- LIZ TO GARDNER ON:
COMPULSIVE TREE PLANTING SYNDROME
Around July 8, 1999, Richard A. Gardner, M.D. put up a webpage entitled "MISPERCEPTIONS VERSUS FACTS ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTIONS OF RICHARD A. GARDNER, M.D."
Some of his responses to the questions ("misperceptions") which he himself apparently wrote, leave a little to be desired... and so this time liz responds directly.
- Between the horizontal lines on this webpage,
Gardner's words are in blue text unless otherwise indicated,
and liznotes are in black.
Gardner writes that it is a "misperception" that Gardner is biased against women.
Gardner writes: This cannot be reasonably substantiated by anything I have ever written, lectured on, or testified to in a court of law.
liz: Nevertheless, in Parental Alienation Syndrome you wrote:
"One outgrowth of this warfare (over custody) was the development in children of what I refer to as the Parental Alienation Syndrome. Typically, the child viciously vilifies one of the parents and idealizes the other. This is not caused simply by parental brainwashing of the child. Rather the children themselves contribute their own scenarios in support of the favored parent. My experience has been that in about 80 to 90 percent of cases the mother is the favored parent and the father the vilified one."
Gardner: When PAS is severe, or rapidly approaching the severe level, and the mother is the primary promulgator, then I recommend a change of custody. But this represents only a small percentage of cases...
liz: Mind giving us the number of contested custody cases in which you have "recommended" that custody be taken FROM the father?
Gardner: Furthermore, as fathers are now increasingly indoctrinating PAS in their children ... I find myself testifying even more frequently in support of women who have been victimized...
liz: "Even more frequently" would be just how much? And the "victim" here isn't the child, we note.
Gardner writes that it is a "misperception" that Gardner is an advocate for Men's Rights' Groups.
Gardner: I have never been a member of any Men's Rights' Groups... Many men in men's rights groups are very pleased with me because I played an important role in bringing to public attention the false sex-abuse accusation in the context of child-custody disputes and have testified in support of innocent men...
liz: And you know they are innocent... because? Nevertheless, you have been a featured speaker quite often for father's rights groups, such as the talk you are planning to give this summer for the CRC ("Children's Rights Council), a father's rights group.
Gardner writes that it is a "misperception" that Gardner testifies predominantly in support of men.
Gardner writes: There is absolutely no basis for this myth... the number of PAS-inducing men against whom I have testified has increased formidably, to the point where I see the ratio now to be about 50/50.
liz: Would that be PAS-inducing men as in stepfathers? Never mind. If your ratio is only now coming up to 50/50 (as you "see it" -- don't you KNOW?), then it would appear that there not only is basis for the perception, but it's also no "myth." I guess you choose to ignore your own words which have clearly said over and over again that PAS is committed mostly by mothers, as well as your constant talk of the PAS-committing parent as the mother, e.g.:
"Many of these children proudly state that their decision to reject their fathers is their own. They deny any contribution from their mothers. And the mothers often support this vehemently. In fact, the mothers will often state that they want the child to visit with the father and recognise the importance of such involvement, yet such a mother's every act indicates otherwise. Such children appreciate that, by stating the decision is their own, they assuage mothers guilt and protect her from criticism. Such professions of independent thinking are supported by the mother who will often praise these children for being the kind of people who have minds of their own and are forthright and brave enough to express overtly their opinions."
Gardner writes that it is a "misperception" that Gardner is a hired gun.
Gardner writes: ... First, every attempt must be made to involve me as the courtís independent examiner...
liz:... which would put the burden of half your fees on the mother, as well as give you the veneer of objectivity.
Gardner: If this fails I may be willing, after some exploration of the case, to be recognized as the inviting party's expert, but I make no promises beforehand that I will support that party's position. I require the inviting party to sign a document in which he (she) agrees to pay my fees, and even for my testimony, if I ultimately decide that the opposing party warrants my support.
liz: ...all of which is nothing more than a good way of making sure that you still get paid if the other side wins, and that you won't be in hot water if you slip and say the wrong thing on direct, or make some unfavorable comments on cross. It's also terrific "evidence" of your "objectivity" in the event your contract turns up in court. As a lawyer, I would expect nothing less in an expert witness's contract.
Gardner writes: There have been cases when in the course of my evaluation I have concluded that the opposing party's position is the more compelling one, and I have ultimately testified on that party's behalf.
liz: "Ultimately"... on cross-x? Which cases? We'd like a few examples in which the side that hired you actually called you as a witness after you told them you would be testifying for the other side.
