Children Who Resist Post-Separation Parental Contact: A Differential Approach for Legal and Mental…

Paperback | August 9, 2012

byBarbara Jo Fidler, Nicholas Bala, Michael A. Saini

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Interest in the problem of children who resist contact with or become alienated from a parent after separation or divorce is growing, due in part to parents' increasing frustrations with the apparent ineffectiveness of the legal system in handling these unique cases. There is a need for legaland mental health professionals to improve their understanding of, and response to, this polarizing social dynamic. Children Who Resist Post-Separation Parental Contact is a critical, empirically based review of parental alienation that integrates the best research evidence with clinical insightfrom interviews with leading scholars and practitioners. The authors - Fidler, Bala, and Saini - a psychologist, a lawyer and a social worker, are an multidisciplinary team who draw upon the growing body of mental health and legal literature to summarize the historical development and controversies surrounding the concept of "alienation" and explain thecauses, dynamics, and differentiation of various types of parent-child relationship issues. The authors review research on prevalence, risk factors, indicators, assessment, and measurement to form a conceptual integration of multiple factors relevant to the etiology and maintenance of the problem ofstrained parent-child relationships. A differential approach to assessment and intervention is provided. Children's rights, the role of their wishes and preferences in legal proceedings, and the short- and long-term impact of parental alienation are also discussed. Considering legal, clinical, prevention, and intervention strategies, and concluding with recommendations for practice, research, andpolicy, this book is a much-needed resource for mental health professionals, judges, family lawyers, child protection workers, mediators, and others who work with families dealing with divorce, separation, and child custody issues.

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Interest in the problem of children who resist contact with or become alienated from a parent after separation or divorce is growing, due in part to parents' increasing frustrations with the apparent ineffectiveness of the legal system in handling these unique cases. There is a need for legaland mental health professionals to improve t...

Barbara Jo Fidler is a registered psychologist and accredited mediator in Ontario. Nicholas Bala is a Professor of Law at Queen's University and a leading expert on issues related to children and families in the justice system. Michael A. Saini is an Assistant Professor in the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work at the University o...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.68 inPublished:August 9, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019989549X

ISBN - 13:9780199895496

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Table of Contents

ContentsAbout the Authors1. Introduction1.1 The Prevalence of Alienation1.2 Prevalence of Alienation in Community Samples1.3 Increase in the Number of Alienation Cases1.4 Summary2. Definitions and Debates2.1 Historical Context2.2 The Difficulty in Defining Alienation2.3 Affinity and Alignment2.4 The Role of the Adversarial System and Professional Advisors2.5 Alienation Within the Context of High-Conflict Separations2.6 Distinguishing Alienation from Justified Rejection2.7 Mixed or Hybrid Cases2.8 Dynamics in Alienation Cases2.9 Alienation and False Allegations of Abuse2.10 Debates about Parental Alienation as a Diagnosis or Condition2.11 Summary3. Risk Factors and Indicators Involved in Alienation3.1 Extent and Limitations of Research on Alienation3.2 Current Evidence on the Social and Psychological Factors Associated with Alienation3.3 Interparental Factors Following Separation or Divorce3.4 Factors of the Favored Parent3.5 Factors of the Rejected Parent3.6 Factors of the Child3.7 Summary of Factors and Indicators4. Assessment and Measurement Tools for Alienation4.1 Clinical Judgment4.2 Decision Trees and Assessment Protocols4.3 Measurement Scales4.4 Differentiating Levels of and Responses to Strained Parent-Child Relationships5. Prognosis and Long Term Consequences of Untreated Alienation on Young Adults and Their Families5.1 The Impact of Alienation on Children and Adults who were Alienated as Children5.2 Spontaneous Reconciliation5.3 When to Suspend Efforts or Letting Go6. Prevention6.1 Universal or Primary Prevention6.2 Public Awareness6.3 Selected or Secondary Prevention6.4 Indicated or Tertiary Prevention6.5 Summary7. Interventions, Educational and Therapeutic7.1 The Role of the Court in Educational and Therapeutic Interventions7.2 Principles and Guidelines7.3 Goals of Counseling7.4 Treatment Modalities, Approaches and Strategies7.5 Summary of Specific Interventions, Protocols or Approaches7.6 Aftercare, Training, Accessibility and Costs of Interventions7.7 Concluding Comments8. Hearing the Voices of Children in Alienation Cases8.1 Children's Stated Wishes: Clinical Perspectives8.2 Children's Right of Participation8.3 Children's Stated Wishes: Weight in the Courts8.4 Methods for Courts Hearing the Views and Wishes of Children8.5 Concluding Comments: Principles, Policies and Research9. Legal Responses to Alienation and Contact Problems9.1 Child's 'Rights,' Parental Duties and the Best Interests of the Child9.2 The Role of Mental Health Experts in Resolving Alienation Cases9.3 Enforcement issues and Judicial Remedies9.4 Therapeutic Interventions and the Court Process9.5 The Content of Agreements and Orders for Therapeutic Involvement9.6 Adjusting Visitation and Interim Orders9.7 Contempt of Court: Punitive Sanctions and Behavioral Conditions9.8 Police Enforcement9.9 Supervision of Contact9.10 Award of Legal Fees9.11 Joint Custody - Increasing Time in Care of Target Parent9.12 Custody Reversal: an Option for Severe Cases9.13 Suspension of Contact9.14 Deciding Not to Enforce Contact Despite Alienation9.15 Financial Penalties9.16 Case Management - The Need for Judicial Control9.17 Child Protection Agency Involvement9.18 The Importance of Timely Legal Intervention9.19 Conclusion: The Law as a Blunt but Necessary Instrument10. Recommendations for Practice, Policy and ResearchReferences