Ludwig.F. Lowenstein Ph.D
Southern England Psychological Services
published by Able Publishers, 13 Station Road, Nebworth, Hertfordshire,
Parent Alienation Syndrome - A Two Step Approach Towards a Solution
The main pioneer in the area of alienation syndrome frequently
termed parental alienation syndrome was Richard Gardner (1992; 1995).
He drew attention to the gross injustice that frequently occurred
mostly in relation to fathers being rejected from the family as
a result of separation or divorce. His two books, "True and
False Accusations of Child Sex Abuse", and "Protocols
for Sex Abuse Evaluation" are landmarks in the area of parental
alienation syndrome. He has worked for many years as a forensic
psychologist dealing with cases in the courts in the United States.
He has also written an Addendum UI entitled "Recommendations
for Dealing with Parents who Induce a Parental Alienation Syndrome
in their children" (1996). Virtually all subsequent work carried
out has taken heed of his own investigations and most importantly,
his evaluations of the alleged child victim, the accused and the
accuser. He broke down the various aspects related to alleged child
sexual abuse into various criteria. This has resulted in myself
(1993 a, b) developing an inventory and interview procedure based
on his work and dealing with the alleged victim of sexual abuse,
the alleged abuser and the accuser. Although from time to time matters
are reversed and the alienation syndrome refers to the mother being
left out of the family conciliation, most often it refers to fathers
since the courts and western societies tend to favour mothers as
custodians of their children and unfortunately frequently as sole
Among the evaluation aspects of males accused of sexual abuse (Gardner,
1995) were numerous factors. These included:
- History of family influences conducive to the development of
- Long standing history of emotional deprivation.
- Intellectual impairment.
- Childhood history of sex abuse.
- Long standing history of sex abuse.
- Coercive dominated behaviour.
- Passivity and impaired self-assertion.
- Substance abuse.
- Poor judgment.
- Impaired sexual interests, in age appropriate women.
- Presence of other sexual deviations.
- Immaturity and/or regression.
- Large collection of child pornographic materials.
- Career choice that brings him in contact with children.
- Recent rejection by female peer or dysfunctional heterosexual
- Unconvincing denial.
- Use of rationalisation and cognitive distortion to justify paedophilia.
- Utilisation of seductivity.
- Attitude towards taking a He detector test.
- Lack of cooperation in the evaluative examination.
- Duplicity unrelated to the sex abuse denial and psychopathic
- Numerous victims.
Studies by Clawar and Rivlin (1991) in a book entitled, "Children
Held Hostage", reviewed some of the methods used, usually by
mothers to induce the alienation against the fathers. These include:
- Intimidation and threat.
- Guilt induction.
- The "buy-off'.
- Playing the victim.
- Suggesting the child or parent will experience loneliness and
- Parental promise to change themselves and/or conditions.
- Parental over-indulgence and permissiveness.
- Telling the "truth" to the child about past events.
The authors emphasise that "brain-washing and programming"
are used by parents seeking to alienate their children from another
Other recent literature on the Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS)
and reaction to separation and divorce were covered under the subject
of: (A) Problems associated with divorce and especially acrimonious
relationships between parents; (B) the role of mediation by professionals
as an alternative to legal sanctions.
We will now look at each of these in turn.
A. Problems Associated with Divorce and Especially Acrimonious
Relationships Between Parents
This section deals with those who refuse mediation as opposed to
those who accept such approaches. Buchanan et al (1991) examined
adolescents' feelings of being caught between parents to see whether
this construct helped to explain (1) variability in their post-divorce
adjustments and (2) associations between family/child characteristics
and adolescent adjustment. 522 subjects aged 10.5 - 18 years from
165 families were interviewed after their parents' separation. Feeling
caught between parents was related to high parental conflict and
hostility and low parental cooperation. Being close to both parents
was associated with low feelings of being caught. The relation between
time spent with each parent and feeling caught depended on the co-parenting
relationship. Subjects in dual residence were especially likely
to feel caught up when parents were in high conflict. Feeling caught,
was related to poor adjustment outcomes.