Gardner writes that it is a "misperception" that Gardner's publications are not peer reviewed.
Gardner writes: I have published approximately 150 articles of which approximately 85 have been in peer review journals.
liz: In... peer-reviewed LEGAL journals? Or would you be alleging that Judith M. Simon is an incompetent medical editor who can't find these articles in peer-reviewed psychology or medical journals?
Gardner writes that it is a "misperception" that Gardner has his own publishing company, Creative Therapeutics, Inc., and publishes all his books through his own company.
Gardner writes: I do own Creative Therapeutics, Inc., and since 1978 I have published most (but not all) of my books through Creative Therapeutics. [blather about publications between 1960 and 1968 deleted.] In 1991 Bantam published the second edition of my book The Parents Book About Divorce... [blather about books printed in foreign languages deleted.] The main reason why, in recent years, I have published through Creative Therapeutics is that I have much more autonomy regarding book size and content, and the returns are more favorable.
liz: 'Nuff said. It's not a "misperception." It's the truth. And you do it because it gives you more autonomy regarding "book content." Those irritating peer-review things aren't a concern. Also the "returns are more favorable." It's the truth, not a "misperception." Can we expect this sort of twisting, distorting, quibbling and rationalizing from you in your expert court testimony, too? How about your reasoning generally, as in your scientific theory hypothesizing?
Gardner writes that it is a "misperception" that Gardner is on the Executive Board of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation (FMS Foundation).
Gardner writes: I have never been on this board...
liz: And who said you were? You are on the "peer review board" of UNDERWAGER'S vanity journal, and HE was on the board of the FMSF until he got himself removed for making pro-pedophile comments in an interview with PAIDIKA.
You also are on the "Joint Commission for TSM-BMD," the organization that is pretending that it is publishing an authorized "companion volume" to the DSM-IV.
Gardner writes: I am also in agreement with the Foundation's [FMSF] position that psychotherapy has been oversold to the public
liz: We wonder why you aren't saying the same thing about PAS testimony in family court. Guess the "returns" wouldn't be as favorable...
Gardner writes that it is a "misperception" that Gardner believes that pedophiles should be granted primary custody of their children.
Gardner writes: I consider pedophilia to be a psychiatric disorder, an abominable exploitation of children. I have never supported a pedophile in his (or her) quest for primary child custody. Because I have testified on behalf of falsely accused defendants, there are some who claim that I am reflexively protective of pedophiles and sympathetic to what they do. There is absolutely nothing in anything I have ever said or written to support this absurd allegation...
liz: How about explaining to the good folks out there the difference between pedophilia and sexual child abuse, and that just because a father molests his kid doesn't mean that he's a pedophile. And perhaps you would also like to go into how it's possible to say that so-and-so hasn't "abused" his kid by simply assigning a different meaning to the term "abuse." And also how it's possible to completely muddle up an issue of FACT as to whether there has been abuse by saying that you found "no pedophilic tendencies," as if that's a necessary condition precedent to sex abuse, and has anything to do with the facts of the matter.
When I conclude in a custody dispute that an accused father has pedophilic tendencies, I will advise the court to provide protection for the children. I never have recommended primary custody for such a parent, nor can I imagine myself ever doing so.
And just how often do you find these "pedophilic tendencies?" What about a non-pedophile accused father who just acts icky? Do you merely testify that you find "no pedophilic tendencies" and no "evidence of abuse?" Do you in this way get around the facts -- just drivel on about how he's not a pedophile, but SHE, on the other hand, is one of those dreaded child-abusing parental alienators? Or do you just recommend unsupervised visitation instead of primary custody? (Do you play these kinds of word games as part of your expert testimony?)
Gardner writes that it is a "misperception" that Gardner supports and is fully sympathetic to the practice of pedophilia.
Fact: There is absolutely nothing that I have ever said in any of my lectures, or anything that I have written in any of my publications to support this allegation. This is my position on pedophilia: I consider pedophilia to be a form of psychiatric disturbance. Furthermore, I consider those who perpetrate such acts to be exploiting innocent victims...
Was it someone else then, who wrote in your article, "A Theory of Human Behavior" that:
". . . Basically, the definition of a pedophile for a psychiatrist is what the nomenclature committee of the American Psychiatric Association considers to be a pedophile for that particular edition of the DSM . . . Pertinent to my theory here is that pedophilia also serves procreative purposes. . .
