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Articles Posted in Clinical Issues in Divorce

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I saw this post today on Facebook, and it might be helpful to some families dealing with Parental Alienation:

“Mark David Roseman and Associates offers its Fall 2021 support group for alienated parents, beginning September 22 via Zoom. This group is uniquely different in its compassion and understanding of parents on the journey of separation from their children, with facilitators who respect the healthy integration of mind, body and spirit.

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Our group is spiritual, but we do not espouse any religious or political identity. We are fully committed to the healing of broken families, in order to restore what has been lost after high conflict.”

 

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My Illinois Divorce Blog focuses on a variety of subjects, including the means by which to manage divorce and child custody with a toxic narcissist. I can say that almost every day, I receive a message that sounds like this that came today:

Message: I’m separated from a narcissist and he is constantly violating orders and trying to alienate my child from me. Now they are forcing me to go to court to face him in 2 days and I’m terrified. It will only make it worse. I need help. No one understands but I read your blog and you may be the only lawyer that understands.
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From Page:
https://www.illinoisdivorcelawyerblog.com/amp/illinois-divorce-empaths-marriages-narcissists/

 

This message is from someone being harmed by both the toxic narcissist in her life, and well as possibly by her local court system ( I get many calls each month from people outside of Illinois that need help, and I try answer most all of these calls with some help, resources like Bill Eddy’s Splitting book, and a lawyer referral if needed).  For over 25 years, my practice has focused, in large part,  on psychological issues in divorce, and issues that affect the wellbeing of the children of marriages involving personality disorders.

 

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The announcement of the Parental Alienation Study Group (PASG) comes at a great time, as we start to try to emerge from COVID lockdowns, and restart these important conferences.  I received the announcement below this morning, and look forward to this conference.  “PASG has 700 members – mostly mental health and legal professionals – from 55 countries. The members of PASG are interested in educating the general public, mental health clinicians, forensic practitioners, attorneys, and judges regarding parental alienation. PASG members are also interested in developing and promoting research on the causes, evaluation, prevention, and treatment of parental alienation.”

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PASG 2021 Conference 9-10 September 2021

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Bill Eddy’s High Conflict Institute always has great information in the field of managing High Conflict Personalities in the context of divorce and Family Law cases.  It is difficult, if not impossible, to manage some people that present as High Conflict; often these people have traits of personality disorders that make their behaviors and communications toxic.  As is pointed out below, the HCP (High Conflict Person)  is not going to change, but you as the stable and rational party can always choose how to respond.  One element that the article does not mention is the benefits to using a third party, such as a skilled Parenting Coordinator, to intercede in conflict situations, and allow the rational person to retreat to the safety of the Parenting Coordinator, instead of arguing or fighting with the HCP.  In other words, if the HCP wants a toxic fight, don’t reward the bed behavior. Choose better ways to manage HCPs, and preserve a bit a tranquil space for yourself and the children.

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The 4D’s of High Conflict Divorce

1. Disengage: You are in conflict with your child’s other parent because their words and actions negatively trigger and affect you and your children. And, like most parents, you will do anything to protect your children form harm – physical, verbal and emotional. If you take the time to sort through your triggers and plan a strategy for how to cope when triggered, you will be putting yourself (and your children) on a path for healthier conflict resolution.

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I have had the pleasure to be a member of the American Psychological Association, for many years, and to devote myself to continuing graduate-level education in the psychological sciences.  Just as a medical doctor might benefit from a strong background or understanding in, say, nutrition, or kinetics, I have always felt that the practice of Family Law almost requires a fundamental understanding of psychology.  The article below is taken from an essay concerning a family lawyer that trained as a psychologist, and how this training has been integral to his practice.

Using his unique background in psychology, David – who has written a best-selling book called “Moving On: Redesigning Your Emotional, Financial, and Social Life After Divorce” – shares the difference taking into account mental health can make in family law cases.

How do psychology and divorce go hand-in-hand?

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I am always appreciative to be a member of the PASG, which is an international association of clinicians, academics, and legal professionals involved in the research of Parental Alienation, as well as the advocacy for better public understanding of PA.  Today, one of the members and excellent advocates in the PASG emailed this to me:

Dear Michael,

Our colleague Brendan Guildea B.L reports on a significant case that has wide reaching implications in the fight against Parental Alienation. Brendan will be one of the speakers at our Online Parental Alienation Conference on the 26th of November 2020.

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Credit: Michael Bone, Ph.D

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The coronavirus crisis, paradoxically, may be an opportunity to find new sources of meaning. Psychological research on past financial disasters may offer guidance on how people will respond to the sudden economic calamity caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

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The COVID-19 crisis has shuttered businesses and led to massive numbers of layoffs nearly overnight. As of April 2, Americans filed a record-breaking 6.6 million unemployment claims in one week, according to the Department of Labor (PDF, 743KB)

The U.S. Federal Reserve estimated that 47 million people might lose their jobs in the second quarter of 2020, translating to a 32.1% unemployment rate. That would far overshoot the peak unemployment rate of the Great Recession (10% in October 2009, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics) and even of the Great Depression (24.9% in 1933).Despite differences between this economic crisis and previous recessions, psychological research can provide some insight into the behavioral and mental health impacts of financial loss. Key findings include:

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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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