Problems associated with divorce and causing legal confrontations
were noted by Johnston & Campbell (1993). They reported data
on allegations of domestic violence in two samples of high conflict
families in child custody disputes. Sample l comprised 80 divorcing
parents disputing custody and visitation of their 100 children,
aged 1-12 years, and sample 2 comprised 60 divorcing parents with
75 children aged 3-12 years. Five basic types of inter parental
violence and corresponding patterns in parent-child relationships
were indicated: (1) ongoing and episodic male battering, (2) female
initiated violence, (3) male-controlling interactive violence, (4)
separation-engendered and post-divorce trauma, and (5) psychotic
and paranoid reactions. It was hypothesised that children's adjustment
were more disturbed in divorcing families litigating custody where
the domestic violence had been more severe and repetitive and where
it was perpetrated predominantly by men compared with women. The
results supported this hypothesis. Also the long term effects of
parental divorce on parent-child relationships, adjustment and achievement
in young adulthood was studied by Zill et al (1993). Longitudinal
data from the National Survey of Children were examined to investigate
whether effects of parental divorce were evident in young adulthood.
Among 18-22 year old from disrupted families, 65% had poor relationships
with their fathers and 30% with their mothers. 25% had dropped out
of high school, and 40% had received psychological help. Even after
controlling for demographic and socioeconomic differences, youths
from disrupted families were twice as likely to exhibit these problems
as youths from non-disrupted families. A significant effect of divorce
on mother-child relationships was evident in adulthood, whereas
none was found in adolescence. Youths experiencing disruption before
6 years of age showed poorer relationships with their fathers than
those experiencing disruptions later in childhood. Overall, remarriage
did not have a protective effect, but there were indications of
amelioration among those who experienced early disruption.
The effects of family composition, family health, parenting behaviour
and environmental stress on children's divorce adjustment was considered
by Ellwood & Stolberg (1993). The subjects, aged 8-11 years
included 18 children whose parents remained married, 46 whose parents
were divorced, and 17 whose parents divorced and subsequently remarried.
Custodial parents completed questionnaires regarding family functioning,
occurrence of stressful life events, and child's psychosocial adjustment.
Children completed the Children's Report of Parent Behaviour Inventory
and a self-perception profile for children. A trained examiner conducted
a diagnostic interview of the child. Family composition had a significant
effect on occurrence of stressful events and change in income but
not children's adjustment. The most powerful predictors of child
adjustment were family competence variables. Higher levels of family
functioning were associated with families where parental hostility
was low and parents displayed few rejecting behaviours while practising
consistent and appropriate discipline.
The parental alienation syndrome was studied in sixteen selected
cases by Dunne & Hedrick (1994). They analysed 16 cases of divorcing
families in which one or more of the children, aged 0-14 years in
the family had rejected a parent after divorce to validate the work
of Richard Gardner, previously mentioned. Cases were taken from
the caseloads of clinicians working with the families. The cases
met the majority of Gardner's criteria, including an obsessive hatred
of the alienated parent on the basis of trivial or unsubstantiated
accusations and complete support for the alienating parent. Although
the cases showed a wide diversity of characteristics, Gardner's
criteria were useful in differentiating these cases from other post-divorce
difficulties. PAS (Parental Alienation Syndrome) appeared to be
primarily a function of the pathology of the alienating parent and
that parent's relationship with the children and PAS did not signify
dysfunction in the alienated parent or in the relationship between
that parent and the child.
Expanding the parameters of parental alienation syndrome was the
work of Cartwright (1993). PAS resulted from the attempt by one
parent to alienate a child from the other parent. Because PAS was
newly recognised and described, it had to be newly defined and redefined
as new cases were observed and the phenomenon became better understood.