". . . Many societies, however, have been unjustifiably punitive to those who exhibit these paraphilic variations and have not given proper respect to the genetic factors that may very well be operative. Such considerations might result in greater tolerance for those who exhibit these atypical sexual proclivities. My hope is that this theory will play a role (admittedly small) in bringing about greater sympathy and respect for individuals who exhibit these variations of sexual behavior. . ."
In short, I have absolutely no sympathy for pedophiles, and the fact that I have testified in courts of law in defense of innocent parties -- who have been wrongly accused of pedophilia -- does not mean that I am in any way sympathetic to those who actually perpetrate such a heinous crime...
Is it me, or do I find a little bit of inconsistency going on here? Or are you simply talking about defending those falsely accused of "being pedophiles," never mind that they have, perhaps, been quite truthfully accused of doing vile deeds, and simply are not psychologically "pedophiles."
Gardner writes that it is a "misperception" that Gardner believes that everybody has pedophilic tendencies.
Gardner writes: I believe that all people are born with the potential to engage in every kind of atypical sexual behavior known to humanity.
And also crave it as a turn-on? 'Nuff said. Your beliefs are just that, and most likely say more about you than "all people." This would be a good response to an attorney who called you on your no-pedophile-tendency comments, though. "Does he have the potential to do this or that?" "Well, sure," you could say... "everybody has the potential."
It behooves parents and other caretakers to suppress socially unacceptable behavior and to channel the child's sexual urges into socially accepted forms.
Give us a break, Gardner. Children's natural pedophilic tendencies need to be suppressed? (How? By encouraging them to have sex with grown-ups instead of other children?) One can't even HAVE such tendencies until one grows up. It's not about natural tendencies being taught to be suppressed. It's about what otherwise would be ordinary natural growing up and maturing, and naturally being attracted to peer-age groups, but then getting stuck in some developmental rut. Did we all also have to have some tendency to want to schtup dogs or sheep, or to get peed on (as some "paraphilics" do) suppressed out of us?
Gardner writes that it is a "misperception" that Gardner believes that pedophilia is a good thing for society.
Gardner writes: I believe that pedophilia is a bad thing for society.
How about just "genital caressing" of children as a normal expression of familial warmth and love? Farrell seems to be a fan of that one. He's big with the CRC too.
Gardner writes that it is a "misperception" that Gardner is in strong support of the North American Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA).
Gardner writes: I have never been a member of this organization, and I am opposed to its primary principles.
liz: Just its primary principles?
Adult men who have sex with boys are exploiting them, corrupting them, and contributing to the development of sexual psychopathology in them. NAMBLA's position is that if the child consents, then the pedophilic act is acceptable and even desirable. This is a rationalization for depravity. Children can be seduced into consenting to anything, including murder. Society needs to protect itself from those who would exploit our children. Jail is one reasonable place to provide such protection.
Gardner writes that it is a "misperception" that Gardner believes that the vast majority of incestuous sex-abuse accusations are false.
Gardner writes: I believe that the vast majority of incestuous sex-abuse accusations are true... There are other categories of sex-abuse accusations, e.g. ... accusations in the context of child-custody disputes... It is in the category of child-custody disputes that I believe that the vast majority of accusations are false...
You like to quibble, don't you. Do you play these games when you testify? Are accusations in child custody disputes not primarily incestuous accusations? And don't you believe anyway that most of these incestuous accusations occur in the context of contested custody cases? (This is not true, but you have asserted this, haven't you?) My elipsis, above took out the below underlined part of your response:
e.g. accusations against babysitters, clergy, scout masters, teachers, strangers, and accusations in the context of child-custody disputes...
But these would not be "incestuous sex-abuse accusations," however. The only one in the entire list which fits the category you ostensibly were talking about is the kind you have uncategorically declared likely to be false. And those kinds of accusations by definition occur in the context which you also just happen to believe is where the majority of incestuous accusations arise. So there is no misperception at all. Do you obfuscate like this when you testify "objectively" in a contested custody case?
Gardner writes that it is a "misperception" that The PAS is not a syndrome.
Gardner writes: There are some who claim that the PAS is not really a syndrome. This criticism is especially seen in courts of law in the context of child-custody disputes. It is an argument sometimes promulgated by those who claim that PAS does not even exist. The PAS is a very specific disorder. A syndrome, by medical definition, is a cluster of symptoms, occurring together, that characterize a specific disease.
