Saturday

Warshak Can Diagnose Parental Alienation without even Interviewing the Child

And Warshack isn't the only one who does this.

But as parental alienation is a magical syndrome/disorder, anything is accepted. Just tell your paid parental alienation professional that your child has been "turned against you," or "brainwashed, "and that is all the evidence he or she needs; however, there must be a divorce or visitation/custody proceeding underway (even though I have also read that parental alienation occurs in intact families, and many other situations)

For which other scientific diagnoses will this work? Let's be the professional and see if we also have magical skills. Let's try this:

Does your child have a fever, cough, runny or stuff nose, body aches, chills, fatigue, diarrhea or vomiting?
If you answered yes, then your child has H1N1.

Does your child have a fever, headache, sore throat, swollen lymph glands and/or a rash?
If you answered yes, then your child has AIDS.

Does your child display delusions (false beliefs strongly held in spite of invalidating evidence), disorganized behavior and speech, or affective flattening (seems to stare, doesn't maintain eye contact with you) around you?
If you answered yes, then your child has parental alien, no, actually schizophrenia.

What? I'm wrong? That's not what my research has told me!!

Isn't this ridiculous?

The thing about it is, for hard science (some would call it real science), a method is followed from which, conclusions are derived after it has been tried and tested. With psychology (some would NOT call it a science) it is different. No machines are used...there are no lab values...it is based upon subjective evidence which is then interpreted by another party (the professional) who fills in the gaps with his/her own "objective" information. This objective information is based on the professional's own experience and research, subject to his/her biases and that of his/her peers that he/she surrounds him/herself with. No double-blinds studies, no valid replication. It is whatever he/she says it is.

In a typical situation, this case with Richard Warshak went like this as reported in this article in the Law Times:

(emphasis mine)
In S.G.B. v. S.J.L., the court set aside part of an award concluding that the workshop was in the best interest of the boys because the arbitrator relied too heavily on an assessment of them prepared by Richard Warshak, who admitted he hadn’t met them personally.
How in the world can a conclusion be made without directly involving the subject (child[ren]) in question?
Yet the arbitrator ordered that the remedy was “necessary for the children in this case and completely consonant with their best interests.”
And so how did the arbitrator derive at this conclusion? Did he ask the children about their own best interests (one of the children was 17 or 18 yrs old, one had a disability)? How does one prove that a certain relationship is in someone's best interest--especially if that person (the subject/child) is NOT interested?
Another issue arose prior to the hearing when the father asked the arbitrator to order an assessment to determine the appropriateness of the workshop for the children.

The arbitrator declined to do so, instead relying on his own experience as a custody and access assessor.
Herein lies another problem and seeming conflict of interest (therapeutic jurisprudence): arbitrators with "experience" in multiple areas...like in the U.S. attorneys serving as Guardians Ad Litem, and attorneys with dual degrees (J.D. and LCSW or PsyD).
In addition, Herman said the arbitrator failed to consider the psychological impact the workshop would have on the younger boy. He suffered from Klinefelter syndrome, a genetic disorder that, among other things, caused a language delay.
Did the arbitrator really "fail to consider" it? No. It just wasn't important, period. Nothing else is important when one is making a parental alienation claim.
...based on Warshak’s report that the children were suffering irrational alienation towards their mother, the arbitrator awarded sole custody of both children to her and ordered that they participate in the workshop to help to restore their ties with her.
How is an "irrantional alienation" decided? What happens if children do not want relationships "restored"? Should they be forced into psychological treatment?
Logistically, this meant no contact with their father for the three months that the boys were in the program. Once the workshop concluded, communications could resume as long as those in charge authorized them.
Treatment for parental alienation: alienation from the primary caretaking parent, and then, a third party dictating that relationship in the future. What kind of shit is that? Who is autonomous at this point? Who has any rights?
The order also allowed the mother to use transporting agents to take her children to the workshop in Texas if they were unwilling to go on their own volition.
I tell ya, THIS will REALLY make your children love you!!!!
The work of Dr. Warshak has been submitted for peer review so it’s not as controversial as the media hype may lead some to believe,” says Jaret Moldaver, counsel for the mother. “Dr. Warshak has successfully worked with children who have been alienated, and in cases where conventional approaches don’t work, it’s the only viable option to save the child from abuse.”
Honest question here: Has it been submitted for peer review, or has it been peer reviewed (tried, tested and approved)? What constitutes "successfully worked"?--the word of the parent, or the child? And where are those long-term studies? What "abuse" has the child been saved from?
A larger issue, however, is that often these cases come down to a battle of costly expert evidence, says the father’s counsel, Jan Weir.