New evidence suggested that PAS was provoked by other than custodial
matters, that cases of alleged sexual abuse were hinted at, that
slow adjustments by courts exacerbated the problem, that prolonged
alienation of the child triggered other forms of mental illness
and that too little remained known of the long term consequences
to alienated children and their families.
Turkat (1994) studied child visitation interference in divorce.
This was to raise an awareness of the problem among psychologists
seeking to find solutions to these difficulties. From the clinical
and legal literature, there appeared to be at least three types
of situations related to child visitation interference: acute interference,
parental alienation syndrome, and divorce related malicious mother
syndrome. The associated difficulties in handling this problem in
the legal system were considered.
Amato & Rezac (1994) tested the hypothesis that children's
contact with non-resident parents (NRPs) decreased children's behaviour
problems when inter-parental conflict was low but increased children's
behaviour problems when inter-parental conflict was high. Data was
analysed in 1,285 children aged 5-18 years of single parent families
from the National Survey of Families and Households. The subjects,
resident parents, reported on the frequency of interaction between
the child and NRP and the conflict between the resident and NRP.
When the resident parent reported little conflict with the NRP,
boys who had a high level of involvement with the NRP were said
to have fewer behavioural problems. However, when the resident parent
reported to have conflict with the NRP, boys who had a high level
of involvement with the NRP were said to have a larger number of
behavioural problems. No support for the hypothesis was found among
girls, regardless of the family background.
A therapist's view of parental alienation syndrome was studied
by Lund (1995). She explored different reasons why a child might
reject one parent in a divorced family and the ways of helping such
families. Cases in which a child resisted contact with a parent
had or had not to fit R.A. Gardner's theory of Parent Alienation
Syndrome (PAS), which emphasised the psychopathology of alienating
parents. The reasons for parental rejection were many according
to this investigator. They could be due to (1) developmentally normal
separation problems, (2) deficits in the non-custodial parent's
skills, (3) oppositional behaviour, (4) high conflict divorced families,
(5) serious problems, not necessarily abuse, and (6) child abuse.
Gardner recommended legal and therapeutic interventions based on
whether the case was assessed to be one of mild, moderate, or extreme
parental alienation. Success in the treatment of the PAS cases was
to be defined as the maintenance of some contact between parent
The impact of parental divorce on the attainment of the developmental
tasks of young adulthood was considered by Johnson et al (1995).
They assessed the impact of parental divorce on the development
of 125 undergraduates (88 women), aged 19-53 years, who completed
a demographic questionnaire, the Personal Authority in the Family
System Questionnaire (college version), and the conflict sub scale
of the Family Environment Scale. The results indicated that parental
divorce and family conflict significantly interfered with developmental
tasks attained. The interactions between sex and age and family
structure, i.e. single parents or step family were also significant
predictors of post-divorce task attainment. Therapists needed to
help these individuals attain "emotional middle ground"
by separating and individuating from their family without emotionally
cutting off or remaining connected through anger.
B. The Role of Mediation as an Alternative to Legal Sanctions
Kelly (1991) compared the interactions and perceptions of two groups
of divorcing parents using different dispute resolution processes
at final divorce and at l and 2 years post-divorce. The effectiveness
of a comprehensive divorce mediation process was contrasted to the
more customary 2 attorney adversarial process. The mediation sample
at 2 years post-divorce consisted of 52 subjects, and the adversarial
sample consisted of 73 subjects. The subjects in the divorce mediation
group reported less conflict, more contact and communication, and
a more positive attitude towards the other parent at final divorce.
The majority of differences favouring the mediation intervention
continued through the first year after divorce and disappeared by
the second year post divorce data collection.
Following a contested custody case, parents who had won custody
of their child appeared to need a particular kind of psychological
help to prevent the development of the problems to which children
of divorce were subject, (Solomon, 1991). The critical time was
between the 3rd and 6th month after the court had awarded custody
of the child to the parent with whom the child had been living.
