"Parental Fitness”

Mental health patients are guinea pigs when they are prescribed an array of psychotropic medications and subjected to a host of invasive procedures, such as ECT. At least Dr. Minuchin’s assessment for the cause of mental disorders offers optimism while remedy is benign and unintrusive: if you discard unhealthy relationships and situations, you will be symptom-free. A symptom free life is therefore possible without being subjected to invasive medications and procedures. Dr. Minuchin has recognized that he is a salmon swimming upstream when he articulates this; but think about it: if his analysis was to become the norm, then 90% of the psychiatric community would need to become educated about relationship therapy. And it would also be more costly for the health insurance industry, which would then have to incur the expenses of reimbursing for more protracted relationship therapy instead of for the quick fixes of drug therapy. No wonder there is such resistance to accepting this not so novel assessment of mental health diagnosis----in spite of 60+ years of empirical evidence and scientific support for this perspective.

If You Seek a Bio-Chemical Cause for Mental Health Disorders, you will become the “Little Train that Couldn’t”

By Linda J. Gottlieb, LMFT, LCSW-rMy opinion on the origin of mental illness is controversial to many in my profession. I maintain that emotional disturbances are situationally and not bio-chemically caused. But this position did not originate with me. It originated with my mentor, Salvador Minuchin, the world-renowned, highly respected child psychiatrist. 

Dr. Minuchin (as with his contemporaneous psychiatrists who founded the family therapy movement, such as Murray Bowen, Don Jackson, Jay Haley, Carl Whitaker, Nathan Ackerman, John Weakland, et al.) does not accept an intra-psychic or biochemical cause of mental disorders. Resulting from 65 years of practice, Dr. Minuchin affirms that traumatic situations; unhealthy relationships; and dysfunctional family dynamics, such as the PAS, cause mental health disorders. Diagnosis of mental health is not a science! There is no empirical evidence for any mental health disorder. You cannot inject the brain, withdraw serum, and have it analyzed. Any psychiatrist or mental health diagnostician worth his/her salt (and even those who are not worth their salt) must acknowledge that diagnosis of emotional disorders is based merely upon “impressions.”

Mental health patients are guinea pigs when they are prescribed an array of psychotropic medications and subjected to a host of invasive procedures, such as ECT. At least Dr. Minuchin’s assessment for the cause of mental disorders offers optimism while remedy is benign and unintrusive: if you discard unhealthy relationships and situations, you will be symptom-free. A symptom free life is therefore possible without being subjected to invasive medications and procedures. Dr. Minuchin has recognized that he is a salmon swimming upstream when he articulates this; but think about it: if his analysis was to become the norm, then 90% of the psychiatric community would need to become educated about relationship therapy. And it would also be more costly for the health insurance industry, which would then have to incur the expenses of reimbursing for more protracted relationship therapy instead of for the quick fixes of drug therapy. No wonder there is such resistance to accepting this not so novel assessment of mental health diagnosis----in spite of 60+ years of empirical evidence and scientific support for this perspective.

Although this may come as a shock to many readers, our current state of psychiatric diagnosis is NOT science.

If it were, then psychotropic medications would not need to be persistently adjusted up or down in dosage, completely changed, and/or supplemented with other medications. The simple explanation for why medications so frequently fail to achieve a reduction in symptoms is because symptoms do not result from a chemical imbalance. Just compare the administration of medications for medical disorders: when, for example, an antibiotic is given for an infection, it is highly probable to be effective in resolving the symptoms. And if Dr. Minuchin was to be asked, he would likely explain that it is a patient’s history of having taken psychotropic medications that subsequently caused her/his chemical imbalance: in essence, such medications had upset a NORMAL chemical balance. Do not take my word for it: read the many books by Dr. Minuchin and the previously referred- to psychiatrists----all of whose writings are listed in the reference at the conclusion of this article.