Wrong. A syndrome is a cluster of symptoms that UNIQUELY characterize a specific disease or disorder. Not commonly seen human behaviors that could indicate all kinds of different things. Moreover, when we are talking about MEDICAL syndromes, we usually can objectively test for the presence of the specific disease. You cannot do that in psychology.
Gardner writes: The symptoms, although seemingly disparate, warrant being grouped together because of a common etiology or basic underlying cause.
... a common etiology or basic underlying cause that ALSO can be independently and objectively verified. Like abnormal chromosomes. In other words, first we observe a particular, something unique, and then we observe that these other symptoms commonly go along with it. We observe a certain medical disease -- we can test for antibodies to it, and then note that other symptoms commonly go along with that. After a while, when we see the cluster of symptoms, we can be alerted to testing for a particular problem. Objectively testing, that is. In the case of PAS, however, the conclusion that the disorder is present cannot be made. There are only the symptoms. We don't even know that there IS any such "disease." You are presuming the existence of a disorder in order to then use that presumption to go backwards in order to recognize the "symptoms." You are claiming that because the symptoms (defined by you as this or that, but actually otherwise explainable behaviors) are present, then the disease must be present. That's a two-way fallacy of composition all dressed up in circular reasoning.
Furthermore, there is a consistency with regard to such a cluster in that most (if not all) of the symptoms appear together. Accordingly, there is a kind of purity that a syndrome has that may not be seen in other diseases. For example, a person suffering with pneumococcal pneumonia may have chest pain, cough, purulent sputum, and fever. However, the individual may still have the disease without all these symptoms manifesting themselves.
And the individual also might have the flu. Those symptoms do not prove pneumococcal pneumonia, do they. We have objective tests that will do that, however. A physician is not going to diagnose pneumonia in the absence of X-rays and/or another objective test. In the case of PAS, however, there is no objective test. In the case of PAS, we don't even have a disease, just some common symptoms.
The syndrome is more often "pure" because most (if not all) of the symptoms in the cluster predictably manifest themselves. An example would be Down's Syndrome, which includes a host of seemingly disparate symptoms that do not appear to have a common link. These include mental retardation, mongoloid-type facial expression, drooping lips, slanting eyes, short fifth finger, and atypical creases in the palms of the hands. There is a consistency here in that the people who suffer with Down's Syndrome often look very much alike and most typically exhibit all these symptoms. The common etiology of these disparate symptoms relates to a specific chromosomal abnormality. It is this genetic factor that is responsible for linking together these seemingly disparate symptoms. There is then a primary, basic cause of Down's Syndrome: a genetic abnormality.
However, things like an abnormal chromosome can be objectively proved. And symptoms such as a short fifth finger are quite unique and readily observable. Ditto the underlying chromosomal abnormality. In the case of PAS, by contrast, you have clustered arbitrary and quite vague "symptoms" that can be found to some degree in almost everyone, some of which are QUITE seemingly related, some of which even are dependent on the presumed existence of the alleged disorder for their very identification, all supposedly pointing to a fabricated explanatory disorder, and yet IT (the disorder itself, because it's an invention) does not independently exist except as a hypothesized conglomeration of these "symptoms." Hardly similar to testing for a genetic abnormality. Or identifying that, yes, this patient does indeed have bacterial pneumonia.
Similarly, the PAS is characterized by a cluster of symptoms that usually appear together in the child, especially in the moderate and severe types. These include:
1. A campaign of denigration
And this "campaign" (whatever that is) of "denigration" is also (ta da) the diagnosis. Hmmm... a bit circular?
2. Weak, absurd, or frivolous rationalizations for the deprecation
Whether statements are "weak, absurd, or frivolous rationalizations" is just an opinion, isn't it. First you have to establish the conclusion that you supposedly are attempting to prove via the "symptoms." Not quite like an observable short fifth finger. Or slanty eyes. Or a fever. You pretty much have to presume a conclusion and then go back to claim the premises were false, i.e. weak, absurd or frivolous. You also have to be so confident that you already know "the truth," that you can rule out a child's giving wrong reasons because of inarticulateness, or fear of not being believed (and so exaggerating), etc. But in fact you cannot test for the truth or falsity of the conclusion. It's not like doing a chromosome test.
