Highlights in the history Parental Alienation Syndrome

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Notably, many articles prior to 2000 are listed. Parental alienation syndrome has now become a hot topic for research and professional services.  Additional milestones and research will be added.

Important dates:

June 14 National Grandparent Alienation Awareness Day

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2016  More to follow...

March 2016  Florida Governor Scott presented with Shared Parenting bill to sign.

2016:  In the Family Court Review, an article titled, “‘Bending’ Evidence for a Cause: Scholar-Advocacy Bias in Family Law” cautions that, Combining the terms advocacy and research produces an oxymoron – advocacy research.  Research involves seeking knowledge about, or solutions to, problems that can be objectively demonstrated to others; advocacy implies one already knows the solution and the task is convincing others to mobilize resources accordingly.  (201)

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2015  More to follow...

PARENTAL ALIENATION: Misinformation versus Facts

W Bernet - The Judges' Journal, 2015 - search.proquest.com

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2014 More to follow...

July, 2014:  First International Conference on Shared Parenting invited researchers from more than 20 countries to Bonn, Germany. The Conference’s consensus statement produced by some of the world’s leading researchers included the following, “There is a consensus that shared parenting is a viable post-divorce parenting arrangement that is optimal to child development and well-being, including for children of high conflict parents.” 

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April, 2014: Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC) published the recommendations of 32 family law experts. The group concluded, “Children’s best interests are furthered by parenting plans that provide for continuing and shared parenting relationships that are safe, secure, and developmentally responsive and that also avoid a template calling for a specific division of time imposed on all families”. 

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January, 2014: Journal of the American Psychological Association published a paper whose conclusions were endorsed by 110 eminent authorities around the world. Authored by Dr. Richard Warshak at the University of Texas, the paper concluded, “...shared parenting should be the norm for parenting plans for children of all ages, including very young children.”

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2013  More to follow...

Studies reveal the long-term effect of PAS in childhood

Southern England Psychological Services

The Long Term Effect of Parental Alienation in Childhood Ludwig.F. Lowenstein Ph.D

 

2013:  J. F. Carlson, J. C. Hansen, N. R. Kuncel, S. P. Reise, & M. C. Rodriguez (Eds.), APA handbook of testing and assessment in psychology, Vol. 2: Testing and assessment in clinical and counseling psychology (pp. 587–605). Washington, DC: American Psycho- logical Association. doi:10.1037/14048-034.

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2013:   Shared Parenting Law: Arkansas the legislation signed by the governor.

2013:  Dr. Stanley Clawar and Dr. Brynne Rivlin described that programming and brainwashing parents virtually always blame others for problems, issues, and circumstances that arise. (201)

2013 –  Mitchell Rosen, M.A. described, in referencing others work, the need to differentiate between a truly alienated child, due to a parent's undue influence, from a non-alienated child who might resist or refuse contact with a parent for justifiable reasons.  Many children are falsely labeled as alienated for rejecting a parent based on the child's actual experiences with that parent. (201)

2013:  Dr. Stanley Clawar and Dr. Brynne Rivlin discussed that loyalty conflicts frequently arise out of parental competition, rather than from what may be in the child’s best interest.  Some may appeal to their child’s mercurial, materialistic desires, outdoing each other in providing expensive homes, clothes, trips, cars, or toys. (201)

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2012  More to follow...

2012: American Psychiatric Association rejects Parental Alienation Syndrome/Disorder, in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual V.  PAS, a  subject of debate within the mental health community for over a decade now, presented scientific support that was viewed as more political than empirical.  

The official reason given by the APA for exclusion of PAS is that the disorder is “relational” and therefore doesn’t qualify as a “mental disorder.”

“The bottom line — it is not a disorder within one individual,” said Dr. Darrel Regier, vice chairman of the task force drafting the manual. “It’s a relationship problem — parent-child or parent-parent. Relationship problems per se are not mental disorders.

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October, 2012 : Second special issue of Famiy Court Review. (See first report of same name, 2006).

2011

2011: Alienated Grandparents ANonymous (AGA) originated in Collier County in September 2011. Established as a 501c3 Non Profit in October 2012. This organization is presently active in 48 states and 11 countries.  International Headquarters is located in Naples, Florida  U.S.A.

