March 9, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
I’ve written numerous pieces recently about the few hardy souls who seek to deny, and convince others to deny, the existence of parental alienation. To them, PA is a scam by fathers to wrest custody from “protective mothers.” They have essentially nothing on which to base their claims. PA is all too real as a large and growing body of research shows. And the fact that it’s mostly fathers claiming to have been alienated reflects only the fact that, in the great majority of cases, it’s Mom who has custody and is therefore better positioned to alienate.
All that makes this article a breath of fresh air (Psychology Today, 2/27/18). It’s by psychologist Susan Heitler and her purpose in writing is to let potential targets of alienation know how to get help.
In my recent blogpost entitled Parental Alienation: What Is It? Who Does It? I mentioned that in my clinical practice I have been had (sic) a run on cases of parental alienation syndrome. A common theme has emerged. That theme is the lack of support or justice that they receive from family courts.
You’d never guess such a thing from articles by the likes of Laurie Udesky, Cara Tabachnick and Marissa Endicott. To them and the rest of the “protective” mother movement, all a father has to do is waltz into court, say the magic words “parental alienation” and off go the kids with him. Oh and, by the way, he’s a child abuser too. According to the “protective mother” movement, that’s just how courts roll when faced with paternal abusers. They’re powerless to resist those magic words, don’t you know.
The reality is that both fathers and mothers can be alienators and courts are poorly equipped to make sense of the evidence of alienation put before them.
Forensic psychologists appointed by courts, parenting coordinators, family law attorneys and judges however tend to be insufficiently informed, and often even misinformed, about parent alienation. Unfortunately, when professionals who are dealing with these issues in the courts and social services do not understand the situation, they add to the harm being done by the alienating parent.
But one person has taken the bit in her teeth. She’s providing services to parents who believe they’re on the receiving end of alienating behavior.
One woman, Elaine Cobb, got the ball rolling. Herself a victim first of parental and then grandparent alienation situations, Elaine initially launched a small program within her state of North Carolina. Her goal: to make information about how to deal with an alienating situation more broadly available.
That program grew, and continues to grow. Family Access - Fighting for Children's Rightsnow is nationwide and even international.
In addition, Elaine reaches out to alienated parents and grandparents in need of support by hosting a free monthly educational telephone conference-call. She is joined this month in this project by two psychologists, Drs. Michael Bone and Robert Evans, co-founders of the National Association of Parental Alienation Specialists (NAOPAS). This organization focuses on educating attorneys, judges, parenting coordinators, and mental healthprofessionals. Their hope is that with better understanding of parental alienation, psychological and legal professionals will become more able to assist parents who want to regain a healthy parental relationship with their alienated children.
If anyone reading this needs those services, by all means seek them out. And if anyone can help either Cobb’s organization or the NAOPAS, please do. Both organizations are obviously doing good and needed work.
This Sunday, Cobb’s organization will host a free conference call for anyone interested in PA or suffering its effects.
On Sunday, March 11th at 8 PM EST, Elaine Cobb's organization is hosting its next free informational telephone conference.
Dr. Michael Bone and Dr. Robert Evans will be the guest speakers. They plan to focus this month specifically on educating courtroom professionals about parental alienation syndrome. The title of the conference call says it all: "When They Say You Can't Prove It: The Robust Research About Parental Alienation"
“Robust research about parental alienation.” That’s a phrase you don’t see often from the “protective mother” crowd.
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