Dr. Minuchin’s opinion is supported by the recent research of Dr. Irving Kirsch, psychologist at Harvard University, who discovered that a placebo was equally as effective as were antidepressants in treating mild to moderately depressed patients. It was only the small percentage of highly depressed patients who responded better to antidepressants.

I have found that Dr. Minuchin’s wisdom applies to the patients whom I treated for more than 40 years. I would be happy to debate this not so novel perspective with any therapist who perceives things differently. Indeed, a 5/12 article in Scientific American exposed the inconsistency and inaccuracy that occurs in mental health diagnosis, especially when it relates to depression and anxiety. This article pointed out that depression and anxiety only reached the threshold of the “could be accepted” standard for a diagnosis to be accepted into the DSM----this being the bare minimum for acceptance. Think about that: we are medicating half the world with medications with serious side effects on the minimally accepted standard of “could be accepted.” Would anyone consider having an operation if the doctor stated that the diagnosis upon which the operation was based reached only a reliability level of “could be accepted?”

If the diagnosis of anxiety and depression is so imprecise, why should one believe that any other diagnosis in the DSM is reliable---such as that of ADD and ADHD? There is unequivocally no reason to believe this.

In my 2012 book, The Parental Alienation Syndrome: A Family Therapy and Collaborative Systems Approach to Amelioration, I documented a number of children who were placed on psychotropic medications for alleged ADHD and/or for bipolar disorder but whose symptoms completely mitigated when the PAS was reversed and eliminated. Amazing! There is---all too frequently---a rush to judgment when diagnosing children. Who can dispute the immense influence of parents on children and the depth that parental conflict adversely affects children? The unforgiveable failure of the psychiatric community is that input from both parents is generally not sought, thus resulting in that dysfunctional family dynamics cannot be ruled out as being the cause of the child’s symptoms. When, for example, parents are pulling in opposite directions or when one parent requests the child's allegiance in that parent’s battle with the other parent, the child will undoubtedly exhibit irritability, anxiety, depression, impulsivity, inattention, and a myriad of other symptoms. The child is like a rope and a tug war between her/his parents, and just like the rope, the child will unravel.

I wrote about a sibling group of 3 children ranging in age from 10-15, all of whom were diagnosed with ADHD and bi-polar disorder. They were living with their narcissistic mother who repeatedly cursed them and deprecated their father. Without seeking any input from the father or assessing the dysfunctional family dynamics, the psychiatrist placed each child on a strong regime of the most potent psychotropic medications. I was no surprise to me that there was no mitigation of any of the symptoms. The children were subsequently transferred to the custody of their father, and he took them off all the medications. All three children were soon functioning within normal limits emotionally, cognitively and behaviorally.

In the case of a 6-year-old boy living with his grandmother, he became hysterical in school and ran out of the front door after his hamster had died earlier that day. There were no prior emotional or behavioral disturbances in the boy. Nevertheless, the school insisted that the grandmother take the boy for an immediate psychiatric evaluation lest a report to CPS would be filed. The psychiatrist who evaluated the boy failed to become curious about why he was living with grandma. Had the psychiatrist been curious, he would have discovered that the boy had previously witnessed his stepfather physically abusing his mother on a regular basis. Diagnosed by this psychiatrist with bi-polar disorder at the tender age of 6, the boy was clearly situationally and not bio-chemically depressed. It was apparent to this family therapist that the root of the boy’s depression arose out of the combined losses of a protected home life with his mother prior to her marriage to the step-father and then having been removed from her altogether and that these loses were stimulated by the death of his hamster.

In a case of an 8 year old boy, the school requested that he obtain a psychiatric evaluation for depression, and the psychiatrist predictably recommended anti-depressants upon only a 15 minute discussion (I will not even call it an evaluation.) Fortunately, the parents rejected the “prescription,” and sought out family therapy with me. I was so promptly struck by the father’s affect, which unmistakably conveyed his depression, that I intuitively asked him, "When was the last time your wife made you smile?" His young, allegedly chemically depressed son summarily bellowed, "Never!" The parents glared at the boy in amazement, and the mother then exclaimed, "I knew that we were the problem. My husband and I should have been in this office a long time ago." It could not be more evident how the boy’s depression did not originate in a bio-chemical disorder but was, instead, symbolic of his father's situational depression resulting from an unfulfilling and emotionally detached marriage.

