I'm so pleased to hear that children are succeeding in this program. Like all pioneers one takes criticism when trying to lead. Dr. Warshak is clearly a leader in this field. Jaffe will also probably fight an equal shared parenting presumption in law which every study shows is in the best interest of children. Hopefully we can get that and avoid to a degree some of the adversarial and very expensive court battles that are currently happening so that both parents, especially dads can stay in their children's lives. Jaffe's views of leaving them in a poisoned environment are testament to the disdain he has for children and his limited vision of how to correct a problem like this.MJM
Help for children alienated by a parent
LEGAL AFFAIRS REPORTER
An intensive four-day program for children who've been brainwashed by one parent into hating another is showing signs of success, with more than 80 per cent repairing their relationship with an alienated mother or father, according to new research presented by its lead clinician.
The results, made public yesterday and currently undergoing scientific peer review, show that 17 out of 21 children who have completed the program after being removed from the grip of a "toxic" parent forged good relationships with the other parent that continue more than two years later.
"I think part of it is the children are relieved; they never really wanted to be soldiers in this war between their parents," Richard Warshak, a University of Texas psychologist who runs the program, told lawyers attending the Ontario Bar Association's annual conference yesterday.
Warshak's work was cited last month in a Toronto judge's ruling that stripped a mother of custody of her three daughters after the woman spent more than a decade trying to poison them against their father.
Now in custody of their father, a vascular surgeon, the girls, ages 9 to 14, were expected to fly to Texas to take part in Warshak's program. The mother was ordered to pick up the tab.
Warshak won't say how much the program costs but does call it "expensive" – equal to 1 1/2 to two years of conventional therapy.
The program was established in the early 1990s at the request of the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children.
The goal at first was to reunite abducted children with their families but the program now focuses on helping "severely alienated children" adjust to court orders requiring them to live with a parent they've been taught to reject or fear.
Through videos and workshops, two therapists help children understand how it's possible to develop unrealistically negative views of other people, Warshak said.
Although 130 children have completed the program, Warshak's research looked only at the 11 families he has treated himself. Seven of the alienated parents were mothers; four were fathers.
Warshak said the program gives children a "face-saving" way to reconnect with parents. "We don't require them to apologize for past behaviour or admit they were really mean."
Warshak acknowledged the program has attracted criticism from experts who contend uprooting children from secure, albeit poisoned, home environments will do more harm than good. Among them is Peter Jaffe, a psychologist in London, Ont., who has labelled the program "quackery."
Jaffe said he is concerned that forcing children to participate is a violation of their rights.
But Dr. Sol Goldstein, a Toronto child psychologist who took part in a panel discussion yesterday, said he thinks "a lot" of children "are looking for a chance to have someone say, "You don't have a choice. You've got to do it."
But, how do we find our children?
So often with divorce the children are abducted as well as being alienated. When they're old enough to live on their own they sieze the opportunity and ... "Asta la vista, baby!" Parents are lucky if their children call or email and these day they never write, not even a birthday card. How do we find them and, let's not forget, at this point they're adults and "You can't make them if they don't want to." It's not only the spouse who alienates the child from another parent through divorce, it's a group effort on the part of family, friends and neighbors. Thank God the Courts are starting to address this matter, but can't we help it along?Submitted by Jethrine at 4:58 PM Wednesday, February 04 2009
Thanks Doc. Sol Goldstein
Parental Alienation can be more damaging than childhood sexual abuse. Peter Jaffe would have children remain with a malicious mentally ill mother and, suffer ongoing abuse in the form of "Parental Alienation". Peter Jaffe has scant regard for children's rights, he has a long track record of promoting feminist view points that fail to address the very relevant fact that women abuse children more than men. Peter Jaffe fails to provide us with the obvious solution, which is a "Legal Presumption of Equal Parenting" after separation which would remove once and for all the presumption that women are ideal parents simply because of their ability to reproduce. Leaving children with a malicious mother with a complete lack of empathy for the children is almost guaranteed to create another generation of children with similar personality disorders to their malicious mother and another generation of children who will also suffer Parental Alienation Syndrome. See www.OttawaMensCentre.com
Submitted by ottawamenscentre at 9:40 PM Tuesday, February 03 2009
I'm happy the Star has put Dr Jaffe's toxic comments at the bottom of the article, where they belong. I have yet to hear that psychologist come out with an opinion that would hint at some sympathy for dads.Submitted by GeraldGauthier at 8:56 PM Tuesday, February 03 2009
Pitting a child against a parent is hardly a 'differing parenting style'. It's terribly sad when a parent uses their child(ren) to get back at a spouse. Some don't stop at that but will actually kill a child to get back at their spouse, and some think it's enough to have the child hate them. What people are capable of doing to their children is abominable.
Submitted by sisNorth at 12:43 PM Tuesday, February 03 2009
At one point I thought I was an alienated child. In my home, I was not even allowed to mention my father's name around my mother or younger sister. It was as if he didn't exist. When I did go to visit him, (which was rarely), I had to tell my sister that I was going to stay with a friend. Although my mother was wrong for taking such a hard stance on the matter, as an adult I can understand why she did so. My father was very unreliable emotionally and financially, and had betrayed my mother's trust many times. It was not until I was an adult that he did the same to me and I realized that her "toxic" stance was nothing more than self-preservation. That being said, I agree that this program is essential, as long as it educates the child to be able to form their OWN judgements.
Submitted by Tupps at 10:45 AM Tuesday, February 03 2009
This is a symptom of a broken system
It is sad that once again we must fix (or attempt to fix) symptoms of a severely broken Family Law system. When you give all the power, money and control to one parent, the end result can be devastating. After getting the kids and the cash, everything and the world is still not enough - they must drive a final spike in the other parent. And there is little an alienated parent can do but spends years in court and years in therapy. It is not just these big cases the alienation at some level occurs. It is the day-to-day cases where one parent (i.e dad) is kicked out of the kids lives and made to suffer. Reform the divorce act now! Its about time...Submitted by ReformTheAct at 9:59 AM Tuesday, February 03 2009
From fringe theory to Fact
Not so many years ago, PAS was a fringe theory, unsupported by evidence, ignored by Judges in their determinations. Suddenly, its accepted. We in the Fathers (Childrens) rights movement recognized it 20 years ago. How long will it take to recognize that maximum contact with both parents, is almost always in the Childs best interest following a family breakup?
Submitted by Equaljustice.ca at 9:12 AM Tuesday, February 03 2009
Thank goodness the courts are realizing the need for such a program. I'm happy for the children involved, they can only benefit from this. Hopefully soon, someone will design a program for adult children and their alienated parents.
Submitted by dblock at 7:36 AM Tuesday, February 03 2009