Childress : Forensic Psychology Fail

Where is the treatment outcome research over here in court-involved forensic psychology? I’m aware of a lot of opinion pieces about what people think the problem is and how it should be fixed… so what’s the research say?

There is none? That’s weird. If we take 1985 as our arbitrary starting point, that’s 35 years of forensic psychology and “high-conflict divorce” with zero research?

You don’t find that a trifle odd? Thirty-five years and zero outcome studies.

They are entirely unsuccessful. In 35 years, forensic psychology is entirely unsuccessful. I’m ahead of all of them. I have a single-case clinical research case study, presented to the APA no less.

Hey, I am a private practice clinical psychologist, I’m not at a university, I’m trying to educate an entire field of professional psychology about attachment and complex trauma and family systems therapy, I’m busy – you, forensic psychology – I’m already ahead of you. My goodness gracious, Dorcy is ahead of you in outcome research. Seriously, forensic psychology, when she publishes she’ll be lapping you.

Thirty-five years and zero treatment outcome research, seriously, that’s embarrassing for you.

I have treatment outcome data, where’s yours?

We need to bring university research here, to court-involved psychology. Thirty five years with zero outcome research on family conflict seems pretty abysmal. When Dr. Childress has more research than an entire field, that’s bad.

Let’s reach out to the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, long-term they will become a support.

Research will not come from them to us, it will come from us to them. You mean us, the parents? No silly, the family courts and professional psychology.

Once the family courts and legislatures seek a solution, they will want research on the solutions. The NCTSN is a perfect partner for a university to collaborate with in outcome research. The family courts are special, they are a different area of law practice because the well-being of children is involved, and so is spousal conflict. Family law.

Up until now, for the past 35 years, forensic psychology has adopted a single approach, a “child custody evaluation” with recommendations to the court. So. Where is the treatment outcome data? There is none.

…. I don’t know what to say. Thirty-five years with your child custody evaluations and not a single treatment outcome study on the practice? Ever?

Hm… and you say you have a problem here and you’re wondering how to fix it, yet in 35 years you haven’t conducted a single treatment outcome study on child custody evaluations… yet you continued to do them.

Okay. Let me compose myself, self-regulate. Deep breath, deep breath.

There needs to be research. Not on some “parental alienation” thing, on trauma, complex trauma in your families… attachment pathology, a child rejecting a parent, that’s the attachment system, this is an attachment pathology.

“How do children respond to trauma? That all depends on the quality of their attachment system.” – van der Kolk, 2020

Great Britain, Bessel van der Kolk has wonderful commentary on the development of Bowlby’s understanding of attachment pathology from the boarding schools of England. We ripple trauma and abuse from generation to generation, contained in the parenting practices that trauma and complex trauma create.

It’s not the fist that’s the trauma, it’s the betrayal. That’s my mother, my father, that’s the person who is supposed to take care of me, and they’re dangerous. It’s not the fist, it’s the betrayal.

Betrayal of family loyalty bonds across generations. The core theme of child abuse and trauma. Oh hey look, here it is, over here, in this court-involved family conflict pathology, a cross-generational “betrayal” of family loyalty with abuse allegations.

Hm. How odd.

To find the core betrayal theme so openly displayed… yet in the other direction. Odd.

Here, it’s from the child to the parent, the child is betraying loyalty to the targeted parent, it’s not the parent who is betraying the child. Here, it’s the other direction. How… odd.

You know… I wonder if it’s the spouse, the allied parent.

I wonder if it’s the allied parent spouse who has the trauma, the betrayal trauma, so that’s where the theme comes from – and they feel “betrayed” by the other spouse, by the failed marriage and divorce, and that activated their betrayal trauma stuff, and now they are responding to their “abuser” through the child rejecting the parent – but they’re all lost and confused in their trauma limbic brain by the rejection and perceived abandonment surrounding the divorce.

Do you think that’s possible?

What do you think. You tell me mental health people, is that possible? Maybe? Could that possibly be where we are getting the core primary theme of complex trauma – betrayal – the one who should be there… isn’t – but in the OTHER direction, from a child to a parent?


I’m telling you. These mental health people, I could just beat them with a stick for how ignorant they are, bam, bam, bam. I understand caning now, bam, you are so ignorant. Caning mental health professionals as a disciplinary practice of licensing boards. It’s an option to consider, let’s put it to a vote.

IPV spousal abuse using the child as the weapon. Is that hard to understand? What is that, nine words? Not even ten words long. What is the difficult part of that sentence… IPV spousal abuse using the child as the weapon?

Sooo, a child is rejecting a parent following divorce, did you assess for IPV spousal abuse using the child as the weapon?

No. You didn’t. Do you know how I know that? Because I know that you know nothing at all about how to do that. Do you know how I know that?

Because you’re not doing it.

I know how to do that, to assess for IPV spousal abuse using the child as the weapon. Surely you do as well. So… do it.

Oh, you want me to teach you how to do that? Then do what I tell you to do. Otherwise, do whatever you want. If you don’t want to assess for IPV spousal abuse using the child as the weapon following divorce, that’s fine, don’t do it.

If you don’t think that’s an important to thing to assess for, one spouse using the child as a weapon of savage emotional abuse directed toward the other spouse-and-parent, if you don’t think that’s important to assess, don’t do it.

If you think that’s important to assess for in a post-divorce family conflict, then do it, assess for it. Any way you’d like, do whatever you think is best.

Just…do it. If you think it’s important to assess for IPV spousal abuse surrounding divorce, using the child as the weapon… then go ahead, I’m not stopping you, do it.

So… what did you find? How did you assess for it?

Craig Childress, Psy.D.

Clinical Psychologist, PSY 18857

Author: GreatCosmicMothersUnited

I have joined with many parents affected with the surreal , yet accepted issue of child abuse via Pathogenic Parenting / Domestic abuse. As a survivor of Domestic Abuse, denial abounded that 3 sons were not affected. In my desire to be family to those who have found me lacking . As a survivor of psychiatric abuse, therapist who abused also and toxic prescribed medications took me to hell on earth with few moments of heaven. I will share my life, my experiences and my studies and research.. I will talk to small circles and I will council ; as targeted parents , grandparents , aunts , uncles etc. , are denied contact with a child for reasons that serve the abuser ...further abusing the child. I grasp the trauma and I have looked at the lost connection to a higher power.. I grasp when one is accustomed to privilege, equality can feel like discrimination.. Shame and affluence silences a lot of facts , truths that have been labeled "negative". It is about liberation of the soul from projections of a alienator , and abuser ..

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