I can cite multiple more, horrific misdiagnoses of young children for ADD/ADHD and for the more serious bi-polar disorder---all because the family situation was not assessed for its impact on the child. It is no accident that ADD/ADHD is the most misdiagnosed disorder of childhood. And it is rapidly and incredibly being replaced by the diagnosis du jour---that of bi-polar disorder. Given that mental health disorders are merely impressions, it is incumbent upon the diagnostician to properly assess for family dysfunction and influence on the child before rushing to prescribe psychotropic medications, which all have serious long-term side effects.

Ackerman, N. W. (1958). The psychodynamics of family life. New York, NY: Basic
Ackerman, N. W. (1961). The emergence of family psychotherapy on the present scene.
In M. I. Stein, (Ed.), Contemporary psychotherapies. Glencoe, IL: Free Press.
Ackerman, N. W., & Franklin, P. (1965). Family dynamics and the reversibility of
delusional formation: A case study in family therapy. In I. Boszormenyi-Nagy & J.
Famo (Eds.), Intensive family therapy (Ch. 6.), New York, NY: Harper and Row.
Ackerman, N. W. (1966). Treating the troubled family. New York, NY: Basic Books.
Bowen, M. (1978). Family therapy in clinical practice. New York, NY: Jason Aronson.
Haley, J. (1963). Strategies of psychotherapy. (1st ed.) New York, NY: Grune & Stratton.
Haley, J., & Hoffman, L. (Eds.). (1968). Techniques of family therapy. New York, NY:
Basic Books.
Haley, J. (1971). Changing families. New York, New York: Grune & Stratton.
Haley, J. (1973). Uncommon therapy. New York, NY: Norton.
Haley, J. (1977). Toward a theory of pathological systems. In P. Watzlawick & J.
Weakland (Eds.), The interactional view (pp. 37-44). New York, NY: Basic Books.
Haley, J. (1990). Strategies of Psychotherapy, Rockville, MD: The Triangle Press.
Minuchin, S. (1974). Families and family therapy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University
Minuchin, S., with Baker, L., & Rosman, B. (1978). Psychosomatic families: Anorexia
nervosa in context. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Minuchin, S., with Fishman, C. (1981). Family therapy techniques. Cambridge, MA:
Harvard University Press.
Minuchin, S., with Nichols, M. (1993). Family healing. New York, NY: The Free Press.
Minuchin, S., with Lee, W., & Simon, G. (1996). Mastering family therapy. New York,
NY: John Wiley & Sons.
Minuchin, S., Nichols, M., & Lee, W. (2007). Assessing families and couples: From
symptom to system. New York, NY: Pearson.
Napier, A., & Whitaker, C. (1978). The family crucible: The intense experience of family
therapy. New York, NY: Harper Perennial.
Whitaker, C. (1983). In M. Andolfi, C. Angelo, P. Menghi, & A. Nicolo-Corigliano.
Behind the family mask (p. vi). New York, NY: Brunner/Mazel.
Whitaker, C., & Bumberry, W. (1988). Dancing with the family: A symbolic-experiential
approach. New York, NY: Brunner/Mazel.

Linda Gottlieb, LMFT, LCSW-r, interviewed by Mary Mucci on News 12 Long Island about Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS)

Dear Lawyer for the Child:

Without an authorization to release protected health information on a specific case, I am providing my professional insights regarding children caught in conflict between their parents. Specifically, I am providing generic information about situations when there is an estrangement between a parent and child as a result of a highly conflictual parental relationship.

