Suggestions on how to help counsel a 10yo where you suspect parent alienation? How do you approach the parent you suspect may be sharing hurtful information about the other parent or suggesting the child ignore the parent?
What a great line of questioning, Eric — and a very serious one that requires a sound answer [many thanks for giving me time to gather my thoughts!] First and foremost, I don’t suggest approaching the suspected alienator. That is, until you’ve examined the research and treatment option(s) that best guide a comprehensive intervention.
Next, and as you probably know, the construct of alienation has been examined for decades. Besides, there is inadequate empirically validated evidence about the origins, treatments, and outcomes even though there’s general agreement about the approaches parent(s) use to manipulate their children (Saini, 2018). Consequently, the clinician [and target parent alike] must move from binary ‘presence vs. absence’ thinking and allow for a more thorough and critical understanding.
Here are some of my go-tos for these super tough cases:
Peer-reviewed submissions and chapters by Michael Saini, Leslie Drozd, Nicholas Bala, Barbara Jo Fidler, William Austin…just to name a few…
Along with, ‘Divorce Poison’ by Richard Warshak; ‘Overcoming Parent-Child Contact Problems’ by Abigail Judge & Robin Deutsch; and much of Bill Eddy’s work. Oh, and membership with the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC). AFCC is an invaluable resource!
Continue to drill down, Eric, and tease out the finest evidence-informed decision for this kiddo and family. I’m sure you can agree since there’s no universal standard for parenting a thoughtful practitioner must remain open-minded and not align themself with circumstantial information. You got this! If you have further questions I’d be honored to answer them on this thread…
A closing thought – “In all social science research and all prediction, it is important that we be as explicit as possible about the degree of uncertainty that accompanies our prediction” (King et al., 1994, p. 212).