3. Lack of ambivalence
Kind of like how children commonly whine when you tell them that tonight they can't have dessert, "you NEVER let me have dessert." Or "you NEVER let me do what my friends can do!" Or "I ALWAYS get more homework than him! It's unfair!"
4. The "independent-thinker" phenomenon
Oh yes, this one. The child is lying if the child says s/he was not coached. And we don't need the symptom if the child says s/he was coached. Clever of you. But not quite like a symptom such as coughing, where one either is doing it or not.
5. Reflexive support of the alienating parent in the parental conflict
Isn't this the logical fallacy of circular reasoning again? There's an ALIENATING parent that exists to define one of the symptoms that indicates the supposed conclusion that there is an alienating parent?
6. Absence of guilt over cruelty to and/or exploitation of the alienated parent
Ditto. There's "exploitation" of an "alienated parent" as a sympton PROVING the existence in the first place of an alienated parent and that the parent is being judged wrongfully?
7. The presence of borrowed scenarios
Which could merely indicate a child's hyperbole in the context of constantly being doubted, and the child's (quite accurate, it would seem) perception that the child is not going to be believed. So the child exaggerates. The same reasoning behind a child's inarticulate hope to sway an adult with "You NEVER let me have dessert, mom..."
8. Spread of the animosity to the friends and/or extended family of the alienated parent
And, again, you have this "alienated parent," already there in the alleged symptoms that are supposed to prove the existence of an alienated parent. Gee whiz. The guy's a sex pervert, and his own mommy, (grandmommy, who probably is a pervert too, or else unbearably stupid or uncaring, and that's how he got the way HE is) or his girlfriend (now there's objectivity for you) says the accusing parent is a conniving, vindictive, lying bitch, and the accusing parent and child have animosity against grandmommy or girlfriend. How totally unbelievable, how incredible. Now there's an amazing, otherwise unexplainable psychological phenomenon for you!
Typically, children who suffer with PAS will exhibit most (if not all) of these symptoms.
And with all these "clear" objectively observable symptoms, you don't even need to use ALL of them! That's the beauty of it!
This is almost uniformly the case for the moderate and severe types. However, in the mild cases one might not see all eight symptoms. When mild cases progress to moderate or severe, it is highly likely that most (if not all) of the symptoms will be present.
Tell me: if you have only a couple of those medical flu symptoms above, may we just call it "mild pneumomia?" And are all persons who have slanty eyes at risk of progressing to mental retardation at some point? Shall we PRESUME that if they have slanty eyes, that they have a chromosomal defect?
This consistency results in PAS children resembling one another. It is because of these considerations that the PAS is a relatively "pure" diagnosis that can easily be made.
PURE? You mean, "perfect," don't you? It's a can't miss! Oh yes, it's easily made. Heck, a "campaign of denigration" could be found right in every case of merely filing for primary custody!
As is true of other syndromes, there is an underlying cause: programming by an alienating parent in conjunction with additional contributions by the programmed child.
Which you imagine to be so because, ipso facto, it must be there because there are these symptoms which we can identify because there is a campaign of programming by an alienating parent and that's how we differentiate them from otherwise explainable behavior... and we know there's a campaign by an alienating parent because there are these symptoms there... Gee... not exactly comparable to testing for the presence of the pneumococci bacteria, or a defective chromosome. Is it.
It is for these reasons that PAS is indeed a syndrome, and it is a syndrome by the best medical definition of the term.
It is for all these reasons (and more) that PAS is pure bullshit. Here's more.
Gardner writes that it is a "misperception" that PAS does not exist because it's not in DSM-IV.
Gardner writes: The DSM committees justifiably are quite conservative with regard to the inclusion of newly described clinical phenomena and require many years of research and publications before considering inclusion of a disorder. This is as it should be.
'Nuff said. It's not a recognized disorder. Period. It's a clever theory of legal defense.
The PAS exists! Any lawyer involved in child-custody disputes will attest to that fact.
Blow me down! If some lawyers say it's true, it must be!
... A tree exists as a tree regardless of the reactions of those looking at it. A tree still exists even though some might give it another name. If a dictionary selectively decides to omit the word tree from its compilation of words, that does not mean that the tree does not exist. It only means that the people who wrote that book decided not to include that particular word.
Oh, but the WORDS "parental alienation syndrome" (or "parental alienation" -- this is quibbling), certainly do exist. What does NOT exist is what is described by those words. (There are lots of words describing things that do not exist in reality.) Moreover, we're not even arguing over whether the individual BEHAVIORS exist. See liz's explanation for why there is no such thing as PAS. But someone who could so confound reason completely inside out like this (black is white, and white is black, and the existence of orange proves yellow which in turn proves orange exists) could also drum up reasoning like PAS theory...
