Monday, February 22, 2010

Campaign to include PAS in DSM-5

A joint parenting blogger writes:
a campaign to include Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) in the fifth edition of the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,” or DSM-5 ...

The Parental Alienation Syndrome or PAS is a mental disorder that appears during divorce/separation and/or child-custody disputes, and its primary symptom is the child’s unjustified rejection against the non-custodial parent. It grows out of the brainwashing performed by the custodial parent, who turns his or her children against the other parent, destroying this way the attachment between the children and the target parent. PAS is a very common and well-documented phenomenon. Estimates of children with PAS are close to 200,000 children in the U.S., the same amount as children with autism.
I think that it is good that these folks are raising awareness about PAS.

I am less sure that it is useful to call PAS a psychological disorder. Do psychologists know how to treat it? Is the plan to get the courts to order treatment? I would think that it would be more effective to just deny child custody to those who persist with PAS, on the theory that they are subverting a joint custody order. It would be up to the PAS parent to learn to cooperate somehow.

The DSM-5 editors have other motives that are not necessarily consistent with the needs and rights of kids and parents. So I am skeptical. But I guess that it would not hurt to publicize PAS.


Anonymous said...

I think you're right. Our problem is that the courts invent and create problems for kids/families to profit, then it labels it so they can profit by fixing/treating the problem that they, themselves created.

But, yeah, it does bring "awarenes" to some of it.

gwendomama said...

Another problem with this is that some angry dads hurl this 'diagnosis' at their ex wives because they are unwilling to accept their own consequences of their DV acts and can't see the kids without supervised visitation. I have heard this term suddenly and he is saturating anyone who will listen with tales of wrongdoing. Here's the caveat: The kids are in therapy and the therapist would know if there was any REAL 'PAS' going on - not something a parent could really HIDE from a professional, iykwim. Also? Kids don't go running to dad with open arms if PAS has been successful. EVERY DAY I am challenged with maintaining that daddy is a good person even though he hurt mommy. Do not underestimate the value and challenge of that task.