Home > Parents > Parental Alienation: Finding the Right Therapist

Parental Alienation: Finding the Right Therapist

Parental Alienation

Finding the Right Therapist

Copyright 2017 by Monika Logan, M.A., LPC, LSOTP

Navigating through the trenches with a child who once loved you but now claims to hate you, rejects you, or refuses visitation can be a tough terrain without having a skilled guide. When parental alienation is suspected or detected, locating a forensically trained therapist is vital. However, finding the right therapist for your situation can in and of itself be a daunting task.

You will need to ensure the therapist has specialized training, as well as extensive experience, in working with troubled-parent child relationships. Therapists who lack an adequate understanding and competence in dealing with parental alienation may be too quick to accept at face value the favored parent’s and child’s representations of events.

Some therapists will list their experience in this specialized area on a curriculum vitae (CV). The therapist should have documented on his/her CV extensive training, known as Continuing Education Unites (CEUs) through organizations such as the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts. Realize that being “passionate” and “proficient” are not one and the same. There are numerous excellent therapists, who sincerely care about children and families, but not all have adequate training nor the experience in a forensic setting to work in this specialized area.

It is important for parents to understand that early intervention is key to offsetting unwarranted rejection by your child. Detecting alienating behaviors and distasteful antics early on can lead to greater successful outcomes in a therapeutic setting. A skilled therapist can assess when/if individual therapy is suited for your child and/or if a team approach is warranted in order to work with the entire family.

It is also key to realize that your therapist cannot diagnose a person he/she has not met. In today’s diagnostic label milieu, terms such as “sociopath” and “borderline” are flippantly tossed around. Buzz words run amok through social media and everyday conversations without any real critical thought behind the implications of the label(s). Bad behavior is simply bad behavior and most agree that alienating behavior is damaging to a child. Many people have traits of narcissism, borderline, or other mental health diagnoses, however, having a specific diagnosis does not in itself damage a parent-child relationship. On the contrary, blocking access, badmouthing, berating, and belittling are observable behaviors that are problematic.

Finally it is essential to be patient and recognize that the troubled-parent child relationship did not become damaged overnight. It takes time to repair and to restore fractured relationships.

Categories: Parents
  1. Dorothy
    November 26, 2017 at 10:31 AM

    I am struggling as my 15 year old son has been alienated against me by his dad and his dad’s family. He won’t see me and only writes one email a month, i send him birthday and Christmas gifts and money. It hurts soo much not too even receive as much as a mother’s day card. My son has autism and I know most of the emails are written and sent by his dad as my son has learning difficulties and I know when it’s from him as when he does occasionally write them he dosent use full stops, commas, question Marks ECT. I feel absolutely heartbroken and know not what too do or how too handle any of this. I am at my wits end. Thank you from Dee Campbell.

  2. Craig
    January 7, 2018 at 10:36 PM

    Any suggestions for Columbia SC? Any input would be welcome as my soon to be ex wife has made a real mess of my once amazing relationship with my daughter. Thanks

    • Molly
      January 10, 2018 at 9:49 PM

      my suggestion is hang on some day the child will want to know you.

  3. Katrina Smythe
    March 30, 2018 at 3:49 PM

    I am looking for a counsellor that specialises in Alienation. My 11 year old Son needs to engage in this without delay. It is also a court order.
    Can you point me in the right direction?
    I live in Hove. East Sussex.

    • Terry Lucyk
      April 5, 2018 at 1:50 AM

      Sorry I cannot help you. I live in Alberta Canada—- I think it will be hard to find someone with the qualification need — court order wow that is I think extreme. Good luck

    • April 19, 2018 at 12:48 PM

      Did you find a specialist counsellor Katrina Smythe?

  4. Kari
    May 30, 2018 at 9:52 PM

    I have read dozens of articles on PA recently because I’ve been forced to deal with it. A judge has ordered my husband, who took my daughter 10 weeks ago now, that I have not seen or spoken with at all, to schedule an appointment for reunification, the problem is finding someone qualified to go to. The psychology group court felt best to handle this situation is not taking any new clients. I have been searching, calling, emailing therapist in my area myself for over 3 weeks now and still haven’t found anyone in Bloomington, IN. What would be nice, is if there were an actual website of referrals for qualified clinicians throughout the country that one could call. Beacause PA is not yet a diagnosis, you can’t exactly go online and quickly do a refined search. It is a very painstaking process. If I do find someone that states they’re experienced in theses matters they tell me they’re not taking any new cases. It is so damn frustrating. Why isn’t there a website or network of qualified people you can get help from?

    • Lisa
      July 31, 2018 at 7:58 PM

      I am in Wisconsin and I to cannot find someone to help me in the alienation process. I have been searching for weeks now and unable to find someone to help. After 2 1/2 years in divorce, I received full custody and primary placements. My ex has sucessfully alienated by 16 and now 19 year old and is working on my 12 year old. I’m desperate to find someone to help before he gets to my 12 year old.

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