Similarly, for someone to look at a tree and say that the tree does not exist does not cause the tree to evaporate.
No, Gardner. PAS is more like saying: Look: Ground! Shade! Leaves! There's ground, shade, and leaves here. Why, that's the symptoms of a tree. It MUST be a tree. And the lawyers will go, yup I seen it. I see ground, shade and leaves all the time. We shur got some here. We got a real tree problem... and when someone else says: but the ground is everywhere, and the mother says: but there's a mountain shading the area here, and the kid says: there's grass here and I've been walking on it, and I've even got grass stain where I fell down on it... why then there's a real EVIL hidden tree-denial problem you see that requires an EXPERT to identify...
It only indicates that the viewer, for whatever reason, does not wish to see what is right in front of him (her). To refer to the PAS as "a theory" or "Gardner's theory" implies the nonexistence of the disorder. It implies that I have dreamed it up and that it has no basis in reality.
Oh no. There's those dang leaves. Gardner, do you know what logic is? Here's a closer analogous fallacious analogy. Trees grow out of the ground, trees have leaves, and trees throw shade. Therefore if you see ground, leaves, and shade, there must be an tree there. And moreover, if there's an tree, someone planted it... GONG...
To say that PAS does not exist because it is not listed in DSM-IV is like saying in 1980 that Lyme Disease did not exist because it was not then listed in standard diagnostic medical textbooks.
No one says that PAS does not exist solely for the reason that it is not listed in DSM-IV. The argument is that it is not recognized by those who actually are the authoriities (i.e. higher authorities than you alone would be.) Your symptoms are not recognized as a tree, because objective research has yet to prove to us that the presence of ground, leaves and shade alone is a unique cluster of symptoms associated with a tree, i.e. to even particularly point to, let alone prove the existence of a tree, or moreover, that even if a tree is there, someone planted it, and that you, the paid expert, know who, let alone that that someone is suffering the dreaded "compulsive tree planting syndrome."
Worse yet, we're not even talking about a "tree," something tangible and real, and objectively observable, but about an outright invention, an intangible fabrication. Let's call it an ALIENPOD. You are claiming that the existence of an alienpod can be proved by the presence of ground, leaves and shade. And if someone has the gall to say, heck no, there's a tree there (or a mountain and grass), you claim, "uh huh... it's an ALIENPOD, and your denial makes you suspect as being one."
The PAS is not a theory, it is a fact. Those who consider the PAS to be a figment of my imagination must be capable of completely ignoring the ever-growing number of articles in peer-review journals on the PAS...
So the proof of the existence of a valid medical or psychological disorder is how many lawyers talk about it? And God exists, too, because umpteen million Catholics say it's so?
... as well as rulings by judges in courts of law in which the PAS has been recognized.
And there you have it, by jove.
And this should especially be the case for a relatively "pure" disorder such as the PAS, a disorder that is easily diagnosable because of the similarity of the children's symptoms when one compares one family with another.
(No kidding! Your kid ALSO says you "never" let him have dessert? What a coincidence!)
Over the years, I have received many letters from people who have essentially said: "Your PAS book is uncanny. You donít know me, and yet I felt that I was reading my own familyís biography. You wrote your book before all this trouble started in my family. Itís almost like you predicted what would happen."
They say that on the psychic network, too.
Why, then, should there be such controversy over whether or not PAS exists?
Because, Gardner. They are merely saying that they saw ground, shade and leaves. That's the beauty of PAS LEGAL DEFENSE THEORY, and that's also an unfortunate commentary on the human tendency toward rationalization, opportunism, and that "average IQ" means that half the populace doesn't have one.
One explanation lies in the situation in which the PAS emerges and in which the diagnosis is made: vicious child-custody litigation.
Yeah, well, perhaps more of us need to start hiring expert diagnosticians in other spheres of life, e.g. when those kids start in with those "weak, absurd and frivolous rationalizations" for why they are too sick to go to school (never mind that there's a bully beating up on them, or they're really going to flunk that test if they go), and especially those darn constant comments lacking ambivalence.
Once an issue is brought before a court of law -- in the context of adversarial proceedings -- it behooves one side to take just the opposite position from the other if one is to prevail in that forum.