2010

2010 – Dr. Richard Warshak and Dr. Mark Otis described working in an emerging area of practice requires a delicate balance of courage and caution – courage to pursue new paths, caution to ensure the well-being of those we serve.  This balance is expressed through the virtue of “humbition:” a fusion of humility and ambition (Warshak, 2002, 2007).  Applied to the field of healing disrupted parent-child relationships, humbition allows social scientists and practitioners to balance an ambitious application, extrapolation, and expansion of available knowledge, experience, materials, and procedures with an acceptance of realistic limits to our ability to help parents and children manage the dynamics of alienation. (201)

2010 – Dr. William Bernet described that Parental Alienation Syndrome includes the idea that one of the parents actively influenced the child to fear and avoid the other parent. He described that it is not necessary to have an alienating parent for parental alienation to occur. Parental alienation may occur simply in the context of a high-conflict divorce, in which the parents fight and the child aligns with one side to get out of the middle of the battle, even with no indoctrination by the favored parent. (201)


2010 – D. Leslie M. Drozd and Dr. Nancy Williams Olesen described behaviors by the alienating parent as engaging in sabotaging behaviors and noted this process of sabotaging involves a violent or abusive parent who turns the child against and undermines the victim parent. (201)


2010 – Dr. Steven Friedlander and Dr. Marjorie Gans Walters described, “A child's proclivity or affinity for a particular parent is a normal developmental phenomenon and can be related to temperament, gender, shared interests, identification with a parent's physical and psychological attributes, the parenting style of a particular parent, and also attachment security with one parent. This is not a divorce-specific phenomenon as such preferences occur in intact families as well.” (201)

2009  More to follow...

2009: Interdisciplinary Child Custody Consultant Task Force. study and define the role of the mental health professional engaged as a consultant (mental health consultant) by an attorney for a litigant in a child custody dispute.

2009 – Dr. Stephen Dr. Carter, Dr. Bonnie Haave, & Dr. Shirley Vandersteen define alienation as:  

~Either the deliberate or accidental behavior of a parent or another family member, such as a grandparent or sibling. 

~Alignment as a child’s response to high conflict that does not involve actual rejection.  

~Attachment that is age or gender appropriate affinity, separation anxiety and

~Appropriate as justified rejection or realistic estrangement.  (201)

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2008  More to follow...

2006:  Bernet article: proses Parental Alienation Disorder in DSM-V a prototypical example of a relationship disorder.

2007 – Dr. Amy J. L. Baker outlined the perils of Parental Alienation.  Stating that alienated children have higher rates of depression, relationships difficulties, and substance abuse.

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2007

2007 – Dr. Amy J. L. Baker outlined the perils of Parental Alienation.  Stating that alienated children have higher rates of depression, relationships difficulties, and substance abuse. (201)

2006 More to follow...  

2006: The International handbook of Parental alienation Syndrome that includes chapters written by 30 mental health professionals from 8 counties including the United States.  

 

2006:NOW efforts against any recognition of PA/PAS are relentless. They lobby for laws that would prevent PA/PAS from being used in family law court as a justification for modifying custody. They have successfully influenced the publishers of the 2006 edition of Navigating Custody and Visitation Evaluations in Cases with Domestic Violence: A Judge's Guide a publication of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges to include anti-PA/PAS information. 

Comment by: (National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, 2006).  Because the document is prestigious-the document must be true which is most unfortunate and tragic for the families impacted by these issues 

Newly revised edition of "Navigating Custody and Visitation Evaluations in Cases with Domestic Violence: A Judge's Guide," published by The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, includes a strong statement condemning the use of PAS which it calls a "discredited" syndrome that favors child abusers in custody determinations; Therefore, be it resolved that the National Organization for Women (NOW) denounces Parental Alienation Syndrome and recommends that any professional whose mission involves the protection of the rights of women and children, denounce its use as unethical, unconstitutional, and dangerous.

2006:   Family Law Education Reform Project Final Report Mary E. O’Connell and J. Herbie DiFonzo, Family Court Review, October 2006

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2006: Family Law Reform Project Website

A resource to help law professors and others in academic life integrate interdisciplinary perspectives and skills training into their family law courses.   

