I think we all need to be aware that mental health by-and-large misses this very real form of child abuse and that we must take action to educate and hold these professionals accountable for their actions. With the Attachment-Based Parental Alienation (AB-PA) approach, (not Parental Alienation Syndrome or PAS) we can help provide clear guidelines for assessing and then giving mental health the ability to act to protect the children they are treating.
The final stage of my wake-up call came a little while back when I was talking with Dorcy Pruter about my child and the therapist who is seeing her.
I commented that I was glad my child had someone who wasn’t buying my ex’s stories and a place they could go every week to de-stress. Dorcy asked what the therapist was doing to assess my child according to the 3 diagnostic indicators described by Dr. Childress to come up with a diagnosis of child psychological abuse if all indicators were present.
I told Dorcy that I didn’t want to antagonize the therapist, that the therapist was helping my child from getting too over stressed over this “situation”—the “situation” being that my ex has been doing everything she can to disrupt and destroy my child’s relationship with me. (See “He Denied Thier Motion” and “The End-Run Nuclear Option” for more details.)
Dorcy pointed out from the perspective of one parent to another, that if my child were going to this therapist and was displaying signs of physical abuse, would I be OK with letting my child feel OK for an hour and then sending them back to their abuser? In that very realistic light, the answer was obviously “no.”
I know this has brought up some unpleasant realities for me—like feeling as if I rock the boat it could be worse so I should accept the half-assed crappy situation I am in. Reminds me a lot of how I felt in my marriage much of the time, especially towards the end. But I found the strength to get out of the marriage.
I can’t stop here.
In addition to giving the therapist a copy of The Professional Consultation by Dr. Childress, I wrote a letter to the therapist insisting that she assess my child for Child Psychological Abuse. If she does not do it, nice as she is, I will file a licensing board complaint. I must. I will post on this when I do it, but you can find directions on how to do it on Dr. Chilress’s blog as well.
Here is what I said. If any of it helpful, let me know. If you have had better luck with something please share it. Thanks.
I believe that my child is being subjected to Child Psychological Abuse as defined in the DSM-V.
FYI- In Florida, there are already 2 legislators co-sponsoring a bill to write into the existing child abuse reporting law to make these included described diagnostic indicators and resulting diagnosis a clear and definitive way to identify and act on this if it occurring.
Please think of how my child behaves when she has been with [alienating parent] when assessing vs. when they have been with me. I have never seen a child, mine nor anyone else’s, spend a majority of their time anxious about situations they are not in or a person they are not with [or displaying a haughty / arrogant attitude], think of one parent as all good while the other full of faults, or express a desire to not see another parent when the parent has done nothing to warrant such a reaction.
I do not believe this situation with my child is a question of child custody, or that therapy need be limited to a space where they de-stress off the incredible amount of pressure being applied to them by the [alienating parent]’s behavior and the situations [alienating parent] has instigated. I believe this is about child protection—and if that is the case appropriate action must be taken to protect them.
There are three indicators that lead to this diagnosis. The indicators must all be present.
Diagnostic Indicators and Diagnosis:
309.4 Adjustment Disorder with mixed disturbance of emotions and conduct
V61.20 Parent-Child Relational Problem
V61.29 Child Affected by Parental Relationship Distress
V995.51 Child Psychological Abuse, Confirmed
For full post with more detail from Dr. Childress, please go here.