Three case studies illustrated the nature and timing of the necessary
interventions. The therapeutic interventions (1) made the parent
aware of the changes in his/her perception of the child and the
reasons underlying these changes, (2) furnished the parent with
several bodies of information, and (3) made the links between these
factors and events occurring in his/her family.
I concerned myself with the manipulation which parents carry out
in seeking child custody(1992). It was vital to weigh up the removing
of children from the home and the danger to the child in placing
him/her with one or other parent without making adequate provisions
for the other parent who was capable of playing an important role
in the child or children's lives. He emphasised the importance of
carrying out what he termed, a group diagnostic interview which
was capable of leading to further meetings, leading eventually to
cooperation and the avoidance of continued disputes and legal actions.
The fact that PAS occurred in which the controlling parent frequently
accused the parent seeking contact of sexual abuse needed to be
properly investigated. Allegations of sexual abuse need not necessarily
with certainty signify that this has occurred. Unfortunately, very
often this is the case and very often fathers, particularly, lose
contact with their children due to false accusations of sexual abuse
carried out by (usually) the mother in seeking to avoid children
having contact with their rightful father. It is the role of psychologists
carrying out tasks of mediation to help the antagonists find a solution
which, at least in part, provides what they seek.
Geffner, (1992) focused on techniques and issues concerning mediation
of abusive couples during and after separation or divorce. A questionnaire
was presented that was used to help identify abusive relationships.
It was important that the wife and the children were safe during
mediation, since research showed that more batterers had murdered
their wives during this time period when divorce was imminent. Since
the balance of power was unequal in the relationship, mediation
had had to be modified so that the situation became neutral. The
mediator had to model ways of dealing with intimidation. Other issues
facing mediators in these cases involved living arrangements, conversion
changes in children, financial support, joint custody, and parent
Mediation strategies discussed by Bonney (1993) proposed that the
focus of child custody evaluation and mediation was to be broadened
beyond custody arrangement to consideration of the range of factors
that had an impact on post-divorce relationships. The amount of
conflict between parents, parental agreement on access, use of support,
parental well-being, and parent-child relationships were factors
associated with children's post-divorce adjustment. Strategies for
involving parents in drafting agreements to guide relationships
with each other and with the children were offered. These included
communication, consistent discipline, warmth and support, encouraging
a relationship with the other parent, and listening to the feelings
and sharing values.
Kurkowski et al (1993) used a brief educational intervention to
reduce the number of times divorced parents put their children in
the middle of parental conflict. 98,9m-12th graders were divided
into two groups: a 49 member intact family group and a 49 member
divorced group (subjects from divorced or separated homes). An intervention
group consisted of 45 of the 49 subjects, who were located for post-intervention
assessment. The subjects completed a questionnaire, which rated
the frequency and stressfulness of 32 situations into which a parent
had put them "in the middle", within the past month. Parents
of the intervention group were mailed the subjects' averaged responses
and an explanatory letter. The same 32-item questionnaire was given
about one month after the mailing as the intervention evaluation.
The subjects in the intervention group improved more than the two
control groups combined.
Lowenstein (1994) considered the Child and Child Sex Abuse Allegations.
There were serious allegations which needed to receive a thorough
examination by anyone investigating them. It was felt however that
frequently allegations were considered to be valid even if disproved
eventually. In those circumstances both the victim of alleged child
sexual abuse as well as the alleged perpetrator had to be protected
by the truth and justice done to both. It was felt that what was
urgently required was an objective assessment of allegations of
child sexual abuse in the interview situation and the use of more
sophisticated psychological tests or inventories specifically constructed
to assess children as well as the accused and the accuser. Lowenstein
(1993a,b) developed a Sexual Abuse Personality Inventory (LSAPI)
which was yet unpublished, and had restricted use by the author
only. Lowenstein (1994) also considered that many interviewers of
children were leading them in the direction of assuming that sexual
abuse had taken place and provided an actual illustration in his
paper. The use of Gardner's paper (1992) and his true or false accusation
interview and process were recommended.
