Report on Parental Alienation Conference in Toronto - March 27 - 29
on Parental Alienation Conference – Toronto, March 27-29, 2009
those who were not able to attend the conference, here are the highlights.
was an extremely good conference, with information for just about everybody.
her presentation Dr. Amy Baker noted something that needs to be straightened out now and then, the confusion between PA and
Alienation (PA) refers to acts with the purpose of alienating a child from one of the parents.
Parental alienation actions taken by the alienating parent do not necessarily lead to PAS. The actions may damage the child, but not to the extent that they will result in odd, contrary to logic
and sometimes inexplicable behaviour. Of course any alienating action has nasty
effects on the child, but only through the understanding of the syndrome can be interpreted.
Alienation Syndrome (PAS) refers to the effects that result from PA (i.e. a 9 year old child who has not had any contact with
a parent since he/she was 2 years old hating the missing parent). Under
normal circumstances it would be expected that the child would be excited to get the missing parent back into his/her life,
that he/she hates the TP is the odd behaviour.
Parent can be custodial (CP) as well as non-custodial (NCP). PAS
can occur even in complete families.
· Badmouthing target parent (TP)
· Limiting access
· Interfering with communication
· Interfering with symbolic communication (i.e.
not delivering birthday card, presents, etc.).
· Love withdrawal
· Forcing child to choose
· Creating impressions TP is dangerous
· Confiding in child
· Forcing child to reject TP
· Asking child to spy on TP
· Asking child to keep secrets from TP
· Referring to TP by first name
· Referring to step-parent by “mom or dad”
· Encouraging child to call step-parent “mom
· Withholding social, medical and academic information
· Keeping TP of school, medical and athletic forms
· Changing name of child
· Cultivating dependency to AP
· Excluding TP extended family (input by this poster)
are = to cult leaders who function in black or white thinking only.
· Low self-esteem
· Trust Issues
· High rates of divorce
· Drug abuse
· Low achievement
cycle of parental alienation
as a form of child abuse:
· Physical abuse
TO PARENTS WHO STILL HAVE CONTACT:
· Do not take bait
· Do not take it personally
· Hold self-esteem
· Separate message from messenger
· Avoid too passive or too reactive replies
by this poster:
· Video-tape during visits showing happy moments
and play them back in future visits
TO PARENTS WITHOUT CONTACT:
· Never give up hope
· Never give up on your child
· Leave a trail for your child to find you someday
· Gets lots of support
· Be creative
in keeping in touch
· DO NOT PROCRASTINATE GETTING TO KIDS, ACT ASAP before child’s critical thinking is affected
Baker is author of some books among them: Beyond the high road: 17 responses to PA without losing morals
· Have empathy
· Be different from AP
· Always show up for pickups (AP may be just looking
for that only missed occasion to demonize you in the eyes of the child)
· Get team of professionals
· Get lots of support
BY THIS POSTER:
IS NO MAGIC BULLET TO DEAL WITH PA OR PAS.
NOT RAISE LIGHTLY PA SYNDROM ALLEGATIONS IN COURT. FIGHTING PAS INVOLVES
HIGH AND PRICY PROFESSIONALS THAT ARE ABLE TO RECOGNIZE IT AND TESTIFY ABOUT IT.
DELAYS TO HAVE THE PROFESSIONALS INVOLVED CAN TAKE LOTS OF TIME, TIME THAT WORKS IN FAVOUR OF THE ALIENATING PARENT. HOWEVER, DR. BAKER INDICATED THAT WHEN PAS CASES GO TO COURT THEY TEND TO FAVOUR
PAS IN EARLY APPLICATIONS, EVEN THROUGH A LAWYER, IMPLIES THAT YOU ARE ABLE TO RECOGNIZE THE COMPLEX EFFECTS, SOMETHING WHICH
MAY LOOK TOO PRESUMPTOUS FOR NON-MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS. IT NEEDS TO BE
DO NOT UNDERSTAND PAS, BUT ARE WILLING AND ABLE TO RECOGNIZE AND ACCEPT ALIENATING ACTION, THUS DOCUMENT OCCURRENCES AND PRESENT
THEM TO THE COURT WITHOUT MENTIONING THE WORD SYNDROM. THE OTHER SIDE IS
LESS LIKELY TO CALL THE ENLISTMENT OF EXPERT WITNESSES WITH THIS SIMPLE APPROACH OF OCCURRENCES. AND IF THE AP SUCCEEDS IN BRINGING IN THE HEALTH PROFESSIONALS, YOU WILL NOT LOOK AS OVER-STATING
YOUR CONCERNS. IT MAY EVEN HAPPEN THAT THE PROFESSIONAL MAY BE ABLE
TO RECOGNIZE SOME SYMPTOMS AS PAS WITHOUT YOUR RAISING THE ISSUE.
