There are a great many fallacies regarding how PAS plays out within therapy.
The common course of action is for the court to punt: we will hand this over to a therapist, the therapist will give us a recommendation, and we will probably follow it. That has a lot to do with the dysfunctional nature of the court system in which there is tremendous pressure to move cases to a venue where the appearance of resolution can take place and no incentive to keep a case and solve it.
Courts see people come in all day every day with tremendous problems that seem unsolvable. Good judges listen carefully to the recommendations, measure them against what they know of the case, and try to make a good decision. Many of them are capable of extrapolating based on incomplete information. The unfortunate reality is that many are not, and will make a decision anyway, because making a decision is the job of the Judge.
It may surprise people, but making bad decisions is part of the job. Nobody expects the referee in a game of football to always make the right call-they know it’s not possible. We expect more from our courts, but that is not always realistic. Judges make bad decisions. Doctors kill patients. Other people live with the results.
This is frustrating to begin with, but what is particularly frustrating is when the information is clear and unequivocal and nobody is paying attention. There is nothing you can do when a judge is not receptive to the information before it.
What you can do is keep trying, don’t give up, and intervene often and early in cases of PAS. Do not think the problem will solve itself. It won’t.
This article examines ten false beliefs about the genesis of parental alienation and about appropriate remedies that result in opinions and decisions that fail to meet children’s needs. The ten mistaken assumptions are:
(a) children never unreasonably reject the parent with whom they spend the most time,
(b) children never unreasonably reject mothers,
(c) each parent contributes equally to a child’s alienation,
(d) alienation is a child’s transient, short-lived response to the parents’ separation,
(e) rejecting a parent is a short-term healthy coping mechanism,
(f) young children living with an alienating parent need no intervention,
(g) alienated adolescents’ stated preferences should dominate custody decisions,
(h) children who appear to function well outside the family need no intervention,
(i) severely alienated children are best treated with traditional therapy techniques while living primarily with their favored parent, and
(j) separating children from an alienating parent is traumatic.
Reliance on false beliefs compromises investigations and undermines adequate consideration of alternative explanations for the causes of a child’s alienation. Most critical, fallacies about parental alienation shortchange children and parents by supporting outcomes that fail to provide effective relief to those who experience this problem.
Because of copyright restrictions, we do not sell the published version of the article. But we have purchased a quantity of reprints that will be included as a bonus gift in the Parental Alienation Bundles for as long as our supply lasts or for as long as we can obtain additional reprints. See CR62, CR63, and CR64.
SOURCE: DR. RICHARD WARSHAK, AUTHOR OF “DIVORCE POISON”