Calling all Counselors
The American Counseling Association (ACA) recently asked its members to provide feedback on a draft of the DSM-V– which the ACA will consolidate and forward to the DSM-V Task Force. As many of you know, the DSM is the mental health profession’s bible — the final authority on symptoms and syndromes and the definitive diagnosis on legitimate mental health conditions. The newest edition of the DSM will be released in 2013.
More than 60 international experts — academics, authors and mental health professionals — recently submitted a proposal to include parental alienation in the DSM-V. Many groups and individuals are working diligently to make the DSM Task Force aware of the huge number of parents and children currently struggling with the emotional heartbreak of parental alienation. It is also vitally important that all ACA members lobby their organization to include parental alienation in the next edition of the DSM.
Including any new diagnosis in the DSM is a long, complex, and some say, political, process. However including parental alienation in the DSM as an Adjustment Disorder should not be difficult. While special interest groups with their own agendas are fighting to keep parental alienation out of the DSM, mental health professionals see Adjustment Disorders related to depression and anxiety all the time. Why is it so hard to believe that a parent with unresolved emotional issues, going through the strain and emotional upheaval of a divorce or separation (the adjustment issue), could put his or her unhealthy emotional needs above the needs of his or her child? Further, why is it so hard to believe that these unhealthy needs might somehow damage, and in some cases destroy, the child’s relationship with the child’s other parent? And finally, why is it so hard to believe that the targeted parent might actually object to these events and turn to mental health professionals to help address an issue that has its roots in mental and emotional health?
The deadline for ACA members to provide feedback is March 22, 2010. The member’s ACA ID number is required with the submission. ID numbers can be found on the back of the Journal of Counseling and Development, or on the ACA website after logging in or contacting member services. To contribute, go to http://www.counseling.org/dsm/comments.html.