Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Parental Alienation and How To Determine Its Presence

- How to determine the
presence of PAS

- PAS evaluation form

- Recommended intervention

- How to help
Parental alienation syndrome (PAS) is an abnormal psychological condition most often observed in children affected by high conflict divorce and/or separation. It is one of the most damaging outcomes affecting children as a result of exposure to Hostile-Aggressive Parenting. The most common symptom of children affected by PAS is their severe opposition to contact with one parent and/or overt hatred toward such parent when there is little and often, no logical reason to explain the child’s behaviour. The effects of PAS can last well into adulthood and may last for a lifetime with tragic consequences.

Parental Alienation can be defined as follows:

Parental Alienation Syndrome is an abnormal psychological condition in a child which adversely impacts the child’s relationship with a (target) parent in a number of clearly identifiable and dysfunctional ways and the causes of the disorder can be reasonably traced back to the actions, behaviours and decision-making of a person or persons who are interfering with the child’s relationship with the (target) parent. Although in the vast majority of cases, it is one of a child’s parents who is the victim of the child’s PAS, other persons such as siblings, step parents grandparents and friends of the child may also be adversely victimized in a similar manner. For the purposes of determining the presence of PAS, the word “parent” may also be used to refer to any other person whose relationship with the child may be adversely affected in a similar manner as described for a parent.

Those who conduct assessments into Hostile-Aggressive Parenting (HAP) must understand PAS and know how to identify its presence as some information being gathered for an evaluation of HAP could be tainted due to a child being affected by PAS providing untruthful information.

Up until the development of the “Risk assessment protocol to evaluate the risk of harm to children caused by Hostile-Aggressive Parenting (HAP)”, identifying the presence of Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) was usually shrouded in clinical terms that were vague and open to interpretation and, therefore, susceptible to endless argument by opposing lawyers and their experts within the adversarial court system. Often the term PAS was grouped together to include the negative behaviour of one or both of the parents, rather than being identified as a mental health condition of the child. PAS clearly refers to a mental health condition of the child. PAS clearly is a disorder in a child which can be easily identified by referencing a simple list of identifying criteria and qualifiers. The actions, behaviours and decision-making of persons (usually called HAP parents) influencing the child are the causes of PAS and should not be confused with the condition of PAS.

Click here to see how you can help determine the presence of PAS.


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