In our last post we started a discussion about reunification therapy. This type of therapy was recently ordered in a divorce case in another state. The mother of the children involved has allegedly alienated her children from their father, alleging abuse. The judge ordered the kids to participate in reunification therapy in hopes of getting them to have a relationship with their father.
This type of therapy has been used in other cases. While the therapy may work for some, it does not always have benefits. In fact, some kids have reported that the treatment involved coercion and threats.
One clinical psychologist who specialized in alienated children stated that there are quite a few myths about parental alienation that can lead courts to "shortchange" children who are in need of intervention. On the other hand, others say that an official diagnosis does not exist at this time for parental alienation. Only when it is established as an official pathology can it lead to the development of proper treatments. One professional pointed out that he has "grave concerns" about any treatment that isn't well established.
Although many consider parental alienation a form of abuse, it can be hard to pinpoint it because each case is so individual. The court system has to investigate the allegations and try to understand if there is true parental alienation involved or if the children have legitimate reasons for disliking one parent.
Parental alienation is definitely a difficult and complicated topic but should be taken seriously by any parent who believes he or she is being alienated from his or her children.