Parents Protest Child Abuse at the American Psychological Association (Washington, DC)
On Thursday, August 4, 2016, parents will be protesting at the headquarters of the American Psychological Association (APA) to highlight the contributions that psychotherapists make to child abuse. The protesting parents include members of two organizations, Truth Exposed and Parents United.
For example, Michael Allen of Phoenix, Arizona, wrote to the APA to say, "When I asked my wife for a divorce, she fled the state with our two children. She used therapy as a way to attempt to manufacture evidence, and I believe the therapist did not understand what was really happening."
Craig Childress, PsyD, a clinical psychologist, said, "The mental health response to the family pathology created by narcissistic and borderline personality parents is marked by rampant and clear professional incompetence, yet the APA remains silent to the pleas of loving parents for professional competence."
A second parent who spoke on condition of anonymity said, "My spouse was trying to take our children out of my life by making endless complaints about me to multiple therapists. They each initially missed the diagnosis, incorrectly thinking I must have caused our children to reject me. Later they admitted their diagnostic error, but the delay harmed our children."
A third parent wrote wrote to the APA to say, "Psychologists said divorce was my only option to stop the psychological abuse of my children, but because the court-appointed psychologists then missed the obvious diagnosis, they enabled child abuse, since the children are now alone with the psychologically abusive parent."
Over one hundred parents wrote similar letters telling their stories of incorrect diagnosis. Thousands of parents signed a petition asking for the APA to acknowledge the problem and improve the quality of training and expertise among its members with respect to the form of child abuse often called parental alienation, but this has not happened. Studies have shown that large numbers of parents are unhappy with how psychotherapists have handled their case.
In January 2014, Steven Miller, MD, an expert in clinical reasoning and a specialist in alienation and estrangement, testified in front of a legislative task force that was investigating the family court system. Among other things, he pointed out that "this field is highly counter-intuitive to anyone who does not have extensive training and experience dealing with it . . . most people will usually get it wrong."
In summary, Thursday's protest will highlight the widespread impression among parents that the average therapist simply is not competent to diagnose or treat the type of child abuse often called parental alienation.
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