EFCAP 2010

Trastorno de Alienación Parental en el 2º Congreso Internacional de la Asociación Europea de Psiquiatría y Psicología Infanto-juvenil Forense, Basilea (Suiza), 7-10 de septiembre de 2010: “La inducción al trastorno de alienación parental debe ser considerado una forma de abuso psicológico o emocional”.

EFCAP 2010

2nd International Congress of the European Association for
Forensic Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychology and
other involved Professions

07.–10.09.2010
Congress Center Basel / Basel, Switzerland

Parental alienation disorder

Wednesday, September 08, 2010, 16:00 – 16:15

Parental alienation: a new diagnosis for DSM-5 and ICD-11

W. Bernet* (Nashville, US)


Background: Parental alienation (PA) is an important phenomenon that mental health and legal professionals should know about and thoroughly understand. PA is a mental condition in which a child – usually one whose parents are engaged in a high-conflict divorce – allies himself or herself strongly with one parent (the preferred parent)and rejects a relationship with the other parent (the alienated parent) without legitimate justification.
Methods: My colleagues and I (70 mental health and legal professionals representing 12 countries) reviewed the world literature regarding PA to determine if there is enough clinical experience and substantive research for PA to be considered a “mental disorder” or a “relational problem” in DSM-5 and ICD-11.
Results: We identified more than 600 articles, books, and book chapters from 30 countries that describe and discuss PA. Regarding the validity of the concept of PA, six researchers independently described PA in the 1980s. Subsequently, hundreds of authors identified and described PA in many countries. Regarding the reliability of the diagnostic criteria for PA, there have been small studies that found an acceptable degree of reliability. Regarding prevalence, we estimate that about 1% of children in the U.S. have some degree of PA.
Conclusions: There are many reasons why PA should be included in DSM-5 and ICD-11, including: the importance of developmental factors for DSM-5; the importance of relational problems; the long history of PA; the identification of children with PA in many countries; the significant prevalence of this condition; the importance of treating affected children and families; and the importance of conducting more extensive research

Parental alienation disorder

Wednesday, September 08, 2010, 16:15 – 16:30

Judicial intervention for loss of a parent-child relationship

B. Van Dieren* (Leuven, BE)


Background: When parents divorce, there is a risk that the child will lose his or her relationship with a parent. Mental health and also legal professionals have searched for methods to intervene quickly so that the child will continue to have a healthy relationship with both parents.
Methods: The author (a psychologist) and two juvenile magistrates in Belgium collaborated to develop a program of “judicial guidance,” which may be implemented when it is determined that a child has lost or is at risk of losing the link or bond with one of the parents. The first step is for the magistrate to invite the parents to work together to restore the normal bond with both parents. The magistrate informs both parents that if a parent sabotages the process, a sanction will be applied to the recalcitrant parent. The second step is for the psychologist to meet with the parents over time and observe whether one of the parents is interferring with the child’s relationship with the other parent. The psychologist reports findings back to the magistrate, the attorneys, and the parents. The third step, if necessary, is for the magistrate to apply a sanction (e.g., a fine, reversal of custody, or placement of the child in an institution). An important feature of this approach is that it is not necessary to prove that parental alienation has occurred before beginning the process. However, if the psychologist observes parental alienation during the process, the parent must prove that he or she is not an alienating parent by demonstrating that he or she uses his or her parental role to favor the other parent.
Results: The author and two magistrates have successfully implemented this approach in several cases. The author has been invited to teach this method to future magistrates in Belgium.
Conclusion: This method of “judical guidance” should be considered when children of divorce have lost or are at risk of losing the link or bond with one of their parents.

Parental alienation disorder

Wednesday, September 08, 2010, 16:30 – 16:45

Psychological consequences of PAD-indoctrination for adult children of divorce and the effects of alienation on parents

U. Kodjoe* (Freiburg, DE)


From the viewpoint of psychiatry and psychotherapy, parental alienation disorder, with the symptoms described by R. A. Gardner, is to be seen as a special subcategory of parental alienation in separation-/divorce conflicts, with an accompanying disorder in the child due to severe manipulative (indoctrinating) parental misconduct. The induction of PAD in the child must be considered as a form of psychological/emotional abuse. It can be connected with traumatizing long term effects in the child and later adult. It is difficult to understand that this phenomenon –despite corresponding clinical findings and despite relevant results of recent traumatology and victimology research – is still bagatellized, denied or even opposed by many experts. Science is dealing extensively with the consequences for children and young adults of the loss of parent-child contact. However, there is far less research and literature about the consequences for the life of fathers and mothers who permanently loose contact to their children due to institutional intervention and for family dynamic reasons. The rupture in the personal biography that is caused in this manner greatly impairs life organization and quality of life.

