Shining Lights

Our training in Holland continues and we have been deep in the forest today examining the role of personality disorder in pure cases of alienation and the particular configurations seen in cases which feature coercive control.  As I prepare for our final days work with practitioners I am reading around the commentary on the situation with CAFCASS in the UK.  It is particularly heartening as I do so, to hear from others who are working hard to protect families from the harm that can come from poorly trained practitioners doing this work, particularly the blog from Voice of the Child which is operating beautifully to make the invisible visible and educate and inform parents of the risks ahead.

Thank goodness there are those in the world who truly care for children and who are unafraid to do the forensic work which enables clarity.  The proposals from CAFCASS are deeply concerning and there is much work to be done to ensure that parents are not shovelled down a pathway of accepting therapy as the remedy to their CAFCASS diagnosed ‘high conflict’ situation.  A properly directed searchlight always shows up the fault-lines and with UK professionals determined not to allow CAFCASS to deliver this project without the full and proper consultation and scrutiny, the risk to parents is reduced.

So much is going on in preparation for a new way of being in the UK.  Read, analyse, don’t believe everything you hear and standby.





13 thoughts on “Shining Lights”

  1. Quote: ” we have been deep in the forest today examining the role of personality disorder in pure cases of alienation and the particular configurations seen in cases which feature coercive control.”

    How I wish I could have been a fly on the wall for that bit alone!
    Holland (rural Holland) is such a beautiful place. Hope it’s not all work and no play 🙂


  2. I watch my kids become strangers , l try all l have as a mum to protect them but lreland is scared to see the truth of alientation, we need help urgent in ireland


  3. What do you think of Dr Childress’ method of diagnosing pure alienation?
    Do you think it may improve the chances that pure alienation will be diagnosed and recognised in a Court setting?


    1. It has been used by psychologists and psychiatrists in the UK for fifty years Jon. Dr Hamish Cameron has used that approach in pure cases and so did Lowenstein. Others have done the same. It is the way to address one small group of cases. I have delivered 27 removals of children on that basis. I have been saying this since 2015 when Bill Bernet wrote old wine in old skins and I wrote my review of Foundations for PASG. It is NOT the universal answer to PA which is a far bigger spectrum problem. If we only used Childress’s model a very large group of families would be diagnosed as false negative. In the UK it most certainly would not improve chances.


      1. Hi Karen, Please correct me if I’m wrong, from my reading of your work I was under the impression that if you suspected pure alienation you would usually have the alienating parent tested for a PD. Is that the usual way that it is done in the UK?
        I’m asking because if this is the case that’s a point of difference with AB-PA – that only the child’s symptoms are needed for a diagnosis.
        It’s important for the reader to note that Childress doesn’t claim that AB-PA will help in all forms of PA, only in the most severe form, when a PD is present in the alienating parent. Perhaps this should be stated more often.


      2. Hi Jon, yes you are right, we remove children on the basis of encapsulated delusional disorder but NOT on a diagnosis of the child. It would be more or less 100% impossible to get a diagnosis of a PD in the child in the UK, I know of no psychologist or psychiatrist who would do that or who would use the Childress model for that very reason. On the issue of whether Childress claims that AP-PA helps all forms of PA, well, thus far his claims have been that ‘gardnarian PAS’ must die’ and be replaced by AB-PA so I think that the idea that Childress is not claiming that AB-PA doesn’t help all cases is erroneous. The reality is that AB-PA will not work in the UK in its current form, it has worked for a small number of cases across the years in the pure and severe category (diagnosing the parent not the child) and that PA is a spectrum issue far far wider than Childress recognises. Finally, the idea that anyone in the UK would diagnose a PD in a child is simply wishful thinking.


      3. Hi Karen, To my understanding AB-PA does not require a diagnosis of a PD in a child. Rather, since PDs in a child are so rare, the PD symptoms listed in AB-PA in a child can indicate a shared psychotic disorder in which the PD symptoms are coming from the parent. Unlike a true PD, the symptoms in the child aren’t present in other settings and situations.
        If what Childress is referring to as a ‘shared psychotic disorder’ incorporates what you are referring to as an ‘encapsulated delusional disorder’, then perhaps you are both looking at the same thing, just in the other family member.
        I assure you Childress does say that AB-PA only covers cases where PA is driven by a PD in a parent (paraphrased), although like I said before, perhaps it should be stated more often so it is clear to everyone – it took a while for me to spot this.
        This is a separate issue to his apparent anti-Gardnarian stance.


      4. Hi Jon, the issue we would face with Childress’s model is that even if he is not diagnosing the PD in the child but is saying that the child is in an encapsulated delusional disorder, the alienating parent would have to be diagnosed as such before action is taken to remove. AND. In some cases where there IS diagnosis in the parent and it is clearly encapsulated delusional disorder, the balance of harm argument in a severely resistant child means that the child stays with the alienating parent. An additional issue is that Judges in the UK don’t like diagnosis, they like formulation, we do not use the DSM V in the same way as in the states and so anyone going into court saying they can diagnose AB-PA without a psychological evaluation of the alienating parent is going to find themselves kicked into the long grass pronto. Furthermore, the division between private and public law means that even when we a psychological evaluation which shows the parent is PD, if it goes into public law on the basis of significant harm, social workers, (who largely don’t believe in PA), will destroy the treatment route. So many barriers, all of them gradually being overcome with the hard work and diligence of many people in this country. The Childress model is a red herring for the UK I’m afraid. Now, the issue that you are trying to reconfigure about Childress’s drive to eradicate Gardnarian PA as being him admitting that his model only covers cases of PA – if that were the case then why does he need to attack Gardnarians as he calls them – which btw is his own made up term which means nothing at all to anyone but him. The issue about him telling everyone that his model is THE answer and should replace PA is that there are many many children who are alienated in a case where a parent has NOT got a PD. What are you going to call them when the diagnosis gives a false negative? What are parents going to do when his magical solution tells them they are NOT alienated but the child is showing EXACTLY the same signs as the alienated child in a case where a parent does have a PD? The missing piece for Childress is that PA is a spectrum problem which requires differentiation for correct treatment – that’s what he hasn’t realised yet. When he does he might understand what harm he is doing to the drive to bring full understanding in this field.


      5. Hi Karen, Thanks for your responses. It is quite illuminating to hear your thoughts on issues and difficulties getting PA considered by private and public law in the UK, especially the comment on DSM diagnosis vs formulation.
        Concerning your comment “Now, the issue that you are trying to reconfigure …”, there’s no reconfiguring.
        I was pointing out facts only, that both points exist in Dr Childress’ writings.


      6. I think that it is nigh on impossible to hear anything other than Childress’s determined campaign that his and only his model is what works. In that regard he does himself no favours Jon.


  4. I wish to God you were in the United States New York. The finale of my 3 and 1/2 year trial is tomorrow. Needless to say I know the outcome and I’m already planning on a peeling. Linda Gottlieb says I have one of the most severe cases as well as the most amount of proof that she has ever seen. But still means nothing here🙃


    1. Dana,
      I am in NY also. And I agree 100% that all of this logic “means nothing here”. The legal system is worse than nothing…

      Hoping your day today went better than you could have ever hoped.


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