Let me begin by stating that a Marriage and Family Therapist is a specialist in healthy and unhealthy family dynamics and is a specialist in treatment interventions for dysfunctional family relationships. No other mental health discipline, not even psychiatry, has had training in family dynamics and family therapy, which is a specialty within the field of mental health treatment, just as any specialist in medical care has had specialized training for their specific scope of practice. Family therapy is as different from every other form of therapy as matrimonial law is different from international law or tax law or any other law. When there is a conflictual relationship between a child and parent, individual therapy will be unable to solve that problem. Family therapy, with a therapist trained in family dynamics, therefore, must be the treatment modality of choice in addressing problematical relationships within the family if effectiveness in results is desired. This is particularly relevant to the parent/child relationship given the significance of a parent to the child.

In evaluating the consideration that should be granted to a child’s wishes and opinions in determining the nature of the relationship to have the noncustodial parent, I wish to stress that doing so does not serve the child's best interests.

Firstly, in cases that reach the point of an adversarial court proceeding, it is impossible to separate the child's wishes from the influence of the residential parent. In a high conflict parental relationship, we can expect that the child will merely mimic the thoughts, feelings, and wishes of the custodial parent. Such information has been repeatedly written about by Christopher Barden, psychologist as well as graduate with honors from Harvard Law School. Barden, Ph.D., J.D., states, “There can be no credible controversy about the power of parents to influence children.” This has been my experience as well in my work with more than 400 children of high conflict divorce, 56 of whom I wrote about in my book, The Parental Alienation Syndrome: A Family Therapy and Collaborative Systems Approach to Amelioration. Additionally, when dealing with children under the age of 18, and particularly with children 12 and younger, their cognitive development has not yet entered the stage of operational or abstract thinking.

They think very concretely, as per Piaget, Ph.D., the research psychologist who is credited with writing the “Bible” on the epistemological development of children. Even for children in early teens and later, according to Piaget, their cognitive development has only just begun to develop the facility for abstract thinking. Lacking the facility for abstract thinking, children cannot accurately evaluate what would be in their best interests or theorize what it would be like to have a parent eradicated or marginalized from their lives. There is rational that no one under the age of 18 is permitted to sit on a jury. 

Secondly, I am always suspicious when a child expresses enmity for and rejection of a parent. It is simply anti-instinctual to feel this way about a parent. Aside from my training and education in child development, my professional opinion regarding this is buttressed by my 24 years of work with thousands of abused and/or neglected children in foster care. Not one had ever expressed enmity for or refusal to visit with their biological parents. Although, indeed, some were afraid to be alone with severely abusive parents, these children still craved contact via supervised visits. My professional experience working with this population has led me to fully agree with the words, “You have to be carefully taught to hate and fear.” And I would add the caveat “especially a parent.”

I have further discovered from my work with children of high conflict divorce that they will flip as quickly as a light switch from aversion to their noncustodial parent to enthusiastic embracing as soon as their custodial parent gives them permission to do so. This is why the most effective form of therapy is co-parent counseling with an emphasis on helping the custodial parent free the child from the conflict of dual loyalties. The child is thusly relieved to accept their normal predisposition to love and accept the formerly rejected parent.

Thirdly, all the recent research indicates that children who have a parent either absent from lives or only marginally involved develop very poor outcomes. And I suggest referring to the book, Fatherneed, by child psychiatrist, Kyle Pruitt, in which he summarizes the alarming research by Yale University when a father is only minimally involved in his children's lives or were completely eradicated from his children's lives. Pruitt conveys that when fathers are absent, boys have a significantly high vulnerability to acting out behaviors, dropping out of school, suicidal ideation and other serious mental disorders, engaging in sexually inappropriate activities, and other serious issues. (I am unequivocal----as are my PAS-aware colleagues----that the same findings would apply to the eradication of a mother from a child’s life. We are already beginning to develop this research about mothers now that more fathers are receiving residential custody.) And the research that supported Arizona’s recently enacted shared parenting law validates that children of divorce have the best outcomes when there is shared parenting, with physical custody as close as possible to 50/50. (Finley; McIntosh & Chisholm; Tippins & Wittmann; Michael Lamb; Braver, Fabricus & Ellman; Fabricus & Luecken; Schwartz & Finley; Fabricus & Hall; Finley & Schwartz)