Gene Coleman, made a clear presentation of the status of PA, as described in the articles published in the National Post and
others, including one today, April the 1st, in the National Post (articles appended).
He had some radio interviews related to the conference.
is offering access to his data at his website: http://4famlaw.com/P.A.%20Research.htm
was a presentation by another lawyer, Brian Ludmer, who clearly stated that he can represent the AP, the TP or the child. His presentation was focused on the TP.
He was a former business lawyer but does family law as well. He
is based in Toronto. Since each case is different, applying samples of
what he said to somebody else’s case could work against that individual and this poster does not want that responsibility.
video of the whole conference was made and WILL be available to those who want to purchase it.
September was a time mentioned. Most likely it will be available for a
good price. Then you can make your own decision to what is best for you if you
want to follow the legal route. You can dig your own grave or come out of it.
Rachel house provided a presentation of the work they do in Texas to deprogram alienated children. They have chapters in other places. Consistent with what other mental health professionals presented,
they operate in the principle that the child has to be separated from the AP for a good amount of time, 3 months to a year,
for them to be successful. They say that while they have not yet turned
down an applicant for financial reasons, their services are costly, up to $7,000 for the first week and less then after. Their rate of success is said to be in the 80+%
consistent with the professionals’ views, it is accepted that the child will reverse to trying to please the AP when
they go back to their influence but from then on they will try to please both parents equally.
speaker, Michael Gough, made a presentation about using the Internet to keep in touch with children. He indicated that in the United States they are trying to have laws that will allow judges to order
that. While emphasis was made that it is not a way to make it easier
for judges to deny direct contact, it is questionable that the law will literally specify that that kind of contact is not
to be in lieu of direct contact. Unless spelled out that way, most likely
the use of laws allowing that kind of contact would degenerate in irresponsible application since it appears as an easy way
to solve problems.
was made of the benefits of different programs, such as between Microsoft Messenger, Yahoo! and Sky. The presenter slightly favoured SKY over the other two. He
indicated that he has a little program that he sells for $10 to help arrange schedules.
provided his website for those who like further info: www.internetvisitation.net
was made that with present computers DSL or Cable connections are sufficiently fast to enable fluid transmission. Using satellite service was NOT recommended.
is said that the audio-visual contact could be recorded as a security reason for both the AP and the TP, however, this poster
did not hear or knows how this recording can be done.
mental health professional, of PHD calibre, made fantastic and lively presentations that showed light on the nastiness of
PA and PAS.
presenter provided all the data to prove that PAS can be proven scientifically and see no reason, other than politics for
PAS not being listed in the DSM.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is published by the American Psychiatric Association and provides
diagnostic criteria for mental disorders. It is used in the United States and in varying degrees around the world, by clinicians,
researchers, psychiatric drug regulation agencies, health insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and policy makers.
DSM has attracted controversy and criticism as well as praise. There have been five revisions since it was first published
in 1952, gradually including more disorders, though some have been removed and are no longer considered to be mental disorders.
It initially evolved out of systems for collecting census and psychiatric hospital statistics, and from a manual developed
by the US Army. The last major revision was the DSM-IV published in 1994, although a "text revision" was produced in 2000.
The DSM-V is currently in consultation, planning and preparation, due for publication in May 2012. An early draft will
be released for comment in 2009.  The mental disorders section of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases
and Related Health Problems (ICD) is another commonly-used guide, used more often in some parts of the world. The two classifications
have developed alongside each other and use the same diagnostic codes.
indicated that it is slow process and that the DSM has only been revised in 1968, 1980, 1987 and 1994.
