a campaign to include Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) in the fifth edition of the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,” or DSM-5 ...I think that it is good that these folks are raising awareness about PAS.
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 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.