How, exactly, should a family repair itself after the trauma of alienation?
In previous posts, we discussed Dr. Richard Warshak’s Family Bridges program, which is designed to help families reconcile after severe parental alienation. Different scholars and practitioners who focus in this area have developed other solutions, however, often based on conflicting philosophies.
Gardner’s Transitional Sites
Dr. Richard Gardner, perhaps the most famous academic in the field of PA, originally thought that the child should be taken from the home of the alienating parent and forcibly placed with the other parent. From a practical standpoint, however, this could create difficulties. The child might rebel further, run away, or become resentful and brooding. To that end, Dr. Gardner later advocated for the idea of so called “transitional sites” — neutral spaces, like parks or coffee shops, where the targeted parent and the child could meet to chat and reconcile.
Darnall’s Focus on Parental Behavior, Rather Than on the Child
Dr. Douglas Darnall offered a different solution in his now classic 1997 article, “New definition of parental alienation – What is the difference between Parental Alienation (PA) and Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS)?” Dr. Darnall wanted to focus “more on the parent’s behavior and less on the child’s role in denigrating the victimized parent … by the time the children have come to agree with the alienating parent’s propaganda, it can be too late to prevent the significant damaging effects of the alienation.”
Therapists Unwittingly Becoming Part of the Problem
Frustratingly, therapists and other advocates who are supposed to be neutral can get caught up in the drama and pick sides, despite their best intentions. In 1995, Mary Lunn wrote that “therapists, especially individual child therapists, can unwittingly become part of the system maintaining [PA], because very few therapists know about [what alienation is, why it happens and what can be done to stop it].” A social worker or family psychologist working with a family may have little to no understanding of parental alienation, for instance, and thus little insight into its triggers or possible solution.
For skillful, experienced assistance handling your Parental Alienation case, call the Williams Law Group, LLC immediately at (908) 810-1083.