“My concern is that in most of these cases, it appears that one parent has the financial means to retain high-end counsel and experts like Dr. Warshak, but the other parent seems to have modest means and never retains an expert, meaning that they can’t lead evidence against the findings or methodology of Dr. Warshak.
And this is what it comes down to: Parental alienation professionals aren't providing evidence, they are providing opinion. And if the other party doesn't have the money to have a difference of opinion to testify, only this one opinion stands on the case. Justice bought.
A week at the workshop costs about US$40,000.
According to Warshak, parental alienation syndrome is “a child’s unjustified campaign of denigration against, or rejection of, one parent, due to the influence of the other parent combined with the child’s own contributions.”
$40K???? Understand the push for the inclusion in the new DSM. How is the campaign "unjustified"? Who decides what constitutes "unjustified"? How does one know if the parent is influencing the child? How can you know anything if you don't interview the child?
It is recognized as a form of emotional abuse that happens when parents get so caught up in their own problems that they lose sight of their children’s needs.
But who decides that the child has been neglected in the emotional department? What if, in spite of the "evidence," the child is faring well emotionally, physically, etc? Is "treatment" necessary? If the child is doing just fine how does someone step in an disrupt that child's equilibrium? What right do they have?
In an interview in 2008 with Maclean’s magazine, Warshak said the workshop “teaches children how to stay out of the middle of adult conflicts and how to maintain a compassionate view toward each parent” and that it helps the child “recapture a major part of his identity.

When the child no longer feels the need to pledge allegiance to one parent by rejecting the other, that’s enormously liberating.”

Parents teach children how to stay out of adult conflict. However, when that "adult conflict" involves the child (protecting the child, believing the child, validating the child), how can the child stay out of it? Why should children "maintain a compassionate view toward each parent"? Because it is their parent? Are there situations in which this is unjustified.

What this reminds me of is the sexual abuse accommodation that Dr. Richard Gardner (father of parental alienation syndrome) spoke of/wrote about/testified for, and it makes me sick to my stomach:

(emphasis mine)
“The child should be able to pity the father for the curse (in our society) of having pedophilic tendencies. In other times and other places, he would be considered normal.”

--RICHARD A. GARDNER, TRUE AND FALSE ALLEGATIONS OF CHILD SEX ABUSE 592 (1992).
Special care should be taken not alienate the child from the molesting parent. The removal of a pedophilic parent from the home “should only be seriously considered after all attempts at treatment of the pedophilia and rapprochement with the family have proven futile.”

--Gardner, R.A. (1992). True and False Accusations of Child Sex Abuse . Cresskill, NJ: Creative Therapeutics.(p. 537)
The child should be told that there is no such thing as a perfect parent. “The sexual exploitation has to be put on the negative list, but positives as well must be appreciated

--Gardner, R.A. (1992). True and False Accusations of Child Sex Abuse . Cresskill, NJ: Creative Therapeutics.(p. 572)
Older children may be helped to appreciate that sexual encounters between an adult and a child are not universally considered to be reprehensible acts. The child might be told about other societies in which such behavior was and is considered normal. The child might be helped to appreciate the wisdom of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, who said, “Nothing’s either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

--Gardner, R.A. (1992). True and False Accusations of Child Sex Abuse . Cresskill, NJ: Creative Therapeutics.(p. 59)
Furthermore, how is a child's identity "recaptured" if the child is not a voluntary party to the treatment/therapy?...and also if the child's opinions are being reformulated based on some outsider's point of view? Seems like the child's identity could be getting compromised, invalidated, inundated.

Now we must question, who is really doing the abusing?