1968 it listed 182 disorders
1980 it listed 265
1987 it listed 292
1994 it listed 297
stated by Dr. Amy Baker, she does not expect change to come via the mental health profession first but by the courts. No other Dr. contradicted this statement.
Wednesday, April 01, 2009
kids as weapons"
Kay, National Post
weekend, I attended the Canadian Symposium for Parental
Syndrome (PAS), Canada's first international conference on
form of child abuse that can be as bad as, or even worse than,
and physical abuse.
the "show, don't tell" version of what the presentations added up
read A Kidnapped Mind (Dundurn Press, 2006), by former model and
Pamela Richardson, who spoke at the symposium. Richardson
the book after her 16-year-old son, Dash Hart, neither drunk nor
threw himself off Vancouver's Granville Street Bridge on New
Richardson was unaware there was such a syndrome until well
a 12-year custody ordeal as a "target parent," her detailed
of a remorseless campaign to "disappear" her from Dash's
by his narcissistic father is the human face behind the evils
in the PAS literature.
late psychologist and researcher Richard Gardner said of PAS, the
he coined in 1985, "I have introduced this term to refer to a
in which children are obsessed with deprecation and
of a parent --denigration that is unjustified and/or
goes far beyond the moderate alienation that frequently
high-conflict divorce. The denigration of the target
in PAS is not sporadic, impulsive and reality-based ("Your
is such a flake"), but a vicious, consciously sustained and
example, in his presentation, Montreal psychologist Dr. Abe
a specialist in PAS (he has testified at 600 trials),
the case of a brainwashed boy who, witnessing in court, could no
recall a single activity he'd ever done with his mother, but
she'd given every man on their street a blow job. To the
the child is a weapon. Hatred of the ex always trumps the
rights and mental well-being.
alienators -- whether male or female, the pattern of
is identical -- are typically so pathologically consumed
anger triggered by rejection, that they are beyond the reach of
or moral suasion. More than just punishing, they wish literally
wipe out the target parent's existence.
this end, alienators will cut the target parent's face out of
photos, banish all mention of his name or refuse to speak of
as "dad" (soon the child "de-parents" this way, too). Alienators
an overwhelming sense of entitlement with no fear of courts.
Richardson's case, her ex blithely ignored all access orders.
one year when she was supposed to have "joint custody," she saw
for exactly 24 hours.
show the children court documents (a divorce no-no) and
them in the legal process ("Should we ask for sole custody?").
intercept messages and gifts from the other parent, then deny
were sent. They shun the target parent at school and sports
They isolate the child from extended family and friends of the
parent, imputing fictional sins to all and sundry associated
of PAS fret that the syndrome is being exploited by abusive
as a ploy to enforce visitation or custody of justifiably
abused children present a notably different affect from the
An abused child is reluctant to discuss what has been done
him and must be coaxed to reveal his secret. Even then, he doesn't
hatred of the abusing parent, as he longs for a healed
contrast, a PAS child exhibits classic symptoms of brainwashing,
in robotic alignment with the alienator. (At 12, Dash wore his
clothes to court.) He is eager to badmouth the target parent.
he uses locutions and accusations obviously uploaded into him by
adult. Dr. Worenklein recalled four alienated siblings who parroted
exact same words in their baseless denunciations of their target
of the child from the alienator for a period of time--even
months, ideally a year -- can effectively begin reversal of the
effect and restore a relationship with the target parent.
time does not heal the wounds left by the theft of the
years. From the victimized parent's point of view, a child's
is -- in some sense -- kinder than permanent alienation, for
is beyond parents' control and brings closure to hope.
is a crime of calculation and opportunity, but alienators need
in the legal and social service systems. And they get them,
Dash's father managed to do, time after time. Yet legal
for access order violation could be the single most
deterrent to marginalization of the target parent. Since
will never compromise, custody should revert to the parent
willing to co-operate with the other parent on time spent with
Canadian case law is trending toward acknowledgement of the
PAS has been part of the decisions in 74 court cases since
53 in the last eight years.
PAS-responsive judge wisely noted: "Hatred is not an emotion that
naturally to a child. It has to be taught."
teaching hatred of the other parent had been written into B. C.
law as grounds for a reversal of custodianship in 1987, Dash
would be alive today. His martyrdom should count for something.
sobering message I drew is that vigorous advocacy for alienators
legal and social service professionals in the divorce industry is
with child abuse. If the "best interests of the child" is
to remain an empty mantra in the family law system, it must stop.