2006 – Dr. Richard Warshak described Parental Alienation as “A disturbance in which children, usually in the context of sharing a parent’s negative attitudes, suffer unreasonable aversion to a person or persons with whom they formerly enjoyed normal relationships or with whom they would normally develop affectionate relationships.”  (201)

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2005   More to follow...

2005:  Practice Guidelines in Child Custody Evaluation for Licensed Clinical Social Workers published in 2005 by Luftman et all, Acknowledges the concept of Pas and state that not all cases could be categorized as a syndrome.  The pamphlet further states that each evaluator should attend to the relationship between the parent and child.  The evaluator should make efforts to report any efforts one parent makes to disrupt the child’s relationship with the other parent.  

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March 31, 2005: Appellate Division, First Department of the Supreme Court of New York State reversed Judge Goldberg's decision to give custody of twin girls to their non-custodial father: Appellate division held: that child custody disputes much be determined on a case-by case basis

No pro-forma rule that requires transfer of custody from one parent to another when it is established that one parent has caused child to form a negative opinion of the other parent and thereby affected negative behaviors in the child.  Objective being that the children enjoyed a loving relationship with their father despite mothers alleged alienating behavior.

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2004 More to follow...

2004: Article Drozd and Olesen suggest using a decision making tree in assessing for PAS Tree is “ basis for evaluation protocol developed for using in evaluation with allegations of abuser or neglect and allegations of alienation.

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2004:   Conservatively, there are potentially 50,000 new PAS cases annually with half a million new children under age 18 experiencing or being at risk for PAS (Andre, 2004). Interventions lacking despite the large number of divorce program interventions available in the literature, few are PAS specific. The number of intervention programs tripled between 1994 and 1999 (Arbuthnot, 2002), suggesting rapidly growing interest in PAS. Parent Alienation Syndrome: Its Time has come by Dr. Andre.

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2004: Kraizer (2004) writes, “Evidence is mounting that child mistreatment is the precursor to many of the major social problems in this culture.”

2004:   Gardners theory discussed by Wood.

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2003 More to follow...

2003: Worshak PAS gives the court he impression that rigorous empirical research has been done giving the impression  of scientific support Richard Bond articles quotes.

2003 – Dr. Joan B. Kelly pointed out that conflict is not always perpetrated or maintained by both parents.  Conundrums exist when the parent caring for the child a majority of time is also the one to unreasonably reject or block the meaningful participation of the other parent.  Severe borderline pathology and/or rage associated with the separation often underlie the unreasonable behavior and accompanying conflict. (201)

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2002   More to follow...

2002: Cartwright stated there were “133 peer reviewed articles, and 66 legal citations from courts of law” recognizing PAS. Articles continue to be added to the professional literature; there may already be a comprehensive database from which to answer a DSM‐V workgroup’s questions. Parent Alienation Syndrome: Its Time has come by Dr. Andre.

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2001   More to follow...

2001: Kelly and Johnston renaming behavior as child alienation placing attention on the “ways in which children can be adversely affected by parental behavior.

2001 – Dr. Joan B. Kelly and Dr. Janet R. Johnston also introduce the concept of estrangement in their article titled, “The Alienated Child.  A Reformulation of Parental Alienation Syndrome”.  They described Children who are realistically estranged from one of their parents, as a consequence of that parent’s history of family violence, abuse, or neglect need to be clearly distinguished from alienated children.  (Some helping professionals use the term “estrangement”, as defined in the dictionary: Estrange implies the development of indifference or hostility with consequent separation or divorcement), whereas others use the term to differentiate between the children who irrationally reject a parent, alienated children.)   (201)

2001 – Dr. Joan B. Kelly and Dr. Janet R. Johnston produced a seminal article titled, “THE ALIENATED CHILD: A Reformulation of Parental Alienation Syndrome”.  They defined an alienated child as one who expresses freely and persistently unreasonable negative feelings and beliefs (such as anger, hatred, rejection, and/or fear) toward a parent that are significantly disproportionate to the child’s actual experience with that parent.  They noted in contrast to Dr. Gardner, who believed one parent was the primary cause of a child rejecting a parent, that there are multiple reasons that children resist visitation.  Kelly and Johnston described that only in very specific circumstances does this behavior qualify as alienation.  Their message was that alienation is often not the “fault” of only one parent. (201)