Fourthly, we need to consider how unhealthy it is for a child to linger with unresolved anger for a parent. Time and again children are sent by the schools to therapy to resolve anger management issues; parents voluntarily bring their child to therapy when anger is inappropriately handled; and judges repeatedly order that juvenile offenders obtain help to mitigate their anger. So why would we permit a child to remain angry with a parent---who is so meaningful to the child? In my professional opinion, we will be waiting for the smoking gun if we allow a child to remain with unresolved anger and hostility for a parent. And the anger can be resolved only with meaningful, intensive, and corrective interactions with that parent, including family therapy.

Fifthly, at some point in the child's life he will recognize that he has rejected a parent when he rebuffed that parent’s efforts to reenter his life. The outcome of this leaves the child with tremendous guilt that generally leads to depression and diminished self-esteem. If that parent is no longer around or has passed away, then there is absolutely no opportunity for the child’s atonement. And many of these children also come to recognize the actions by their custodial parent to have been selfish. This recognition often leads the child to reject the custodial parent later in life---not a healthy outcome either.

The child of a high conflict parental relationship frequently feels like a rope in a tug of war between his parents. Asking the child to decide about her/his relationship with the non-custodial parent exacerbates this impossible and detrimental situation and leaves her/him with no good options: it is a double-bind situation in which she/ he cannot have both parents because she/he knows that seeking a relationship with the non-custodial parent will be perceived as an act of betrayal by the custodial parent. When this dynamic had been first observed by the child psychiatrists who later founded the family therapy movement, they documented it on the psychiatric ward when observing their psychotic child patients when an interaction with their families. In the extreme situation, this family dynamic, labeled by these psychiatrists as the “pathological triangle,” as per Murray Bowen, does indeed lead to serious mental disorders in the child. I have seen the serious detrimental effects to children in my own practice as a result of the triangulation. Unfortunately, due to the influences that technology has now afforded the younger population, I am seeing socio-pathology instead of psychosis in this population. We have an obligation to help these children resolve their anger by working it through with both of their parents.

In my professional opinion, the child of high parental conflict needs to be extricated from this triangulation, which is exacerbated by the burden to decide about what relationship to have or not with the noncustodial parent. The professionals who intervene in child custody and visitation must make these decisions for them. This is the responsibility with which we are charged as professionals who intervene in child custody and visitation: protecting children from their own detrimental decisions and facilitating their best interests.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

Respectfully submitted,

Linda Gottlieb, LMFT, LCSW-r

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Congressional Testimony: Linda Gottlieb to Bill Windsor of Lawless America. This is unedited…


AS A FEMINIST, AN EQUALIST, AND A MEMBER OF NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN, I am disgusted by NOW”s tactics to spread propaganda about Parental Alienation. They have blatantly and conveniently ignored the many women who have sought help through them as they experience PAS, and National Organization of Women continues to spread lies to their base.

If I was not aware of Parental Alienation I would have blindly accepted their false statements as truth. Let the truth be told and allow feminists to think for themselves and not follow like sheep. To my fellow feminists out there: I urge to you be objective.

Parental Alienation is Gender Neutral and affects Mothers, Fathers, and Children, and countless families and friends!

