From Bernet (2020): “A good generic definition for PA is the following: a mental condition in which…”
According to Dr. Bernet, his “parental alienation” construct is a “mental condition” that exists within a person.
It is not a relational process in the family, it is “mental condition” someone has – you have “parental alienation” like you would have Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder, you have a “mental condition” of “parental alienation”.
According to Dr. Bernet, “parental alienation” is not a parent-child relationship process, it is a thing someone has – you have a mental condition of “parental alienation”, it is not a relational process between two people according to this definition.
According to Dr. Bernet, “parental alienation” exists only within one person, it is the “mental condition” of that person. Which person has the “mental condition” of “parental alienation”, the parent or the child?
Does the parent start with the mental condition of “parental alienation” and then give this “mental condition” to the child, or does the child independently develop the “mental condition” of “parental alienation”?
The parent is clearly transmitting the “mental condition” to the child, to form a shared “mental condition.”
What is that shared “mental condition”? It is a fixed and false belief in supposed “victimization”, i.e., it is a shared delusional disorder.
The “mental condition” is called a persecutory delusion. When the parent induces the persecutory delusion in the child, it becomes a shared delusional disorder.
There is no such thing as “parental alienation” – it is an encapsulated shared persecutory delusion (Childress, 2015). Dr. Bernet is simply an abysmal diagnostician.
I’m barely into my line-by-line review of his “five-factor” model and already it’s just PAS with lipstick, and he’s just identified the shared persecutory delusion – “parental alienation” is a mental condition (not a relational process).
Therefore, “parental alienation” exists in the person as a mental condition. What is that mental condition? A fixed and false belief that the child is being malevolently treated in some way by the targeted parent.
That is a persecutory delusion.
From the APS: “Persecutory Type: delusions that the person (or someone to whom the person is close) is being malevolently treated in some way.
That is the “mental condition” of a persecutory delusion. That is the “mental condition” of the parent, that is the “mental condition” of the child. The pathology is a shared persecutory delusion (Childress, 2015), as described in the journal Family Court Review by Walters and Friedlander (2016),
From Walters & Friedlander: “In some RRD families [resist-refuse dynamic], a parent’s underlying encapsulated delusion about the other parent is at the root of the intractability (cf. Johnston & Campbell, 1988, p. 53ff; Childress, 2013). An encapsulated delusion is a fixed, circumscribed belief that persists over time and is not altered by evidence of the inaccuracy of the belief.” (Walters & Friedlander, 2016, p. 426)
From Walters & Friedlander: “When alienation is the predominant factor in the RRD [resist-refuse dynamic}, the theme of the favored parent’s fixed delusion often is that the rejected parent is sexually, physically, and/or emotionally abusing the child. The child may come to share the parent’s encapsulated delusion and to regard the beliefs as his/her own (cf. Childress, 2013).” (Walters & Friedlander, 2016, p. 426)
Walters, M. G., & Friedlander, S. (2016). When a child rejects a parent: Working with the intractable resist/refuse dynamic. Family Court Review, 54(3), 424–445.
There is no such thing as “parental alienation” and the use of that construct in a professional capacity is substantially beneath professional standards of practice and is in violation of Standard 2.04 Bases for Scientific and Professional Judgments of the APA ethics code.
The pathology is an encapsulated shared persecutory delusion. The assessment for delusional thought disorder pathology is a Mental Status Exam of thought and perception.
That is the mental healthcare information that Dr. Bernet should be dispensing to the public – not psychiatric misinformation based on rejected models of diagnosis and pathology.
Dr. Bernet rejects the diagnostic guidance of the American Psychiatric Association. He thinks he knows more than they do. He thinks he’s right and the American Psychiatric Association is wrong.
No… Dr. Bernet is wrong and the American Psychiatric Association is right – there is no such diagnostic pathology as “parental alienation” – the pathology in the family courts is a shared persecutory delusion (Childress, 2015; Walters & Friedlander, 2016).
Dr. Bernet rejects the ethical guidance of the American Psychological Association, he thinks standards of ethical practice don’t apply to him.
No, he’s wrong. Ethical standards of practice are not optional, and no doctors are exempt from their ethical obligations to their patients to provide the most accurate healthcare information possible to their patients.
Healthcare information from the established scientific and professional knowledge of the discipline. The “mental condition” is an shared persecutory delusion (Childress, 2015; Walters & Friedlander, 2016).
Line… by… line…
Craig Childress, Psy.D.
Clinical Psychologist, CA PSY 18857