Early life and development

Wednesday, September 08, 2010, 16:30 – 16:45

Violation of the child’s legal and human rights to family life in parental alienation cases

A.L. Hellblom Sjögren* (Fagersta, SE)


Background: The best interests of the child can be defined as the child´s legal and human rights to close contact with both its parents and to keep its identity through the family roots on both parents´ sides. What happens with the obligation for all professionals to decide in accordance with the best interests of the child, defined as above, in severe custody conflicts?
Methods: The author, who has worked independently since 1990 as an investigative psychologist, is analyzing 60 of her case investigations of severe custody conflicts in her ongoing research project called “The best interests of the child and the child´s human rights in severe custody conflicts.” Two case studies, one about a boy 9 years old who was separated 2006 from his mother, and one about two sisters, 4 and 2.5 years old, who were separated from their father in 1992, are presented.
Results: In both these typical cases the children have been heavily alienated from the parent they were cut off from by the parent they live with. This parent accuses the other parent of abusing the children. Such abuse has not been substantiated, but the accusations have, over years, served as argument to protect the children from that parent. The systematic source critical analysis of direct and indirect statements and documents produced over time document a loving relationship that has been broken. The children have developed a fear; they reject the parent they were separated from. This has served as foundation for the courts to make decisions in accordance with what has appeared to be the child´s own will.
Conclusion: The children´s legal and human rights have been violated. They have lost their identity. Thus practice is not in accordance with the laws and the best interests of the child. If social workers, mental health and legal professionals learn about parental alienation and how it harms children, and violates their rights, then hopefully new social and legal approaches can be developed to help children keep their relationships with both parents.

Colloque français

Wednesday, September 08, 2010, 16:00 – 16:15

Victimes, violences et allégations : l’aliénation parentale

P. Bensussan, O. Odinetz* (Versailles, Chaville, FR)


Bien qu’une majorité de divorces soient prononcés par consentement mutuel, de plus en plus d’enfants perdent durablement le contact avec l’un de leurs parents après la séparation.
Il faut bien que la haine exsude et les moyens de se déchirer ne sont pas si nombreux : les procédures judiciaires les plus acharnées concernent des litiges relatifs à la résidence des enfants et à l’exercice de l’autorité parentale. Ces situations font depuis quelques années l’objet d’une préoccupation toute spéciale de nombreux pays occidentaux, du fait de leur nombre croissant et de leur coût social, en termes de procédures interminables et de psychothérapies. Mais aussi et avant tout, de souffrance inutile infligée à tous, en particulier aux enfants que l’on dit vouloir protéger.
On désigne sous le terme d’aliénation parentale l’ensemble des manifestations psychopathologiques liées aux tensions auxquelles sont soumis les enfants dont les parents se déchirent après la séparation, qu’il s’agisse d’exercice de l’autorité parentale ou du simple exercice d’un droit de visite et d’hébergement.
Plusieurs définitions existent. Certaines se veulent simplement descriptives et ne font aucune allusion à la cause du désordre, qualifiant ainsi d’aliénation parentale
D’autres auteurs, tel le Professeur Richard GARDNER, pédopsychiatre américain, introduisent un point de vue explicatif : la notion de manipulation de l’enfant par l’autre parent, dit « parent aliénant ».
Le terme « syndrome d’aliénation » inquiète : il renvoie à l’univers de la folie et de la maladie mentale, sans que l’on sache bien si la folie en question concerne l’enfant ou les parents. Il faut donc préciser d’emblée que le terme d’aliénation doit ici être compris dans son sens étymologique : « aliéner » revenant en fait à « rendre étranger -ou hostile » (un parent à un enfant).
L’accent est donc mis sur la cause et … l’auteur du désordre, implicitement inclus dans la définition : le parent auteur du lavage de cerveau, dit « parent aliénant ».
C’est afin de mettre un terme à ces polémiques passionnelles et de progresser dans la compréhension psychodynamique et l’approche expertale de cette problématique qu’un groupe de professionnels de la santé mentale, experts comme thérapeutes, vient de soumettre une publication visant à l’inclusion de l’aliénation parentale dans les prochaines éditions du Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) et de l’International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11).

http://www.efcap2010.ch/