Area of Focus
Each of our providers have continuing education in their area of focus. By gaining certifications in areas of interest and becoming an expert in their practice field, clients can be assured that they will receive the best care for their needs.
Parental Alienation: Vision Statement
My vision is for all children and parents to feel safe and secure in their relationships with one another.
Additional information about PA
My personal professional experience with PA began about eight years ago when I met with a woman who came to me seeking treatment for trauma at the recommendation of her primary care practitioner. She displayed many of the symptoms of trauma such as feelings of negative self-worth, worry, anxiety, depression, frequent and intrusive negative thoughts about her lack of a relationship with her children who were at the time young adults. This client had lost contact with her three young children when she came home from work one day and the house was empty. Her spouse had taken the children and most of the household items and left. She spent five years looking for them and when she finally found them, she discovered that she was no longer married and that she had lost all of her parental rights because her spouse had manipulated the courts and child protection agencies into believing that she had abandoned the children. She was never given the opportunity to have a relationship with her children. She had attempted to establish a relationship with her children as adults but they refuse to see her because they believe that she had abandoned them. It had been more than thirty years since this client lost her children and she still grieved the lost relationship.
When I encountered this situation and did more research. I discovered the many damaging impacts of this type of trauma on parents and children. As a result of this experience, I enrolled in an advance post graduate certificate program to learn more about PA. The most important thing that I took away from my training was that everyone in the family is hurt by alienation. First, PA is a form of child emotional and psychological abuse (Baker, 2007; Kelly & Johnston, 2001; Warshak, 2010). Second, the parent that is alienated experiences unresolved trauma symptoms (Tavares, Crespo & Ribeiro, 2020). Third, the parent that engages in alienating behaviors will have a family history that predisposes them to certain behaviors and beliefs that lead to alienating behaviors (Roma, Marchetti, Mazza, Ricci, Fontanesi, & Verrocchio, 2021).
My approach to treatment involves working with the entire family and any collateral contacts that may be involved with the family such as attorneys, teachers, other therapists, and extended family members as appropriate. All family members are important and treated with care and compassion for their struggles within these complex family dynamics. I inform my practice with research that supports specific interventions that I may recommend to help the family system heal.
Parental alienation is a relationship issue that occurs when parents of a child fight frequently. This usually occurs when there is divorce, but it can also occur in intact families. The child may take the side of one parent while refusing to have anything to do with the other parent. This can happen even when the child has had a previously positive relationship with the other parent and there is no abuse or neglect by the parent that the child has rejected.
A parent that has been rejected by their own child will often experience anxiety, fear, worry, loneliness, shame, isolation, guilt, irritability, anger, and may even consider suicide. If this sounds familiar to you then I encourage you to reach out for support. You are not alone in your struggle to have a healthy relationship with your child. In fact, in a 2016 study (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2016.04.021) it was estimated that more than 22 million adults, in the U.S. have experienced parental alienation.
Resources for parents and children:
Parental Alienation Study Group, https://pasg.info/
Family Access Fighting for Children’s Rights, https://www.familyaccessfightingforchildrensrights.com/
Adult Children of Parental Alienation Syndrome, Amy J Baker
Surviving Parental Alienation, Amy J Baker & Paul R Fine
Restoring Family Connections, Amy J Baker, Paul R Fine & Alianna Lacheen-Baker