Jean Mercer

The following is a reply to someone asking about clarification as to Dr. Childress’ methods of helping a child who is suffering from the effects of pathogenic parenting.  The discussion is in comments section of his blog post: Mercer Redux

I am addressing the comment Susan made here.

Hi Susan,

I am addressing the points I saw you make.

Let me clarify. When I say two sides, I mean two sides that are automatically assumed to have equal weight or value, and that the answer is some where in the middle.

While I appreciate your encouragement, I was not posting my situation for a personal compliment. I was posting it because it has been my experience over time that making things specific can illustrate a larger situation in a more “concrete” way, rather than putting it into hypothetical terms. Like for example when the news says that the US flew a sortie over XX country and took out a target—we can all sleep better than if was reported and shown as as people bombed out of their homes and you see the blood soaked faces of people where the guts of their former friends and neighbors are sprayed on the streets. Too violent an image? Imagine if that’s how all bombings were shown. i am guessing the outcry against such behavior would begin to grow substantially.  It’s so easy to get lost in a discussion on the theory and lose sight of the fact that children are being harmed—right now. Right now my child is being pressured to hate thier father. Right now my child is scheduled to do a psychosexual assessment—innocence is being messed with because mom wants to try and prove me to be something I’m not, even after three mental health professionals have confirmed there is nothing going on.

Dr. Mercer keeps trying to poke holes in Dr. Childress’s position without any other ideas of her own to put into practice right now. She keeps trying to posit that the solution is too complex – which makes people, who deal in concrete ideas less interested and give up or move on. This is another fallacy of thought. It is a tactic of disinformation known as “Enigmas have no solution”. Item #12.

At least to me she is someone whose behavior (what I can see “out here in the world”) is consistent with someone aligned with those who do not want anything to change.

To answer your other questions, I continue to learn myself, as does Dr. Childress. I think your point is very valid—you don’t want to take the child from one parent and then just put them with the other indefinitely- the same imbalance occurs—the same longing for the child to have both parents still needs to be addressed. Dr. Childress has his own detailed protocols for how to do this, and  works closely with Dorcy Pruter (
who has a method for addressing the damage done by this dynamic along with how to create functional separated family systems. You can read more about his thoughts in her work here:

I think it’s good to probe for solutions. I agree. I would never have found this work to begin with if I hadn’t been.  And I don’t know if there is a better way. But I am also very much a “don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good”kind of person. To look for the perfect solution means inaction while we wait. And we cannot wait. So far, this work and this model have far and away been the most effective I have seen in this area in helping children NOW.