- For more information on PAS, visit: www.crckids.org
Toronto Star Article
alienation syndrome leaves bruises deep inside
31, 2009 04:30 AM
the end, it was one tiny voice that silenced anyone who still had doubts that parental alienation is real and one of the most
insidious forms of child abuse.
voice wasn't real – Dashiell Hart opened his arms wide and threw himself off a Vancouver bridge eight years ago at the
age of 16.
his voice was brought to life at a Toronto conference by his devastated mother, Pamela Richardson, who endured a 12-year court
battle with her ex-husband to try to win back the heart and mind of her son.
was just one tiny soldier in the growing army of children who are becoming collateral damage in bitter battles between ex-spouses
that are overwhelming Canada's divorce courts, the first Canadian Symposium for Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) heard recently
12 years I had four different sets of lawyers trying to convince the courts my son, who lived less than 10 minutes' drive
from me, needed to see the mother who loved and raised him," Richardson told the conference.
it's still believed that no parent would wound their child for their own selfish gain. Maybe people still believe that the
loss of a parent is not that big a deal – parents get sick, have car accidents, get cancer, they die. But alienated
parents aren't dead – and the children know it."
to Richardson, it was her ex-husband, Peter Hart, a criminal lawyer, who began a concerted campaign to win sole custody of
their then 6-year-old son and cut off all contact with his mother, physically and psychologically, shortly after the couple
separated in 1989.
PAS children there are generally no outward or tangible signs of maltreatment," said Richardson, who later wrote a book called
A Kidnapped Mind: A Mother's Heartbreaking Story of Parental Alienation Syndrome. "Instead of bruises, the wounds of PAS children
are buried deep in their heart."
was granted interim custody of Dash – Richardson blames that on his strong connections in the court system – while
the couple sorted out their divorce.
had visitation rights, but increasingly Hart would claim that Dash was too busy with soccer, sleepovers or homework to see
her. She was even asked to stop helping out at Dash's school.
show her love, she would leave freshly baked cookies on Dash's front doorstep.
year that Dash was 11, Richardson saw her son for just 24 hours. Every time she asked a judge to enforce her access time,
Hart would accuse her of being obsessive and "trying to break up their happy home."
are transfers of time followed by transfers of power and children know enough to keep themselves safe," said Richardson.
shift takes place in the child's mind. This is the heartbreak of PAS: children are forced to choose between their parents
because, in their mind, they've already lost one parent (to the divorce), and they're terrified of losing the other."
went from being a happy, healthy 7-year-old to threatening to jump out the second-storey window of his school at the age of
9. At almost 12, he showed up at court in his father's clothes.
are now starting to tackle PAS head-on, with an increasing willingness to switch custody to the alienated parent and order
the children into treatment.
back in the 1990s, most wouldn't even acknowledge it as a real issue, said Richardson.
years of being told she was "idiotic," "uncaring" and even "dangerous," Dash grew into a teenager who lashed out constantly
at his mother, who by now had remarried and had two young sons.
"has everything to do with who has custody," she said. "It's a crime of calculation and opportunity. Arguing about whether
or not PAS is a syndrome or a mental health disorder or abuse just ties everyone up in knots while real children and real
families suffer this harm. A child's fundamental right to be loved by both his or her parents is destroyed by PAS."
the effects are long-lasting, as parental alienation expert and researcher Amy Baker told the conference.
study of 40 adults who were alienated as children revealed lifelong battles with low self-esteem, alcoholism and drug abuse,
as well as high divorce and suicide rates.
alienation used to be known as "malicious mother syndrome." But it's become a more equal-opportunity form of emotional abuse
of children over the last two decades, according to a new study of some 74 Canadian cases, which was released at the conference.
24 of the 74 high-conflict divorce cases examined by veteran Toronto family lawyer Gene Colman, men turned their kids against
their mothers, while 50 of the cases involved women alienating the kids from their fathers.
family courts have tended to deal with contentious divorces by awarding sole custody to one parent, believing that joint custody
is simply unworkable among ex-partners who are at war.
divorce experts, mental health professionals and child advocacy workers, some of whom spoke at the conference, have long argued
that this approach encourages parental alienation by treating the children as prizes to be won or lost in bitter battle.
said the study's results confirmed for him that Canada's divorce laws need to be amended to make "equal, shared parenting"
the norm in all divorce cases, except when there are extenuating circumstances such as domestic violence, mental health or
other issues that make one parent clearly unfit.