2001 – Dr. Richard Gardner described Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) as a disorder that arises primarily in the context of child-custody disputes. Its primary manifestation is the child’s campaign of denigration against a parent, a campaign that has no justification. It results from the combination of programming (brainwashing), parent’s indoctrinations, and the child’s own contributions to the vilification of the target parent. When true parental abuse and/or neglect is present, the child’s animosity may be justified, and so the Parental Alienation Syndrome explanation for the child’s hostility is not applicable. Different than many clinicians, he described that the programming parent is primarily responsible for the creation of the disorder in the child, and if the programming did not take place, the disorder would not have arisen. (201)

2001 – Dr. Richard Warshak described three components that must be present for parental alienation:

~A persistent, not occasional, rejection or denigration of a parent that reaches the level of a “relentless campaign”.

~An unjustified, or irrational rejection by the child, and rejection by the child.

~Rejection by a child that is least a partial result of the alienating parent’s influence.

2001 – Dr. Stanley S. Clawar and Dr. Brynne V. Rivlin noted the process of parental alienation as “programming” and “brainwashing.”  They described programing as a belief system designed to damage the child’s image of the target parent in terms of his or her moral, physical, intellectual, social, emotional, and educational qualifies.  Whereas they described brainwashing to mean the application of specific techniques to control and change the child’s thoughts and perceptions. (201)

2000

2000 – A researcher, Dr. Joan B. Kelly described “It is the embattled parent, often the one who opposes the divorce in the first place, who initiates and fuels the alignment.“

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1999     More to follow...

1999: Bone and Walsh state PAS childrens’ lies are “survival strategies that they are forced to learn to …avoid emotional attacks from the alienating parent.” Parent Alienation Syndrome: Its Time has come by Dr. Andre

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1999: Bone and Walsh (1999) state “healthy and established parental relationships do not erode naturally of their own accord. They must be attacked.” It is emotional abuse when an alienating parent attacks the other parent‐child.

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1998   More to follow...

1998: Darnell  1999 BOW used Gardner’s ideas reference the concept as PA-avoiding” the term syndrome

 PA focuses on the parents behavior

 PAS focus on the child behavior BOW

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1998    Cartwright  stated, “PAS is a serious form of child abuse.” When an alienator isolates a child from another parent through programming techniques and control, harm and symptoms of mental illness result. Emotional abuse results when an alienator controls a child’s beliefs through rejection and fear. Parent Alienation Syndrome: Its time has come by Dr. Andre.

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1997  More to follow...

1997: AACAP published Practice Parameters for Child Custody Evaluations using the term PA.  This publication references hostility of a child toward one parent and negative feelings a child may develop toward one parent that is fostered by the parent and the problems that may ensue with the rejected parent   

§  draft 6 specifically indicates parental alienation and is included in AACAP  1 of 17 issues.

1997 – Dr. Douglas Darnall differentiated Parental Alienation from Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS).  He described Parental Alienation, rather than PAS, as any constellation of behaviors, whether conscious or unconscious, that could evoke a disturbance in the relationship between a child and the other parent.  You can't assume that the targeted parent is without fault.  (201)

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1994   More to follow...

1994:   Guidelines for Child Custody Evaluations in Divorce Proceedings, published by APA , does not use the term pa however, does reference the need to evaluate the parent child interaction.   Not mandatory .  Used as a guide in creating proficiency in child custody evaluations  

 

1994:   PAS "the criteria Dr. Garner uses to determine whether PAS is present are essentially borrowed from and built upon his earlier – and now widely discredited – objective test for determining whether children were fabricating allegations of sexual abuse, the "Sex Abuse Legitimacy Scale" (SALS).

1994: Dunne and Hedrick in their research found that Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) "appeared to be primarily a function of the pathology of the alienating parent and that parent's relationship with the children. PAS did not signify dysfunction in the alienated parent or in the relationship between that parent and child." This study supports Gardner's definition of Parental Alienation Syndrome as a pathological reaction to a parent, and not a conflict arising out the real relationship with real abuse.

