Consumer Affairs for a reasonable caseworker or investigator who hadn’t already planned the “Damon 10,000 ‘Screw'” (quoting former F.B.I. agent Ted Gunderson and his partners).

    Even worse, all the grooming in the years leading up to that climax witnessed the father not saying “stupey,” but rather “coaching” a two to five year old little boy, his only child also, to tell “Mommy” words like “kill” and “I want to kill myself,” and “Daddy says that he is going to put ‘Mommy’ in jail because he can and because “Mommy can’t afford a lawyer.”

    “Daddy,” and the new “Mommy” (Matthew James Worrell/Matt Worrell/ Matt James Worrell and Nancy G. Worrell/Nancy Gray-Worrell/Nancy Gray/Nancy Gray-Dufour) sound a lot like Mr. “X”/Mr. “SATAN” (allegorically, that is), who furthers the emotional abuse on my only child and signs his report cards (three years later with still no meaningful contact or phone calls allowed or gifts–eighteen year permanent injunction that is essentially the “parental termination” they pressed for against unnoticed, unrepresented, former teacher litigant treated as an enemy for daring to be educated instead of wealthy and corruptible . . .not to mention “ugly,” on the inside and out).

    “Stupey”–stooping so low as to convince his own five year old son that “The Visitor” and him were “normal” at the reported “family meeting” to “make ‘Nancy’ hate ‘Mommy'” . . . to which “Mommy,” that would be me, “J.J.W’s, Real Mommy,” the only one at the birth to include absence of the father by his own then devastating choice, and his family’s–the ones he promised “Mommy” would, along with him, of course, “ruin” he/r if s/he “rolled the dice” and dared not to “show up” to one of multiple abortions in Houston, Texas that “Daddy” scheduled over the public internet with his credit card without “Mommy’s” knowledge or consent, to wit, the receipt where “Mommy’s” name is misspelled in several places, obviously by Mr. Smarty, the real “Stupey.”

    Stump y “Stupey”–alliteration, boys and girls.

    Apparently “Stupey” is so terrified of his own ” Stupeyidity” and criminally liabile psychopathic, cruelly sadistic, endangering, emotionally abusive, malevolent, punitive, coercive, machismo that landed him in rehab before “Mommy” met him, that he must have felt he needed the brand of “protection” he would have doled had I been the one to legally abuse and terrorize and terroristically threaten him and execute falsely sworn affidavits so scathing and inflammatory, and always the same one, ex-parte in chambers, unnoticed meetings succeeded by the abusive and oh-so-familiar “TRO”–“temporary,” but permanent “restraining”/”protective”/permanent injunction that never ends even though obligated as an indigent not allowed to be one lest it mess up the $20,000 bribe, pre-determined outcome by the Harris County judicial and BAR member and D.A. and County Attorney/Children’s Commissioner’s Court/Child Advocates, Inc./Donna Everson/Judge Lisa A. Millard/Associate Judge Conrad Moren/ William Sumtper Frazier for Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan in Houston, Texas/Lesly Damian-Murray, CPS caseworker in Angleton, Texas, PaulElton, Pearland Police Department in Brazoria County, Judge Randy Hufstetler in Brazoria County and D.A. Jeri Yenne, Karen Coblentz, CPS Supervisor Brazoria County, Houston Attorney Bruce Allen Buskirk, Larry Rothenberg, Julia Lovorn, and John and “Bo” Nichols, Sr. and Jr., Anthony Mercurio, TX Attorney General’s Office, sundry court clerks and official court recorders who weren’t allowed to even quote a transcript for appellate record and associate judge denying court-appointed attorney in spite of timely moved for pre-“adversary” theatre post-Fourth Amendment violative conspiracy and kidjacking witout investigation on sexual abuse/assault/misconduct by a man with criminal record for intention to distribute large amounts of “M.D.M.A.,” street drug name, “Ecstasy,” pill-popper, and self-professed “bodka” alcoholic (as my son called it as two years old after staying at “Daddy” and Grandma/a.k.a. The Baby Snatcher Diane Worrell, and let us not forget “Texas Superlawyer” CPS supervisor he advertises for stepparent adoption and termination of parental rights in ‘high net-worth divorces,” who is on the staff and payroll, or at least, was, er, or, . . . ok, let’s also include non-established, non-acknowledged, non-proven, not established on the birth certificate by his own choice expressly made pursuant to “Mommy’s:” generous invitation after forgiving his and his family’s maternally depriving (and depraved) strategic kidnappings and Cps and police frivolous harassment, lies, perjury, suborned perjury, stalking, spying, emotionally cruel and abusive, entrapping, bribing, deviant, hooker-loving (yes, literally–have the records, folks that still today, along with all the othr evidence will never be admitted in Ms. Pay-to-Play, Working for the Opposite Team Sh/e Professes to Represent, Mother-Hating, Misogynistic, Judge Judy of a judge, and only “one judge, one child for life” who has given CLE courses with the same aforementioned $650/hr. plus attorneys and p.i.’s not herein mentioned, on how “not to get recused” (Search on “Google,” “Keeping it in , and Keeping it Out,” referring to evidence on non-record) for seven years though we were never married and barely “dated” (his choice, obviously–could there be any other with these sweet children of God who don’t believe in Him other than going to church to “network?”).

    But this man’s number one interest reads “children.” Don’t all “soccer coaches” or church youth group leaders share a similar passion and appropriate love for and to be around trophy children so their wealthy sugar-mamma, gum-smacking “beards” can raise for the ones they are obsessed with.. . but of course they never even liked “Mommy” as he doesn’t hesitate to call every job “Mommy” had and inflame he/r name and reputation as one who he used and threw away. Since post-deprivation permanent “removal” kidnapping came up in this post as “court theatre” family court fraud and Kids for Cash schemes with judges who head the board of the juvenile probation department or program in Houston, Texas (a.k.a. Judge Lisa Millard), . . . “Methinks [M.J.W.] doth protest too much” (quoting main character, Hamlet, “William Shakespeare”).

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