1) FALSE STATEMENT: Proponents of PAS, predominantly right-wing “fathers’ rights” groups, have been trying for years to force legitimacy upon this unfounded theory
TRUTH*** Women’s Groups and Father’s Groups are working towards the inclusion of Parental Alienation. It is gender-neutral.
2) FALSE STATEMENT: PAS is a tactical ploy used by attorneys whose clients (primarily fathers) are seeking custody of their children.
TRUTH*** Although PAS could, at any time, be used as a ploy by either parent. However, if Judges, Parental Coordinators, and Guardian Ad Litems, etc., are educated about Parental Alienation then this won’t be a concern (or at least any more of a concern than any other false accusation that either parent could make. By remaining ignorant to the issues that both Mothers and Fathers face, the court system is failing families. Gardner outlined the 8 manifestations of Parental Alienation, and many other researchers have backed up his theory. In cases of actual abuse, Parental Alienation can not be considered a factor!
3) FALSE STATEMENT: A protective parent who accuses her/his ex-spouse of harming their child(ren) is deemed mentally ill — solely by virtue of the accusation.
TRUTH*** Parental Alienation Syndrome, or Parental Alienation Disorder in no way suggests that the parent who accuses his/her ex-spouse of harming the children is deemed mentally ill-solely by virtue of the accusation. NOW would like you to believe this, but it is outright false. Parental Alienation is the act of the parent alienating the child, however PAS/PAS describes when the child has succumbed to the effects of Parental Alienation.
4) FALSE STATEMENT: Ludicrously, the PAS theory holds that the protective parent and child can only be “cured” of their “disease” by being totally separated.
TRUTH*** Again, NOW would like to have you believe this is the truth. The goal is to recognize that children need to have a relationship with both parents. CHILDREN NEED BOTH PARENTS.
5) FALSE STATEMENT: …Children may go through a phase of “splitting” their parents, lavishing love on one and anger toward the other. Responsible research has shown these phases to be temporary.
TRUTH*** In normal divorces, children may go through a temporary phase of uncertainty, however in cases where Parental Alienation exists the children’s alienation could potentially be lifelong. I’ve heard parents tell me their children were alienated anywhere from 5-45+ years.
6) FALSE STATEMENT: No valid, empirical evidence exists for such a mental disorder (PAS)
TRUTH*** As stated by Linda J. Gottlieb, LMFT: “IT IS JUNK SCIENCE TO STATE THAT THE PAS IS JUNK SCIENCE! To cite a mere few references which reject the PAS is to overlook the preponderance of scientific support and evidence from the practices world-wide of mental health and matrimonial practitioners. The support for the PAS is well-documented by (Baker, 2007; Barden, 2006; Gottlieb, 2012; Kopetski, 2006; Lorandos, 2006; Lowenstein, 2006; Sauber, 2006; Steinberger, 2006; Warshak, 2001, 2006, 2010; just to cite a fraction.)”
Read the entire article by the NOW Foundation below:
Mothers, Children at Risk as Fathers’ Rights Groups Seek Legitimacy for Phony Mental “Disorder”
June 11, 2012
For decades now, many women involved in child custody battles have been victimized in court by the use of a phony syndrome labeled “parental alienation syndrome (PAS)” or “parental alienation disorder (PAD).” Proponents of PAS, predominantly right-wing “fathers’ rights” groups, have been trying for years to force legitimacy upon this unfounded theory by pushing for its inclusion in a reference volume used widely in the mental health field. As the deadline approaches for comments on revisions to the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), it now appears tat the American Psychiatric Association (APA) may bow to political pressure and include PAS/PAD, but under another name.
PAS is a tactical ploy used by attorneys whose clients (primarily fathers) are seeking custody of their children. Often these fathers face allegations of domestic violence and/or sexual abuse of their children, and their use of PAS is an extension of years of controlling behavior. It works like this: A protective parent who accuses her/his ex-spouse of harming their child(ren) is deemed mentally ill — solely by virtue of the accusation. If the child fears the accused parent, the child is said to also suffer the same mental illness of PAS. Ludicrously, the PAS theory holds that the protective parent and child can only be “cured” of their “disease” by being totally separated, with the child placed in the exclusive custody of the feared parent. Only in centuries past could this be thought to improve the mental health of protective parents or their children.
It is true that high-conflict divorce and child custody cases can engender intense emotional responses. Many divorcing couples go through a phase of feeling deeply wronged and completely innocent, and they want everyone they know — including their child(ren) — to choose their side. For their part, children may go through a phase of “splitting” their parents, lavishing love on one and anger toward the other. Responsible research has shown these phases to be temporary. Describing such behavior as a mental disorder is unjustified.
NOW chapters across the country have heard from hundreds of women who have been harmed by PAS accusations in custody cases. Many mothers have lost custody of their children to abusive ex-spouses due to PAS. The APA should not legitimize this theory, which is not used to improve mental health outcomes but merely to discount a child’s fear of a hostile or abusive parent, discredit and legally punish the protective parent, cover up abuse and other bad behavior, escape child support payments, and “win” possession of the child.
Even though APA reviewers have indicated that they will not be adopting the terms PAS or PAD, women’s rights advocates believe they may give credibility to this supposed disorder in another way. Dr. Darrel A. Regier of the DSM-5 Task Force informed NOW Foundation recently that the current recommendation is to have a “Parent-Child Problem designation.” Regier did not clarify whether this meant that PAS/PAD could be included under a different name within the “Parent-Child Problem” category. Until this is spelled out, the possibility remains that this discredited syndrome will be legitimized through its inclusion in the DSM-5. Regier declined to share further information or draft language for the “Parent-Child Problem” section. The controversial and highly politicized nature of PAS seems to have resulted in a lack of transparency in the process. It is also worth noting that the DSM has been criticized previously for including mental disorders for which there is insufficient or biased evidence.
Inclusion in the DSM-5 of any designation similar to PAS will invite judges and other court personnel — who may not understand that no valid, empirical evidence exists for such a mental disorder — to dismiss women’s claims of abuse at the hands of their spouses. Children of a violent or sexually abusive parent could be placed at further risk.
NOW Foundation opposes the inclusion of the so-called PAS/PAD in the DSM-5 under any name or category. The American Psychiatric Association is soliciting final comments on the revisions to the DSM-5 by June 15. We encourage you to send messages to the APA via their interactive website. Tell the APA that you oppose the inclusion of the so-called parental alienation syndrome in DSM-5 in ANY FORM. Please make sure to emphasize the fact that the American Bar Association has determined PAS to be inadmissible in court because it does not meet evidentiary standards. Accusations of PAS protect real abusers at the expense of women and children who have already been victimized.
NOW Foundation’s law intern contributed to this story.

