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Parental Alienation Syndrome - PAS - is it real?

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Published on Apr 3, 2008

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Why has Parental Alienation been rejected by every reputable organisation that's considered it?

Lack of Empirical Data, Research or Scientific Basis to Support

the Controversial Psychological Theory Called

Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS):

PAS is Not Generally Accepted in the Scientific Community

Lack of Empirical Data or Research Support for Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) Theory * PAS is not listed in the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) as a psychiatric disorder and is not recognized as a valid medical syndrome by the American Medical Association, or the American Psychological Association. (Dallam, 1999) * The American Psychological Association Presidential Task Force on Violence And The Family (1996) states that "no data" exist to support PAS. (Dallam, 1999) * According to Kelly and Johnston (2001), there is a lack of empirical support for PAS as a diagnostic entity. * Judge James Mize, Sacramento Superior Court, representing the California Judicial Council and the California Judges Association, testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee regarding parental alienation syndrome on May 6, 2003: "I have taught family law to judges. I have taught every single newly-appointed and newly-assigned family law judge in the State of California for the last eighteen months. .... I have told them (the last 120 judges who have been through this training) Parental Alienation Syndrome does not exist, it is not to be considered." * PAS is not based on systematic research. (Dallam, 1999) * "This [PAS theory] is junk science," said Dr. Paul Fink, a professor of psychiatry at Temple University School of Medicine and a past President of the American Psychiatric Association. "He [Dr. Richard Gardner] invented a concept and talked as if it were proven science. It's not." (Talan, 2003) * "PAS is not research-based, and it has done a great injustice to the family and the justice system," says Dr. Jon Conte, a psychologist at the University of Washington. He adds, "The criteria that Dr. Gardner has developed are virtually useless. He operates on the premise that if you say a lie often enough, people will believe it." (OMeara, 1999) * Dr. Eli Newberger, a Harvard University Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, states, This [parental alienation syndrome] is an atrocious theory with no science to back it up. (Talan, 2003) * Harvard's Dr. Eli Newberger, an assistant professor of pediatrics and an expert on child abuse, said he's been called on by state child protection agencies to evaluate ambiguous disclosures of abuse in divorce cases and believes that PAS deflects any real investigation into such allegations. (Talan, 2003) * Melbourne University Professor of Psychiatry Dr. Alasdair Vance agrees, saying PAS has no standing in mainstream psychiatry or medicine, "It is not helpful for the community to be hoodwinked by information that's not rigorously tested," he said. (Ellingsen, 2004) * But most mental health professionals say the label doesn't meet the definition of a psychiatric illness. It's not found in psychiatric textbooks on diagnoses. In the late 1980s, when psychiatrists were revising the profession's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Dr. Robert Spitzer, who was leading the effort and is a Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in Manhattan, said Gardner asked whether PAS could be included [in the DSM]. "It would never be taken seriously in DSM," Spitzer said in an interview. "It isn't a mental disorder." (Talan, 2003)

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