I first encountered the “five-factor” model of PAS this past year in a forensic child custody report. The forensic evaluator cited the “five-factor” model of PAS to assert that there was NO “parental alienation” because the child did not meet criteria for the “five-factor” model of PAS.
By all indications of the symptom reporting, however, the child did meet diagnostic criteria for AB-PA. So now I must review and critique the “five-factor model” of PAS proposed by Dr. Bernet in order to protect the child from continuing child psychological abuse by the pathogenic parent.
I want everyone to let that fully sink in. The forensic evaluator cited the five-factor model of Dr. Bernet as the reason there was NO “parental alienation” and the child should therefore be left in the sole-custody care of the pathological and psychologically abusive parent.
I am simply second-opinion review on that matter. I am simply telling you the current status of the field.
The reason I put the term “five-factors” in quotes is because I have yet to see the factor analysis that supports that there are five factors to PAS. If there is no factor analysis, then to claim there is a five-factor model is professionally deceptive.
The assumption in research is that the term “factors” applies to a factor analysis conducted on a data set. While the term “factor” has a more loosely defined meaning in the general population, professional reporting in the journal literature is expected to be more precise in its use of research-related language.
First thing to note – before anything – is that Dr. Bernet has yet to demonstrate that there is a pathology called “parental alienation” with one-, two-, three-, four-, or eleven proposed components to PAS. There is no PAS – so – there are no factors, however many, to a non-existent thing.
He starts with an assumption that there is a thing PAS. That is not a valid assumption. He needs to prove this assumption that there IS a PAS before he can begin to describe the features for PAS.
If Dr. Bernet proposes that his recent “five-factor” model of PAS proves there is a pathology of PAS, he is wrong. A DSM-5 diagnosis for PAS proves there is a pathology of PAS. Once he proves there IS a PAS, then he can begin to describe its features.
PAS was completely and fully rejected as a diagnostic construct by the American Psychiatric Association in 2013. PAS is NOT a diagnostic pathology. Yet Dr. Bernet has difficulty adjusting to that reality. He believes he knows more about pathology and its diagnosis than the American Psychiatric Association, and he continues to believe he is ‘discovering’ a new pathology when the American Psychiatric Association has said that is not true.
Note that these articles from 2020-2022 are relatively recent. The ripples have yet to ripple. Fist comes the rock, then the splash, then the ripples.
From Bernet (2020): “Although the phenomenon that we know as parental alienation (PA) had been described in the mental health and legal literature for many years, it was eventually given a name-parental alienation syndrome (PAS)-by Richard Gardner in 1985 (Gardner, 1985). As time went on, most writers abandoned the use of the word syndrome and simply referred to this mental condition as parental alienation. For purposes of this article, PAS and PA are synonymous.”
He simply acts as if everyone now simply accepts the pathology of “parental alienation” as described by Gardner’s PAS model. Dr. Bernet fully and completely disregards that PAS was fully and completely rejected as a diagnostic pathology by the American Psychiatric Association 2013.
Denial is a symptom of thought disorder.
Dr. Bernet went into a time-portal in 1985 and has failed to come out. He remains in 1985. In 2022 he is still making the exact same proposal for Gardner’s PAS. This “five-factor” model is not a new thing – it is PAS from 1985.
Just so everyone is clear – there is NOTHING new in a “five-factor” model of Parental Alienation Syndrome. That construct has been fully and completely rejected by the American Psychiatric Association in 2013 after a full and complete review.
Dr. Bernet has yet to demonstrate there is even a construct of “parental alienation” that has one factor. I will await his presentation of the data set for the factor analysis that identified five factors to the non-existent pathology of PAS.
Dr. Bernet is fully and completely stuck in a time-warp to 1985. Time has not advanced beyond that point for him, and he cannot comprehend or integrate that the construct of PAS has been rejected… and is entirely unnecessary.
To be clear… who is Dr. Bernet? A retired MD psychiatrist. That is it. Just one person, a retired MD psychiatrist who’s obsessed with Gardner’s PAS and cannot let go.
To be clear… who is Richard Gardner? One MD psychiatrist in the 1980s working in the family courts. That’s it. Gardner skipped the step of diagnosis, and instead he led everyone astray by making a new-pathology proposal.
Gardner was wrong. There is no new pathology. Gardner was just a poor diagnostician.
The pathology in the family courts is entirely – entirely – solvable without the construct of “parental alienation” – and, in fact, the solution requires an end to the use of that construct and a return to the established scientific and professional knowledge of the discipline, and poof, everything is solved immediately.
We can only achieve competence by establishing standards of practice. We cannot establish standards of practice requiring everyone to apply the five-factor model of PAS proposed by Bernet.
But that is Dr. Bernet’s expectation, that everyone do what Dr. Bernet tells them to do – not what the American Psychiatric Association says. Not what the ethical Standards of the American Psychological Association says.
Don’t apply Bowlby, don’t apply Minuchin, don’t apply Beck, don’t apply van der Kolk, don’t apply Tronick, don’t apply van der Kolk, don’t apply Kohut, don’t apply the DSM-5 – INSTEAD – apply Bernet.
That’s Dr. Bernet’s expectation in proposing a “five-factor” model of PAS. That was his life’s work. He is a retired MD psychiatrist leading a “movement” for Gardner’s PAS. He was crushed when the American Psychiatric Association said no.
He can’t let go. It’s is legacy. He must fight for his legacy, he can’t fade away into irrelevance. So he simply disregards the decisions of the American Psychiatric Association – they’re wrong – Bill’s right.
He needs to be right. He must be right.
So just for starters, I’m not even off of page 1 in my line-by-line peer-review of the “five-factor” model of PAS proposed by Dr. Bernet and the PAS “experts” and it is clear there is nothing new in their proposal – it’s just Gardner’s PAS… one more time.
From Bernet (2020): “For purposes of this article, PAS and PA are synonymous.”
See. It’s just PAS with lipstick.
I look forward to a more complete presentation of the factor analysis that supports a “five-factor” model of Carrot Rejection Syndrome.
This could have been avoided, but the pathogen is self-destructive. It wants to be seen. It wants us to see and heal it, but it cannot reveal its inadequacy, because once we see how damaged and inadequate they are we’ll reject them.
And their fears are true. Once we see the inadequacy of PAS, we’ll reject it.
I don’t care how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. We need to protect these children and their parents – today – and “parental alienation” will never do that.
This is not personal. It is professional. This pathology has a social distribution feature – it is the only shared pathology. The Garnderian PAS “experts” are a symptom.
Gardnerian PAS was created by the pathogen as bait to lure the targeted parents into endless unproductive fighting in the courts rather than getting an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan from healthcare.
They are a symptom feature. Some things can only be seen looking the other direction in time, from the future to the past. Are we ever going to return to 1985 to adopt PAS as the solution?
It’s time to move on from one retired MD psychiatrist struggling to hold onto meaning in a failed career. History is written by the victors. That won’t be PAS.
Craig Childress, Psy.D.
Clinical Psychologist, CA PSY 18857