There are parents who say that “parental aliention” (AB-PA) should be made illegal.
It is illegal. Child abuse is illegal. It is against the law to abuse a child. The problem is not that the pathology is legal, it’s not. The problem is that your children and families are not receiving an accurate DSM-5 diagnosis.
There are two primary reasons you and your children are not receiving an accurate DSM-5 diagnosis of child abuse,
1) The forensic psychologists who are interacting with you explicitly say they “don’t diagnose” pathology.
They assert that they don’t “diagnose” (claiming that they don’t want to “pathologize” people) and then they simply don’t diagnose anything. So they don’t assess for child abuse and they don’t diagnose child abuse – even when it’s present and even when the child’s symptoms would warrant both an assessment for child abuse and a diagnosis of child abuse.
2) The forensic psychologists don’t have the needed knowledge in complex trauma, attachment pathology, personality disorders, and family systems therapy to professionally assess for psychological child abuse.
These mental health persons in forensic psychology are simply stone-cold ignorant of standard constructs in professional psychology, so they hide their ignorance behind the assertion that they “don’t diagnose” because they don’t know how to diagnose psychological child abuse, because they lack the proper knowledge; complex trauma, attachment pathology, personality disorders, family systems therapy.
In my view as a clinical psychologist, these deficits in professional standards of practice represent a failure in the mental health professional’s “duty to protect” that would warrant administrative and professional review of their standards of professional practice.
Do these forensic mental health people have the required background, training, and experience to properly assess for child abuse, and are they properly fulfilling their duty to protect the child from abuse.
By the way, that “duty to protect” applies to the therapist’s obligations to the targeted parent as well. If the child is being weaponized by one parent to emotionally abuse the other spouse for the divorce, that represents a form of domestic violence and emotional abuse of the targeted parent by the other spouse-and-parent, using the child as a weapon (creating the psychological child abuse).
The failure of the forensic mental health person to properly assess for domestic violence aspects of emotionally abusing the targeted parent by creating significant psychopathology in the child ALSO represents a failure in the professional’s “duty to protect.”
Child abuse and domestic violence are illegal. The problem is that forensic psychology is… intentionally… not assessing for or diagnosing child abuse and domestic violence… supposedly because they don’t want to “pathologize.” That’s a very interesting justification – but professionally, this represents a failure in the “duty to protect.”
Tarasoff is the court case for duty to protect. I know, people think it’s a duty to warn… it is… the duty to warn is BASED on the more fundamental duty… the duty to protect people from harm.
This includes a duty to assess for child abuse when there are indications of possible child abuse, and the duty to protect from domestic violence when there are indication of domestic violence… emotional and psychological abuse…. emotional abuse of the targeted parent and psychological abuse of the child (using the child as a weapon to “punish” the other spouse for the divorce).
All the arguments of forensic psychologists for why they DON’T even assess for the psychological abuse of the child (or domestic violence emotional abuse of the targeted parent) are all very interesting… they don’t hold up.
Licensing board complaints are coming. Malpractice suits will follow. That’s simply a fact. Because professional psychology is leaving parents with no other alternative to protect their children and stop their own emotional abuse and trauma (complex trauma; traumatic grief).
We can’t make the APA endorse its own ethics code. If the APA chooses to cover up the rampant and unchecked ignorance and incompetence in forensic psychology that is failing in its duty to protect children and parents from psychological and emotional abuse, there is no alternative left to parents who are trying to protect their children.
Diagnosis. Assessment leads to diagnosis. The DSM-5 diagnosis in question is V995.51 Child Psychological Abuse, p. 719. Did the mental health person assess for this diagnosis, and what were the results. We want this documented. What is the DSM-5 diagnosis, and did the mental heath professional assess for psychological child abuse.
If the forensic mental health person says, “Yes” that they assessed for psychological child abuse… ask how. Documented… how did they assess for psychological child abuse? How did they assess for domestic violence toward you, the targeted and abused spouse, using the child as the weapon to abuse you? How did the mental health person assess for that? Documented.
We can’t make licensing boards protect consumers from sub-standard and deficient professional practice, but we can put them in a position of continual complicity with the psychological abuse of children and the emotional abuse of parents by the narcissistic and borderline personality pathology of the allied parent. If the licensing board chooses to abandon the protection of consumers in favor of covering up for inadequate and sub-standard professional practice, then let’s make them do that over-and-over again… force the into open complicity with professional incompetence and the abuse of children and parents.
DSM-5 V995.51 Child Psychological Abuse, page 719.
We want a DSM-5 diagnosis in all cases. Did the mental health professional assess for child psychological abuse? How? Documented.
Did the mental health professional assess for domestic violence, the emotional abuse of the targeted parent (the allied parent using the child as weapon to inflict emotional abuse on the other spouse as “punishment” for the divorce)? How? Documented.
These are called “differential diagnoses” and all mental health professionals are supposed to consider alternative differential diagnoses, to assess for them, and to rule-in or rule-out these diagnostic possibilities based on the symptom evidence.
So… did the mental health professional assess for these differential diagnoses of child abuse and domestic violence? How? What were the findings? Documented.
That’s call professional standards of practice. These are basic foundational standards of practice throughout clinical psychology.
These are professional standards of practice found NOWHERE in forensic psychology. They simply do not assess for child abuse or domestic violence (emotional abuse of the ex-spouse using the child as weapon). They don’t even assess for the possibility.
How? Document the findings.
We are going to establish professional standards of practice by bringing the standards of professional practice from clinical psychology over to the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of court-involved family conflict.
The forensic psychology people can make whatever arguments they’d like that they are somehow “exempt” from professional standards of practice for assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of child abuse because they’re “special” – they don’t have to diagnose pathology in order to treat it.
That’s an interesting argument to make ink response to the licensing board complaint or malpractice lawsuit – “I didn’t assess for child abuse and domestic violence because I’m exempt from professional standards of practice.” Why do you think that are you exempt from professional standards of practice? “Because I’m a forensic psychologist.”
No, that’s not true. You’re not exempt from the requirement for professional knowledge and competence, you’re not exempt from professional standards of practice avoid harm the client (including the targeted parent). You are not exempt from you professional duty to protect.
It’s not my license on the line, so they can make whatever arguments they’d like to the licensing board and malpractice lawsuit. Good luck. I wouldn’t want to stake my license on an “I’m exempt from professional standards of practice and the ethics code” argument.
Don’t ever let anyone say that “parental alienation” is not in the DSM-5. Of course it is. On page 719; V995.51 Child Psychological Abuse.
Did you assess for that? How? Documented.
Did I mention written treatment plans? Standard of practice for school-involved pathology. It’s called the IEP over there. Written treatment plans; professional standard of practice.
Craig Childress, Psy.D.
Clinical Psychologist, PSY 18857