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What is Parental Alienation?

Bernet et al (2010) considers a primary feature of parental alienation where a child whose parents are engaged in a high conflict divorce or separation allies himself or herself strongly with one parent while rejecting the relationship with the other previously loved parent without legitimate justification.

Parental Alienation

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A parent need not be a psychologist to understand that the stress of pre-divorce or the divorce process can take its toll on kids emotionally and physically. Because many of my cases involve High Conflict divorces, there is often seen in the kids of these families both emotional and somatic complaints. It is very important for parents to be mindful of these complaints and conditions with their children and seek out appropriate resources.  In my practice, I have tried to integrate both the legal aspects of divorce practice with the clinical supports that are available from clinicians that I know and respect.

The article below discusses the concerns of psychological effects on kids of divorce.

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How Will Temporary Court Closures Due to COVID-19 Affect Family Law Cases?

Many clients of our firm are asking this important question: What is the immediate impact on my case if my courthouse is closed for weeks or months, starting right now?

It has been only since last Friday that the various counties in Illinois announced via email and posts on their websites that the courthouses were to be closed for about 30-45 days, while the COVID-19 pandemic works its way through Illinois. Many of our cases were set for important hearings with our judges in March and April, and now these cases will have to be reset. Some will be reset by the courts, and others are being reset by agreement with opposing counsel.

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” Top Divorce Law Blogs

We ranked the top divorce law blogs based on website authority, inbound links from other sites, and Twitter followers. The following blogs are regularly updated to provide valuable information on divorce law and insights into a career at a family law firm. ” 
Illinois Divorce Law Blog 28 5.02 66 5

a-top50divblog

 

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I recently had an interesting discussion at one of the courthouses about Parental Alienation. The issue for the moment was whether PA was considered “real” from a clinical point of view, and whether the DSM had a diagnostic category for Parental Alienation.  As any reader of Illinois Divorce Lawyer Blog knows, PA is real, and I have spent many years working with and managing PA cases for my clients, along with being involved in research and professional groups associated with PA from both a legal and clinical standpoint.

As these matters go, the discussion was spirited, and my mind went to the efforts of those like Dr. Bernet and Amy Baker, who made efforts to include diagnostic codes for PA in the newest DSM updates.  Here is a summary, below:

PA  :  It is a term used by mental health and legal professionals to describe both a complex form of child psychological abuse (i.e., isolating, exploiting/corrupting, terrorizing) and a diagnostic label for identifying a pathologically disturbed parent-child relationship between an alienating parent and a child victim.
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Everyday Trauma: Induced Psychological Splitting in Children of Divorce and Separation

Credit: https://karenwoodall.blog

Understanding the impact of divorce and separation on children takes us down new pathways of understanding of induced psychological splitting, its manifestation in families and the every trauma it causes which has been hidden in plain sight for decades.

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For many years, and since the publishing of Bill Eddy’s landmark book Splitting, I have been writing on the subject of divorce and personality disorders.  My law practice has a focus on helping people navigate divorce from a narcissist or someone with other traits of toxic personality disorders.  Because divorcing someone with these traits creates a number of distinct and unusual issues for the healthy spouse, my practice focuses on managing strategically and aggressively these disordered behaviors, which can include “distortion campaigns” and false allegations.

In my law practice, there is a focus on High Conflict cases.  As the article below points out, there is a distinction to be made with the term “high conflict.” In most all of my cases, the high conflict comes from a disordered person using chaos, harassment and false allegations against an otherwise healthy spouse and parent in order to manipulate the proceedings and attempt to distort the facts of the case. The “high conflict” is one sided.  Contact my firm if you have questions about a divorce from someone with these abusive and difficult behavioral traits.

 
By Karyl McBride, Ph.D., L.M.F.T.:  A common perception among divorce lawyers, therapists, custody evaluators, judges, and other professionals is that, whenever you have a “high-conflict” divorce, both parties are responsible for the conflict. Many professionals assume that difficult, drawn-out custody battles are caused by two parents who are stubborn, selfish, and perhaps a bit crazy. As Michael Friedman wrote in The American Journal of Family Therapy, “The concept has even entered into what might be called family court folk wisdom: We say that Mother Teresa does not marry Attila the Hun or that it takes two to tango.” What we see happen then is that both parties are painted with the same brush and the antics of the narcissist are not understood or seen. The reality is that a narcissist can unilaterally create a nightmare of a divorce.

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Many clients that come to my office have issues with a spouse with traits of a personality disorder. These traits create many challenges for the relationship, and the family, and in the context of divorce, the case can end up being what is called a “high conflict case.” For many years, I have focused my practice, in part, on these cases involving psychological issues as well as high conflict cases.  Rarely do I find a good, understandable explanation in the public domain of what a narcissistic personality is, how they present, and the impacts that these traits and disorders have on family members.  This podcast that I found today is excellent.

” Today we have the pleasure of speaking with a true expert on many of the topics we’ve exploring during our series on “Who Am I?”, including borderline personality disorder, sociopathy, and narcissism: Dr. Ramani Durvasula.

Dr. Ramani is a licensed clinical psychologist, author, and expert on the impact of toxic narcissism.  She is a Professor of Psychology at California State University, Los Angeles, and also a Visiting Professor at the University of Johannesburg.