Paterson & Steinman (1994) described the development, goals
and preliminary evaluation of the Helping Children Succeed After
Divorce (HCSD) Seminar mandated by the domestic relations court
of Franklin County, Ohio. The programme was designed to educate
divorcing parents about the effects of divorce and parental conflict
on their children. HCSD was a two and a half hour seminar presented
by two mental health professionals. It covered the adult's and child's
divorce experience, co-parental relationship building, and problem
solving. An evaluation involving 600 initial HCSD participants,
indicated that response to HCSD was favourable; following HCSD participation,
the majority of the parents were more aware of their children's
divorce experience, the importance of a continued relationship with
their former spouse, and options available for resolution of child-related
A view of the methods used in litigation and child custody evaluations
was carried out by Hysjulien et al (1994). They reviewed the current
assessment methods used in child custody (CC) litigation and mediation
and discussed their reliability and validity. Existing outcome studies
concerned CC evaluations and were presented. Psychological tests,
semi-structured interviews, and behavioural observations of parents
and children in CC disputes were reviewed. The related issues of
child abuse, sexual abuse, domestic violence and parental alienation
syndrome were discussed. There was little empirical evidence to
support the efficacy of methods typically used by professionals
in making recommendations to the court. This view was not shared
by Lowenstein (1997a) in his unpublished work, "The Law and
Protecting the Child and Accused from False Sex Abuse Allegations"
and his work in the area of shared parenting after divorce (Lowenstein,
1997b) unpublished study.
Parent Alienation Syndrome - A Two Step Approach Towards a Solution
The case which follows illustrates one of a dozen other cases which
have involved me in seeking to find a solution to long term acrimonious
parents. It involves a two-step approach to finding a solution.
The first step is obviously the one which is preferred because it
involves the voluntary cooperation of both parents in finding a
solution which is mutually satisfying.
Frequently, adversarial approaches have gone on for a long period
and have failed to resolve the essential issue. This is whether
an alienated parent will be allowed to have contact with the children
which may result in better times for the children through the improved
parental relationship. The second approach essentially establishes
who is the cooperative and who is uncooperative as a parent and
takes issue with the uncooperative parent by depriving that parent
of autonomy in deciding on the matter of who shall take part in
further contact with the children involved in the relationship.
Needless to say, anyone dealing with warring parents will note
that each attempts to portray the other in the most dismal or black
light as possible vis a vis their behaviour and attitudes. Little
can be achieved through this approach and certainly those who suffer
the most as a result are likely to be the children who are confused
by warring parents, or who are poisoned by one parent against the
other. Usually the parent who has contact initially on a total basis
with the children is able to portray the other parent as evil and
unworthy of playing a parental role. Most cases involve mothers
who have contact with their children and fathers who seek such contact
but who have been prevented from playing a parental role by the
Each parent attempts to portray the other as being unfit to play
the part of a parent and in the most severe cases such allegations
are made as sexual abuse. Alternatively a parent may be said to
fail to provide sufficient support, care, guidance or discipline.
In my experience the adversarial system leads itself splendidly
towards being manipulated by one or both parents and there is a
failure to find a solution. Frequently an impasse is reached where
the parent who currently retains control of the children retains
such control despite the fact that the other parent could play an
effective role in the parenting arrangement. In later years the
children themselves acknowledge the fact that they have been poisoned
against the other parent unjustifiably and both parents suffer,
especially that parent who has sought to keep the other out of the
parental rearing arrangement.
Now follows the kind of scenario which supports the importance
of having the two-step approach previously mentioned.
The case of X versus Y
As a Consultant Psychologist trained in both forensic, clinical
and educational psychology, I have found it useful to involve both
parents in a discussion which could lead to a solution in front
of a judge. The approach commences as follows: The psychologist
sees each of the partners separately gaining insight into what each
feels about the situation and seeking any common ground that may
exist between the two waning factions. It is made clear to both
parties that that partner who fails to cooperate with the psychologist
in seeking a true, positive and constructive solution is likely
to fail to benefit from the decision of the court. It is of course,
imperative that the psychologist has the mandate through the court
to be able to engage both parents, initially separately, in discussions
to find a solution to a problem which, in many cases, has lasted
for a long period of time.