More Information/Resources:
NOW Foundation Letter to the American Psychiatric Association opposing recognition in the DSM-V of the so-called Parental Alienation Disorder/Syndrome
“Parental Alienation Syndrome and Alienated Children — getting it wrong in child custody cases” – Carol S. Bruch, UC Davis School of Law
“A Historical Perspective on Parental Alienation Syndrome and Parental Alienation,” Joan Meier, 6 Journal of Child Custody 232-257 (2009)
“The Misuse of Parental Alienation Syndrome in Custody Suites,” Joan Meier, in The Family Context, p. 147-164 (volume 2 of Violence Against Women in Families and Relationships) Edited by Evan Stark and Eve S. Buzawa, Santa Barbara: Praeger/ABC-CLIO, 2009



December 4, 2012

Just a few minutes ago the United States Senate rejected ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities[NOTE: Our email erroneously named the Convention on the Rights of the Child rather than the CRPD.] The vote of 61 to 38 in favor of the treaty was short of the required two-thirds margin (66 in favor) necessary to ratify a treaty according to Article II of the U.S. Constitution.


Less than an hour before the vote, Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama testified thathis office has received more than 1,000 letters and emails in opposition to the treaty – and only 40 in favor. This shows an amazing outpouring from defenders of parental rights!

While we recognize that our success in Alabama is not indicative of the support level in every state, we would not have achieved this victorious outcome without the overwhelming support of concerned Americans just like you. Thank you so much for your calls, letters, and emails to oppose this ratification!