1993

Kelly's (1993) longitudinal research of child's post-divorce adjustment found that the majority of children adjust to divorce, and older children express relief. Most symptoms last 6 months to 2 years post separation, and usually only involve adjustment disorders. (I discuss this further in chapter 11 Children of Divorce.)

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1992   More to follow...

1992:  Gardner claimed PAS resulted from programming or brainwashing of the held by one parent against the other parent and the child’s vilification of the denigration against the target parent to be inconsistent.    

1992:  Wisconsin Court of Appeals held that there “was "limited research data" to support, as "a successful cure" for children suffering from PAS, the removal of such children from their mother’s custody in affirming the trial court’s refusal to transfer custody to the father”.  This is in response to expert testimony by a psychologist who asserted that the situation in question was the" worst case of PAS he had ever seen".   (Weiderholt v. Fischer, 485 N.W. 2nd 442, 444, Wis. Ct. App. 1992).

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1991  More to follow...   

1991:  Claware and Rivlin’s (1991) research indicates even mild PAS cases need intervention and “have significant effects.” Traditional talk psychotherapies are ineffective in severe cases, which require deprogramming therapies for successful intervention. Parent Alienation Syndrome: Its Time has come by Dr. Andre

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1991:  Missouri Court of Appeals acknowledges the wrong doing of affection of a minor or adult child of alienation.  However, ruling stated that while the mother has has a moral obligation to not alienate the children’s affections of the father, there is no a legal duty to do so.  (R.J. v. S.L.J., 801 S.W.2nd 608, 609, Mo. Ct. App. 1991)

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1991:    Clawar and Rivlin’s (1991) research indicates alienators use persuasive techniques and brainwashing tools to isolate children from other family members.  Alienators promote denial of the child’s other parent by deliberately refusing to acknowledge the other parent at social events or in the child’s presence. Alienators also rewrite history, causing the child to doubt his/her perception of reality, making the child more vulnerable to the alienator’s distortions. Parent Alienation Syndrome: Its Time has come by Dr. Andre.

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1990    More to follow...

1990: Kraizer (2004) writes, “Evidence is mounting that child mistreatment is the precursor to many of the major social problems in this culture.” The U.S. Advisory Board (1990) suggests our society’s survival depends on protecting children from harm. Parent Alienation Syndrome: Its Time has come by Dr. Andre

1990: The Minnesota Supreme Court, in Larson v. Dunn, 460 N.W. 2nd 39, 45-46 Minn. 1990, rejected an appellate court’s creation of the "Intentional interference with custody rights" noting that "children can be devastated by divorce" and that "the law should not provide a means of escalating intrafamily warfare" but that other remedies exist when a parent or other relative interferes with custody arrangements, and that "creating a tort of this nature is the job of the legislature, not the court". Larson v. Dunn, 460 N.W. 2nd 39, 45-46 Minn. 1990REF 555.

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1989   More to follow...

1989:  Wallerstein and Blakeslee referred to court ordered visitation and parental rage. Did not use “ term " PA but they vividly related how court-ordered visitation can “be entangles with Medea-like rage:  sites example page Bernet article.  In summary, the article, referenced is made to a parent who may not be able to prevent a visit and they can plant seeds of doubt and punish the other parent through the child.   

1989:   Wallerstein's (1989) 10-year longitudinal study of girls from divorced families found that, the nature of the mother-daughter relationship, and the daughter's identification with her mother were predictive of the daughters' ability to have healthy relationships with men later on. Daughters who identified with hostile mothers had the poorest adjustment.

 

1989:  Wallerstein and Blakeslee reference visitation and parental rage indicating a parent may plant the seed of doubt and punish the other parent through the child in other ways (Bernet, 2008). 

 

1989:  Florida courts note there is “no claim of general professional acceptance of PAS as a tool for diagnostic evaluation, and in fact that there is no consensus by experts that such a syndrome even exists.”  T.M.W., 553 So. 2nd 260, 262, Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1989  OAS FRYE VS GARDBER REF 555.

1988

1988 – A book was published called, “The Psychologically Battered Child”.  While the term Parental Alienation was not explicitly named, concepts such “marital discord” and “family breakdown” were discussed. (201)

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1987   More to follow...