Gender bias evident in parental alienation cases
are more likely to be the parent behind children's estrangement, yet fathers more often ordered into counselling, study finds
Globe and Mail, Canada's largest national newspaper, by KIRK MAKIN, Justice Reporter, Saturday, March 28, 2009
REPORTER — A study of alienated children has found that mothers were significantly more likely to be the parent who
emotionally poisoned their children than were fathers.
family lawyer Gene Colman told a Toronto symposium yesterday that of 74 court rulings that found parental alienation since
1987, the mother was the alienator in 50 cases. The father was the alienating parent in 24.
not trying to dump on moms," Mr. Colman told about 150 psychologists, family lawyers, mediators and activist parents. "I'm
just saying, that is what the data reveal."
parental alienation syndrome, an estranged parent systematically brainwashes a child into hating the other parent. The profile
of the syndrome escalated over the past year, after three Ontario judges ordered that children be removed from an alienating
parent and taken to U.S. clinics for deprogramming therapy.
Colman said that alienating fathers were twice as likely to be ordered to undergo counselling as were mothers in alienation
cases - a finding that raises serious questions about whether judges are exhibiting gender biases.
of the 50 alienating mothers in his study were ordered into counselling, as compared with 13 of 24 fathers. "As social scientists
will tell you, that is a high level of statistical significance in terms of differential treatment by gender," Mr. Colman
lawyers and judges, we have to be vigilant to make sure that we ... are not influenced by whether the mom is the alienator
or the dad is the alienator. There should be no differential in how either gender is dealt with."
other findings in Mr. Colman's study included:
number of parental alienation cases has shot up from 21 between 1987 and 2000 to 53 between 2000 and 2008.
who had their alienated children switched from their homes were granted some form of access by the courts in a "much lower"
percentage of cases than were mothers.
who alienate their children are somewhat more likely to have their children removed from their residence and relocated with
Colman said that of cases where the father was the alienator, children were ordered to switch to the mother's residence in
78 per cent of cases. In contrast, 62 per cent of the mothers who alienated their children had them switched to the father's
would seem that if you are the dad, you have a greater probability of having the residence changed on you," said Mr. Colman,
founding editor of the Canadian Journal of Family Law and founding member of the Canadian Equal Parenting Council.
1998-2009 Canadian Children's Rights Council - Conseil canadien des droits
Cary Linde from BC
w/ Gene Coleman) discussed this case yesterday at the PAS Symposium.
court bars mother from seeing daughter for more than a year
B.C. — In a case of extreme parental alienation, a mother has been banned by a B.C. Supreme Court judge from seeing
her teenage daughter for more than a year.
of the urgency of the matter, Justice Donna Martinson issued the terse, two-page ruling outlining 15 conditions the parents
must follow, including that the mother, known only as Ms. A, not see her daughter until at least March 31, 2010.
decision came after the mother alleged extreme emotional abuse by the father, which she claimed was putting the teen's safety
am satisfied that Ms. A's allegations are unfounded," Martinson wrote. "I am further satisfied that she has continued to undermine
the relationship between M and her father and has acted in ways that are detrimental to M's psychological healing."
have been stripped from the court ruling to protect the girl's identity.
judge has ordered that both the mother and maternal grandmother have no contact with the girl, which would be enforced by
police if necessary.
court has also ordered the mother to pay $320 per month for the girl's counselling, on top of the child support she is already
Ko, the lawyer for the girl's father, said it's been a gruelling road for the dad who has been in court 17 different times
to gain access to his daughter or defend himself against the mother's allegations.
went to the point where our client was essentially bankrupt from defending himself and pursuing this legal matter," said Ko.
said the father is in a highly respected profession and should be able to recover financially.
said the ruling banning the mother from any contact with the child was extremely unusual, because often the court attempts
to find a balance in access between the parents.
is a case where there was found to be an extreme example of parental alienation by the mother towards the father."
© 2009 The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.