My comments on the Globe & Mail site follow:
I have not read any of Dr. Jaffe's scientific or best selling books on Parental Alienation and so I quite literally don't know him from "Adam". I suggest he knows far less than others in his field, like Dr. Richard Warshak, a leader in the attempt to try and help children whose minds have been poisoned by abusive, dysfunctional parents. For a professional like Jaffe to call another professional like Dr. Warshhak a "quack" is an undesirable, unprofessional method of getting attention. I'll put my money on someone who has studied the problem for years and has attempted to find solutions rather than the one who, as they did in the inquisition against Galileo, call those with advanced views "heretics." Jaffe does no one, particularly an abused child any favours by his own version of an ad hominem argument. He doesn't know the answer himself, therefore, crucify the man. He got one thing right. The family courts are dysfunctional.
To use the term deprogramming is to overstate the therapy. The child has clearly been programmed to hate the other parent but the purpose of therapy is to try and give the child some tools and an environment to re-engage with the other parent. Deprogramming sounds pretty clinical and mechanical. It will take a great deal of time for a child to heal but the most important element of that healing will be to keep them away from the alienating parent unless supervised for some time. For those who debunk the approach being taken in the Turnbull and McWatt decisions I suggest you do some research on adult children who were alienated but no intervention ever occurred. In one case a daughter was alienated from her mother but before they could be reconciled her mother died. The alienator still lives and the adult daughter knows what he did was a big lie. She is tormented daily. There are many others like her. Jaffe has done his profession a great disservice with his rant. What expertise does he have with Parental Alienation? He has been called an expert by the reporter. What is his solution? Let the child be continuously abused and their behaviour warped? I think not?MJM
Since my above comments were published a gender feminist showed up with these comments and then my rebuttal. Its getting interesting.
- Elizabeth Cook from Canada writes: Dr.Peter Jaffe is an expert of long standing. Those who think otherwise would help themselves if they learned about him. Re: the McWatt decision- judges are lawyers in a different "uniform". They supposed to know and apply the law. I don't know if the legal decision was lacking or not- but it is without question that the "expertise" provided -on which McWatt based her decision- is -founded on the pro-pedophile opinions of a deceased (suicide) psychologist . The expertise has absolutely zero credibility. There is a - meeting soon, in Toronto- of people who support these destructive opinions. Our Canadian children are at risk- they have been for over 20 years- because of these- pro pedophile opinions.Check it out. Carefully-IF you care about our children and youth. Also- check out the Battered Mothers Custody Conference via a search engine. Children whose mother was beaten up -were sent to the batterer-based on the battered mother's reluctance to sending her children to visit a violent being.These mothers were accused of "alienation" -and lost custody. Happens all the time-in Canada.
Elizabeth Cook has trotted out a gender feminist argument that in essence states parental alienation is not child abuse at all and that bad mouthing and poisoning a child by one parent against another is not a problem. The problem, in her playbook, is that anyone who believes in this harmful process is "pro-pedophile". Somehow I don't think Jaffe wants people like Cook in his camp. The gender feminists who use this argument have absolutely no practical experience at dealing with the results of a dysfunctional alienator and indeed, by their very approach, enable terrible psychological abuse of children. Hopefully Jaffe is not a member of this group. If one visits these gender feminist sites you will be struck by the paranoia, hatred and poison you encounter. They all carry similar information they cut and paste from each others sites. Where was Cook when Justice Turnbull sent the father packing and re-engaged the son with his targeted mother who the dad had taught him to hate. They only surface when it is a mom who is found to be the alienator. Interesting isn't it!
Judges send children to U.S. quacks, expert charges
Centres aim to treat parental alienation
From Monday's Globe and Mail
February 2, 2009 at 4:36 AM EST
Parental alienation centres in the United States are using unproven "quackery" to deprogram children ordered into their care by well-meaning Canadian judges, a leading Ontario child psychologist has charged.
Peter Jaffe says the programs may even damage children by destroying overnight their primary support bulwark: the alienating parent whose care they have been under.
"It is not a good thing if a child has bonded to an alienating parent, but disrupting that child and pulling them away from whatever sense of security they have may end up being more harmful than good in the long run," said Dr. Jaffe, a professor at the University of Western Ontario in London.
"When you're going to provide a treatment, you have to know what the unattended consequences or side effects are," he said. "You may be solving one problem but creating a whole host of new problems."
The deprogramming issue erupted last week after a Toronto judge forcibly removed three girls from their mother and sent them for treatment to a U.S. centre in an undisclosed location. It was at least the third time that an Ontario judge has taken the extreme measure in the past year.
The parental alienation centres, which operate in relative secrecy, in part to avoid surprise visits by angry parents searching for children who have been seized, is to be debated at an Ontario Bar Association conference today.
Dr. Jaffe said the spate of judicial orders runs counter to a laudable trend of granting children more rights. "It really doesn't matter whether you are sending them to a locked ward of a hospital somewhere in Pennsylvania or you are sending them to Disneyland, I think it's a significant infringement on their rights to take a Canadian child and force them to enter a treatment program in the U.S."
Sol Goldstein, a Toronto child psychiatrist familiar with the U.S. programs, said they typically devote four or five days to intensive discussion, visual presentations and "logic and kindness," to prod alienated children into critical thinking. He said children also have opportunities to spend relaxed, recreational time with the parent from whom they are estranged.
"Nothing can change like that within a week," Dr. Goldstein added. "It's like doing major surgery. The follow-up is crucial."
Donna Wowk, a Toronto family lawyer, agreed that while securing time away from the parent who caused the alienation "is critical" to successfully treating a child, relapses are a major risk. "You can have great counselling sessions, but as soon as they are back with the alienating parent, it's all undone," she said.
Toronto family lawyer Harold Niman, who represented a non-custodial parent whose children were recently sent to a U.S. parental alienation centre, conceded that much remains unknown about the treatment.
"There is no doubt this is uncharted territory," he said. "To a certain extent, we don't know where this is all going to lead, but I think it's like chicken soup. It can't hurt. It is something designed to be therapeutic for the children, and I can't see how it could hurt.
"Part of what is going on is an effort to find a solution to a very difficult problem. We are talking about a very, very narrow group of parents and they are almost invariably dysfunctional. These are parents who are toxic people."
Dr. Jaffe said that if the Ontario family court system were less dysfunctional, children at risk of being alienated from a parent would be identified and treated early.
"I'm not criticizing the judges," he said. "I understand their degree of frustration. But these cases really are a monument to the failure of the system to intervene early.
"There are bits and pieces in place in Ontario, but nobody is really in charge of the system," Dr. Jaffe said.