Disorder In The Divorce Courts

You have to become a little suspicious about the legitimacy of some psychiatric “disorders” when the entrance of a psychiatric “disorder” into the DSM becomes a serious matter for debate. How can you debate, matter of factly, is it a “disease”, or isn’t it a “disease”? This is especially true for a “condition” like the proposed “parental alienation syndrome”. The Associated Press has a story on this debate, Psychiatric experts assess parental alienation.

The American Psychiatric Association has a hot potato on its hands as it updates its catalog of mental disorders — whether to include parental alienation, a disputed term conveying how a child’s relationship with one estranged parent can be poisoned by the other.

Be careful about playing favorites, your choices could get you labeled alienated by one parent against the other, kid. We have a potential future “disease” here handy for use in divorce cases.

On one side of the debate, which has raged since the 1980s, are feminists, advocates for battered women and others who consider “parental alienation syndrome” to be an unproven and potentially dangerous concept useful to men trying to deflect attention from their abusive behavior.

The veneer of respectability has its dark side.

On the other side are legions of firm believers in the existence of a syndrome, including hundreds gathering for a conference on the topic this weekend in New York. They say that recognition of parental alienation in the psychiatrists’ manual would lead to fairer outcomes in family courts and enable more children of divorce to get treatment so they could reconcile with an estranged parent.

She did what? She took the kid! Right and that equals a “sick” kid. Now if you’d gotten the kid, you might be living it up, sucking on a martini, in Rio right now. Of course, you’d be constantly glancing over your shoulder for bounty hunters, too.

Then if women were easier, and if you weren’t such a creepy dude, you could just make another kid. No sweat!

His [Dr. William Bernet] proposal defines parental alienation disorder as “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, and rejects a relationship with the other parent, without legitimate justification.”

I don’t know about you but I have problems with this “disease” that occurs simultaneously with court cases. Then there is that matter of “without legitimate justification”; this without legitimacy is merely through the eyes of the alienated parent and ex-spouse. Oh, and their friends, if they have any, associates, and hired supporters, of course. I’m not going to ask what the proper “treatment” for this “condition” might wind up being.

Although the proposed “disorder” is not expected to make it into the 2013 version of the DSM, its proponents are not giving up anytime soon, and so expect to be hearing more and more about this “disorder” in the future.

She [Elizabeth Kates] said the initial impetus for recognition of parental alienation syndrome came in large part from the fathers’ rights movement, but suggested much of the momentum now comes from psychologists, consultants and others who could profit if the concept had a more formal status in family court disputes.

You’d guess that the emotional turmoil of a rejected parent isn’t the sole motivation behind this thing. There are those who wish to make a profit from this infringement on child rights as well.

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