Once it has been established that some form of rapport exists between
the psychologist and both members, having seen them separately,
then the two parties in the dispute are brought together by the
psychologist for a mutually valuable positive and constructive engagement
to find a solution which will be agreeable to both, although not
totally agreeable in every way to both sides. It is frequently necessary
in this situation that past acrimonies and hurt of both members
of the dispute are not brought into the open, but rather the finding
of a solution to the problem becomes the primary objective.
Once a decision has been reached by the psychologist in line with
what he has found from both parents, this is then brought before
the court for a decision to be made on a legal basis, having as
already stated, obtained the consent to this decision by both parties.
Should one or other of the parties fail to cooperate, it would
then be necessary to go to Step 2., which follows.
The court will have witnessed the cooperation or lack of cooperation
of one or both members of the dispute in earlier sessions and will
have mandated the psychologist to seek to find a solution which
it will be possible for the court to implement in due course. The
court's reaction will be at least partly dependent on the evidence
obtained from the warring factions on their desire or willingness
to cooperate in finding a solution or the reverse tendency. Unless
the case is proven against one or other of the parties that there
has been serious derelictions in parental responsibility and in
the extreme form, that that has been proven to be sexual abuse,
it must be considered that both parties have a right to the responsibility
of caring for their children, be it the father or the mother. The
degree of the responsibility and the degree of contact must be decided
upon by the court, perhaps with the advice of the mental health
workers such as the psychologist or others.
The fact that both parents are aware that the law will take a hand
if they fail to be cooperative as in Step l, should incline them
to seek a solution together rather than have it imposed upon them
by the actions of the court. There are however, situations where
one or both parties fail to respond in a voluntary sense and hence
it is vital to have Step 2 available, this being dependent on the
reaction to Step l.
Comparing the Adversarial Legal Approach to Mediation Approaches
in Parental Alienation Syndrome
What follows is the result of a study over 10 years in dealing
with 16 cases which used a purely adversarial approach and 16 which
relied virtually totally on the mediation method.
Table l illustrates the time taken by the adversarial approach
without necessarily achieving a resolution of the problems and a
mediation approach in PAS type cases.
Table 1 - Mediation Approach and Adversarial Approach - Time Taken
to Achieve a Solution
< 6 months
*This case was ultimately settled via mediation.
Table 2 - Degree of Ultimate Satisfaction After Mediation (52
children - 32 parents, no. of cases = 32)
Less than Satisfied
Table 3 - Degree of Ultimate Satisfaction Without Mediation (16
families, 49 children, n = 32)
Less than Satisfied
Summary of Research
The pioneer in the area of Parental Alienation Syndrome and False
Allegations as well as True Allegations of Sexual Abuse must be
Dr. Richard Gardner (1992; 1995). He was one of the first to draw
attention to the injustices committed by alienating parents. Included
in this book I (Lowenstein (1993a, b), have attempted to develop
an Inventory and Interview Technique to identify true and false
alleged sexual abuse of victims, accuser and the accused. I was
guided by Gardner, 1994 and his own factors are involved in true
and false accusations mostly associated with parental alienation
syndrome. Clawar & Rivlin in their book "Children Held
Hostage" also allude to the serious associated problems of
parental alienation syndrome.
Numerous investigators have discovered the problems associated
with divorce and the estrangement between formerly close parents
and how this affects the children following an acrimonious ending
of the relationship between the parents. All investigators indicate
the importance of parents developing a way of dealing with their
resentment for the benefit of their children as well as for one
Frequently alienation occurs and strategies are used by one or
both partners to denigrate the role played by the other partner
in the relationship, most especially in their conduct towards their
own children. False allegations frequently result which hamper the
capacity of those seeking to find a solution to an on-going problem.