We also appreciate your patience with us as we have filled your inbox over the last two weeks during the height of this struggle. Now that the immediate danger has passed, we will continue to keep you updated on this and other dangers to parental rights through our weekly emails. You can also follow ongoing conversation or timely updates on our Facebook page or our website.

Finally, we are grateful to these brave senators who stood firm to protect parental rights and American self-government even in the face of a loud and emotional plea from those who favored the treaty.


Michael Ramey
Director of Communications & Research

P.S. - The roll call list is available online here.

November 27, 2012
Senate Vote This Week - Please Call Immediately!
Yesterday afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (NV) announced that the Senate will vote to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) this week. We need you to call your two senators immediately, and urge them to oppose the CRPD.

U.S ratification of the CRPD would subject our domestic law to United Nations standards and oversight, threatening parental rights and American self-government.

Thirty-six Senators have signed a letter stating that they “respectfully request that no treaties be brought to the Senate floor for advice and consent during the lame-duck session of the 112th Congress.” These Senators have promised in the letter that they “will oppose efforts to consider a treaty during this time.” Senator Reid has purposefully ignored this letter by promising to file cloture (so the filibuster cannot be used) and will make every attempt to proceed to the CRPD for ratification this week.

We are behind in this battle. Thirty-six is not enough to stop a cloture vote – that takes forty – and these thirty-six have not pledged to vote “No” on the treaty. They have only pledged to oppose its coming to the floor. If CRPD comes to the floor anyway, we have no guarantee that we have the votes to stop it.

We need you to call both of your U.S. Senators right now and ask them to oppose the CRPD. You can click on your state on our States page to find your Senators’ contact information, or use the Capitol Switchboard at  FREE 202-224-3121. (I apologize for the incorrect area code in yesterday’s email. This is the corrected number.)

Please give them some or all of this message:

“I urge you to oppose the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This treaty surrenders U.S. sovereignty to unelected UN bureaucrats and will threaten parental care of children with disabilities. Our nation already has laws to protect disabled Americans. This treaty is unnecessary and will hurt families. If the Senate ratifies this treaty, it would be the first time ever that the U.S. has ratified a treaty that obligates us to recognize economic, social, and cultural entitlements as rights under domestic law. The Senate should be more focused on avoiding the fiscal cliff than on ramming through a dangerous treaty that has not yet received the full study and legal review that it requires.”
Then, please forward this email to your friends and family and urge them to call, as well. Please also post this information on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.) to help get the word out to every parent and freedom loving person in America.

For more information on the dangers of this treaty please visit our CRPD page.

Thank you for standing with us for freedom.


Michael Ramey
Director of Communications & Research

P.S. – Our petition to oppose this ratification contained 10,195 names as of this morning. That’s more than 10,000 persons with disabilities or family members of persons with disabilities who oppose this treaty that is being rammed through in their name. We will deliver this information to the Senate this afternoon and hope they listen. Your immediate calls will help them hear us.
Parental Rights Amend. House Cosponsors
Includes HJRes110 lead sponsor, Rep. Trent Franks.
Latest added Oct. 25, 2012.
Parental Rights Amendment Senate Cosponsors
Includes SJRes42 lead sponsor, Sen. Jim DeMint.
Latest addition July 23, 2012.
Senators Opposing Treaty Ratification Vote
Senators who indicate they will oppose cloture.
Latest addition Sept. 21, 2012.
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This type of judicial abuse and misconduct by judges is normal everyday practice by family court judges. Palm Beach...
Posted by Cynthia Wheeler on Friday, August 28, 2015

Childrens Rights Florida shared a link.
Why the Adversarial Legal System is Wrong for Family LawVideo posted as a reason to Adopt Uniform Parenting Time GuidelinesCAUSES.COMChildrens Rights Florida via Children's RightsChildren's Rights @ Family Courthouse -Miami-Dade — at Lawson E. Thomas Courthouse.

Every Day - Every Weekend - Purple Keyboard CampaignPART 2 -- Fighting the disease, not treating the symptoms... NO...In the BEST...


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