Missing the Alienation
By Linda Kase-Gottlieb, LMFT, LCSW-r
Why do mental health professionals and attorneys who evaluate or work with alienated children frequently mistake alienation for estrangement?
The main reason is that cases of parental alienation are counterintuitive. That is, the brain is hardwired to misinterpret and misunderstand the family dynamics in these situations. That leads to a number of common cognitive errors (thinking errors) that, in turn, lead to serious errors in professional reasoning and decision-making. In other words, the brain is tricked by alienation cases just as it is tricked by an optical illusion. Consequently, many professionals, including mental health professionals and attorneys, get these cases backwards. Often, the targeted parent is unfairly criticized for having allegedly contributed to his or her rejection, and the alienating parent is either absolved or believed to have made only a minor contribution. Thus, unless the professional has an in-depth understanding of alienation and estrangement, cases of severe alienation are frequently mistaken for estrangement.
This phenomenon has been described in some detail by Steven Miller, M.D., a physician who studies clinical reasoning and clinical decision-making. For an excellent summary, readers might wish to refer to a chapter that Dr. Miller wrote entitled, “Clinical Reasoning and Decision-Making in Cases of Child Alignment: Diagnostic and Therapeutic Issues,” in the book, Working with Alienated Children and Families, edited by Amy J. L. Baker, Ph.D. and Richard Sauber, Ph.D. Â Dr. Miller examines the complexity of alienation cases, explains why such cases are so counterintuitive, even to professionals, and describes how even the most experienced mental health practitioner can succumb to a variety of cognitive and clinical errors. Read More
On 04/23/14 11:06 AM, Evelyn Cayzer wrote:
I will certainly be celebrating April 25 with all the fathers who have been alienated from their children!
I would like to share this day with all the dads who have also been Falsely Accused of Child Molestation by their ex-partners who are inflicted with Malicious Mothers Syndrome!
I honor all fathers who have fraught for their children, and pray for the strength and self belief of all fathers who have been alienated from their children, to TAKE a stand…. MAKE the commitment… AND enjoy a WOW experience!
Don’t give up on your precious children, they only have ONE dad… And that is YOU!