1987: Gardner develops Sexual Abuse Legitimacy Scale (SALS)

 NOTE: disputes against the SALS

"Probably the most unscientific piece of garbage I’ve seen in the field in all my time.  To base social policy on something as flimsy as this is exceedlingly dangerous.  REF   (Professor Jon Conte, a leading expert on child sexual abuse.  Bruch, supra at 539 n. 46 citing Debra Cassens Moss, Abuse Scall, 74 A.B.A, J., Dec 1, 1998 at 26 quoting expert Jone Conte criticizing SALS. 

SALS, can be cross-examined effectively by referent to Gardners' admissions and caveats.  Scale cover page includes ‘WARNING: In order to be used in meaningful way, this instrument must be used in association with the information provided in this book chapters 3,4,5,  This book explains how to best to evaluate and score each of the items int the scale  Failure to sue these guidelines may result in misleading or erroneous conclusions.”  BOOK One hundred one plus practical solutions for the Family lawyer  Ann M. Haralambie

Scale has not been standardized validated or accept in in a peer-reviewed journal.

1987: Gardner stated, "Although the mothers in these situations may have a variety of motivations for programming their children against their fathers, the most common one relates to the old saying, 'Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.' ... Because these mothers are separated, and cannot retaliate directly at their husbands, they wreak vengeance by attempting to deprive their former spouses of their most treasured possessions, the children. And the brainwashing program is an attempt to achieve this goal" (p.87). 

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1985     More to follow...

1985: Gardner introduced term parental alienation syndrome.

Dr. Richard Gardner first introduced a phenomenon found in family law cases called parent alienation syndrome. He pointed out that PA/PAS is related to highly litigious court cases where there is a win/lose mentality. Ultimately, a desperate and obsessed parent could win in court by programming a child to despise the other parent, resulting in a parentectomy, and there was little that anyone could do about it. Dr. Gardner took on this difficulty, and he wrote volumes about how to understand the complexities of these highly volatile cases. He was first to identify the eight characteristics that PAS children display as a syndrome. He published extensively on how to identify false allegations of sexual molestation. He also wrote the book Therapeutic Interventions for Children with Parental Alienation Syndrome to describe a protocol for deprogramming children. His contributions have been profound in helping us understand PA/PAS. He has written and testified extensively about false allegations of sexual abuse.

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1984   More to follow...

1984: Pennsylvania Superior Court held that a cause of action for alienation of a child’s affection is not recognized.    Quoted Tors para 699 “"one who, without more, alienates from its parents the affections of a child, whether a minor of full age, is not liable to the child’s parents".  (Bartanus v. Lis, 480 A.2nd 1178, 1181, Pa. Super. Ct. 1984).

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 1980   More to follow...

1980: concurrently and independently from Gardner Leona Kopetski pagen 

Independently from Gardner found 84 cases of 413 between 1976 and 1990 that included severe alienation and came to a similar conclusion as Gardner.  Additionally, a study conducted through the American Bar Association revealed how brainwashing and programming could lead to parental alienation.  Information was resulted from observing over 700 families between 1970- the late 1980’s.  

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1980:    Wallerstein and Kelly references a union between a parent and child in attempting to influence the child and turning the child against the other parent in which a close relationship existed before the separation. 

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1980:    Wallerstein and Kelly referred to an alliance between a narcissistically engraged parent and a particularly vulnerable older child or adolescent who were faithful and valuable battle allies in efforts to hurt and punish the other parent.  Not infrequently they turned on the parent they had loved and been very close to prior to the marital separation.

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1976   More to follow...

1976: Wallerstein and Kelly “indentified a clinical phenomenon termed pathological alignment” used to deceive a child living with one parent who irrationaling rejected the other parent and who refused to visit or have contact with that other parent. “attributed this behavior to the dynamics of the parent-child separation and later used the term :embittered-chaotic: parent” This created debate as the concept of alienating dynamics. 

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1952   More to follow...

1952:  Louise Despert’s book, Children of Divorce, published in 1952, referred to the pull of one parent “to break down” the child’s love for the other parent (Bernet, 2008). 

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1949   More to follow...

1949: Wilhelm Reich, in Character Analysis, published in 1949, referenced divorced parents who defend themselves in fighting for custody while denigrating the other parent.