Where litigation is continuous and acrimony particularly rampant,
children tend to develop various reactions including neuroses and
behavioural difficulties as well as educational problems. These
children also tend to have poorer relationships with adults once
they themselves have matured.
Psychologists and others must distinguish between pathological
relationships between one partner and the children, as well as with
the alienating partner and recognise when this is manufactured for
the purpose of controlling children and preventing the alienated
partner from having contact with their children. Alleged sexual
abuse is just one of the strategies used by a partner to eliminate
the other from having contact with children which are their joint
offspring. Most research has concluded that inter-parental conflict
reduces the likelihood of children developing normally.
The recommendation by Gardner that both legal and therapeutic intervention
is vital to obviate further harmful consequences for the children,
cannot be over-emphasised. Following the success there is a greater
likelihood that PAS (Parental Alienation Syndrome) is reduced or
eliminated altogether. With one to three or one to four marriages
leading to divorce or separation, there is a great urgency to develop
plans to make certain that both parents can continue to play a role
in the lives of their children.
The role of mediation performed by psychologists and other mental
health workers produces the positive and constructive result which
is desirable for all concerned. It is important to link the benefits
of this to children in both the educational and therapeutic process
wherein the parents must be involved. As a result of such approaches,
litigation plays a lesser role and mediation a greater one.
Conclusions and Recommendations
1. It is urged that mediation play a larger role in cases of parental
alienation syndrome. Those most likely to be effective in helping
parents and eventually their children are psychologists, psychiatrists
and other mental health professional workers.
2. There is also considerable evidence that mediation approaches
are found superior to adversarial approaches although the combination
of the two cannot be ruled out.
3. Judges and Magistrates must take heed of the most recent research
which psychologists and others have carried out to indicate the
role played by themselves in seeking to repair pathological relationships
that have developed due to the parent alienation syndrome.
4. It is vital to have the court and its power overseeing that
the mediation process occurs effectively. It is especially important
for the court to take cognisance with any parent who fails to cooperate
in the process and to take appropriate action. This may well mean
that the parent who fails to cooperate after ascertaining that both
parents have done nothing pathologically wrong in relation to their
children, will be duly dealt with through the court's action.
It will take a considerable period of time and the pioneering spirit
and courage of British justice to heed the advice which has been
given in this article. Judges may see their role as more than perpetuators
of previous cases and seek new ways of dealing with difficult issues
such as parental alienation syndrome and probably other cases. The
adversarial system does not lend itself particularly well to such
issues albeit it is ingrained in British justice as the method forward
and the most fair way of dealing with a variety of offences and
problems faced by members of society. Furthermore the methods advocated
for bringing in expert witnesses to deal with such cases as marital
problems and issues and parental alienation syndrome does not dilute
the power of the Court for it still retains the option of ruling,
in the final analysis, as is noted in Step 2. Step l provides the
Court with an additional way which is always preferable when the
parties concerned in the dispute can be helped to solve their problems
without the teeth of judicial decisions being immediately utilised.
It is now vital to consider the importance of appointing Expert
Witnesses by the Court to act as intermediaries between the parents
and the Court and to seek reconciliation of some kind by deliberately
focusing on the positive aspects of the relationship between the
former partners. This is the best way forward whereby children will
benefit and parents equally will be able to play a positive and
constructive role in rearing such children. At the present time,
through the adversarial system, there is often the use of two expert
witnesses, one on each side, and their loyalty may well be to their
"camp" rather than to seeking a solution which is favourable
or as favourable as possible to both parties rather than merely
to seek the advantages for their own side. A person attempting such
work must be highly experienced and qualified to carry out this
important work for the individual concerned be he/she a psychiatrist,
or a psychologist, and must be able to win the confidence of both
parents if possible and thereby seek their cooperation after often
highly acrimonious periods which have resolved nothing between the
parents and the judicial system seeking to fïnd the most appropriate
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