FAQ about Pathogenic Parenting

False Claim: Pathogenic Parenting Requires Empirical Evidence.
The truth: "It has substantial empirical support in the established literature of professional psychology."  See the April 2016 Flying Monkey Newsletter. Pathogenic parenting is based on approximately 60 references to the standard literature of professional psychology.

False Claim: "The child has such a strongly bonded relationship with the allied narcissistic/borderline parent that separating the child from this parent would be psychologically harmful to the child".
 The truth: "it is necessary for health psychological development of the child ...  Pathogenic Parenting is a child protection issue, not a custody issue". The correct diagnosis is V995.51, Child Psychological Abuse. See the March 2016 issue of the Flying Monkey Newsletter

False Claim: "Pathogenic Parenting Must Be Peer Reviewed first".
The Truth:
a. As Dr. Childress describes in his blog,  "Peer review of journal articles is applicable to  research studies, not  diagnostic formulations.  Diagnosis  involves the application of standard and  accepted  psychological principles and  constructs,  that are  already fully  established through research, to a  particular symptom set and pathology. An attachment-based model for the pathology traditionally called “parental  alienation” (an attachment-related pathology), is not a new theory within mental health, it is the application of  standard and established psychological constructs to the  symptoms displayed by  the child.  This is called diagnosis. Furthermore, full  clinical formulations regarding pathology are not submitted for peer-reviewed journal publication because clinical formulations of pathology are typically too extensive to be captured in a 10-page journal article. Kohut presented object-relations formulations of clinical pathology in a book.  Minuchin presented family systems formulations of pathology in a book. Kernberg described personality disorder pathology in a book. Clinical theoretical formulations are presented in books, not journal articles, and books are not peer-reviewed.  The “peer-review” of clinical formulations of pathology occurs when the book is read by mental health professionals. "
b.) See  also see Dr. Childress' other blog article entitled "peer review" , where it is necessary to scroll down to the bottom. AB-PA is a diagnostic, conceptual, diagnostic formulation.
c.) In the blog article, The Gardnerian Challenge, Dr. Childress writes that he has done his job in laying out a formulation, and it is incumbent upon a critic to disagree with something or propose an alternate formulation. No one has provided an alternate formulation.
d.) See also that a journal article is coming.

False Claim: Shouldn't we listen to the children?
The truth: Yes, let's listen to these children.

False Claim: Parental Alienation is just a cover up for Batterers.
The truth: Child psychological abuse and DV both exist, both are bad, both are unique, and both must be stopped.

False Claim: Listen to the child when the reject a parent. They are not being controlled by their favored parent.
The truth: Children love both parents and should be able to remain neutral. They can be psychologically manipulated and controlled. 

False Claim: Dr. Childress cites no evidence.
The truth: see his blog response. Also see the list of references for pathogenic parenting.

Complaint: "Attachment-based parental alienation does not address mild and moderate cases."
Response: "So what. Let's solve the severe cases, and then we can solve the mild and moderate cases."  Further, on page 37 of Foundations, Dr. Childress specifically excludes "mild" and "moderate" because those can be solved by existing family therapy methods (e.g. not personality disorder involved).

Complaint: "The APA encourages clinicians to practice evidence based therapy".
Response: each of the underlying pathologies in attachment-based parental alienation is standard psychology supported by evidence and research. All that is left is the responsibility of clinicians to render diagnosis, which they are obligated to do by their state licensing board (boundary of competence).

Complaint: Attachment-based parental alienation is psychoanalytic theory.
Response: each of the underlying pathologies is standard psychology based on evidence and research. For a purely empirical definition of the same phenomenon and proof that it is child abuse, refer to these six peer reviewed studies.  See also the empirical survey of 610 parents. See also the empirical study "parents behaving badly" which is also available in book form.  After empirical data is available, meaning is needed.  See also the essay entitled "the cult of empiricism".

Complaint: There are no journal articles, so attachment-based parental alienation should be ignored.
Response: Per Dr. Childress Moving Forward Blog article, "this needed to be solved yesterday.  Because of that, I am working as hard as I can to speed the solution’s arrival as fast as I possibly can.  That’s why I’m not writing journal articles yet.  They take too long to write and get published, and they have only a minimal real-world impact.  My time right now is better spent in other areas.  That’s why I’m taking such an assertive stance with the Gardnerian PAS experts, because their withholding of support for the paradigm shift slows the achievement of the solution.

Complaint: Since all physical and mental illnesses have multiple causes, and since ABPA asserts a single cause, it cannot be right.
Response: It is not clear what the reference for this assertion is for physical and mental illness. Google shows that one place on the internet does say that "psychological disorders have etiologies that are largely multi-factorial."  If we accept this, then we can respond with:
a.)  There is not a consensus on PA being a mental illness, since the DSM-5 folks are quite clear that it happens in the context of a relationship.
b.) Pathogenic parenting is not something new. Just standard, accepted stuff. A couple pathologies at once.
c.) The DSM-5 definition quite clearly says that psychological abuse can cause significant psychological harm. If psychological harm could not be caused by abuse, V995.51 would not be in DSM-5
d.)  PA is quite fine grained: it happens after the parental distress and it primarily affects the relationship with one parent, and not really other individuals. It is hard to imagine which mosquito or gene or hazardous chemical could do that.
e.) PA responds well to treatment that stops the abuse and isolation and fosters critical thinking skills. Again, that suggests away from bugs, chemicals, and genes.
f.) Despite the many years, no one has identified any other cause for the 3 Childress symptoms. No one has proposed a different diagnostic formulation.
g.) Dr. Childress does agree that there can be variations, less severe say when the alienator has no personality disorder.  Refer to the discussion with Karen Woodall. Dr. Childress focuses on the most psychological, most extreme variation. Also, refer to Foundations where Dr. Childress says mild/moderate PA can be treated with the normal therapy.
h.) Different children can have different reactions to the abuse, but very often, all the children fall prey, one after the other
i.) Possibly this complaint arises from a quote by Drozd that "the source of the difficulty is rarely singular or simple." It is not immediately clear what supports this, except for Garber's experience and views. It does seems that custody evaluators do commonly always assign blame to both parties, though it could be tradition. This is addressed by Dr. Warshak's paper "ten parental alienation fallacies, " as fallacy number #3.
j.) Possibly this complaint arises from a quote by Garber that "seldom is parental alienation the result of one parents malicious actions."  This is addressed by Dr. Warshak's paper "ten parental alienation fallacies, " as fallacy number #3.

Complaint: Dr. Childress research is (or is not) W, X, Y or Z.
a.) Dr. Childress has not done any research. He has appropriated all the existing research of the underlying pathologies, and will appropriate any/all new research done on them.
b.) Dr. Childress diagnoses existing/standard pathologies, much the same as many/most other mental health professionals do or should.

Complaint: Dr. Childress charges money for his book, therefore negative statements X, Y, and Z
Response: Most people do in the capitalistic system, and in the socialist system, and in the welfare system.