A parent accused of inducing a PAS in a child is likely to engage the services of a lawyer who may invoke the argument that there is no such thing as a PAS.
And vice versa? A parent accused of molesting a child... Ding ding!!
Gardner writes that it is a "misperception" that Gardner utilizes coercive interview techniques in which he bludgeons children into saying whatever he wants them to.
Oh please. The perception is that frequently you make your diagnoses without EVEN interviewing the child. Care to address THAT one?
Gardner writes that it is a "misperception" that Gardner has been barred from testimony in many courts of law throughout the United States.
Gardner writes: This is pure myth. To date I have testified directly in approximately 30 states and in others via telephone. I have been testifying since 1960. Not once has a court of law ruled that I was not qualified to testify as an expert.
Care to address the real claim which is that testimony with regard to "parental alienation syndrome" (not you, personally) has not been permitted into many courts? Do you twist and distort like this when you testify, too...?
Gardner writes that it is a "misperception" that Gardner claims that he is a Clinical Professor of Child Psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, yet he does very little teaching there.
Oh, please, no one cares.
Gardner writes that it is a "misperception" that Gardner's sex-abuse protocol has no scientific validity.
Fact: My book Protocols for the Sex-Abuse Evaluation provides scientific references to the vast majority of the criteria that I use...
...and logical reasoning similar to what you have exhibited for us in this "defense" of your PAS theory?
Gardner writes that it is a "misperception" that Gardner's interest in the field of child sex abuse is probably related to the fact that he himself is tainted somehow in this realm, e.g., he was sexually abused himself as a child, or he himself is a sex abuser and that his interest in child-custody disputes probably stems from the fact that he himself was involved in such a dispute.
But carefully omits mention that he has in fact been through a divorce, if not a "child custody dispute." Are we quibbling, again, Doctor?
Gardner writes that it is a "misperception" that Gardner's work is "controversial."
The implication here is that because controversy exists there is something specious about my contributions.
That would be true if those calling it "controversial" were those who disagree with your theory, not those who like to use it or write about it and find themselves in the uncomfortable position of feeling like perhaps they might be at risk for being perceived as opportunistic lawyers or news reporters...
It behooves the attorneys to take an opposite stand and create controversy where it does not exist.
Ding ding! But these are the same attorneys who have peer-reviewed your work and whose numbers in using it prove its validity?
This is inevitable in the context of adversarial proceedings.
A good example of this phenomenon is the way in which DNA testing was dealt with in the OJ Simpson trial. DNA testing is one of the most scientifically valid procedures. Yet the jury saw fit to question the validity of such evidence, and DNA became, for that trial, controversial.
I think you're forgetting "the race card." Black Man Alienation Syndrome.
Gardner writes that it is a "misperception" that Gardner has a publicist and that Gardner is extremely expensive and only represents rich people and that Gardner's work on the PAS and sex abuse is not generally recognized by the professional communities.
No one cares. You are advertising and obfuscating and becoming repetitive.
As indicated elsewhere on this website, there are approximately 65 articles published in scientific journals on the parental alienation syndrome.
Written BY YOU (?) and published in PEER-REVIEWED scientific journals?
Gardner writes that it is a "misperception" that The PAS has not been recognized in courts of law.
Gardner writes: no mention is made regarding which courts of law.
Do you quibble like this when you testify? Do you also mischaracterize what the other side says as you have done here? The claim is that testimony concerning PAS has not been admitted into MANY courts of law. And, in fact, it has not.
Gardner writes that it is a "misperception" that: The PAS is a discredited theory.
Gardner writes that it is a "misperception" that Gardner's PAS has given abusing parents the weapon to use against their accusers. Specifically, they deny their abuse and claim that the children's animosity is the result of the accuser's programming.
Gardner writes: I do not deny that some bona fide abusers are doing this.
The implication of the criticism, however, is that somehow I am responsible for such misrepresentation of my contribution by these abusers.
No dear. No one actually cares about YOU. They care about the problem you have just admitted to, and about which you clearly don't give a hoot. In fact, you actually revel in the existence of this horrid problem, which has brought so much injustice and pain to so many accusing parents and children, as "proof" of the validity of PAS, by touting as ostensible proof of the validity of the theory, how many people are asserting it and talking about it, and how many lawyers are using it. Do you talk out of both sides of your mouth like this whenever it's expedient?
There will always be those who will twist a contribution for their own purposes.
Gardner writes that it is a "misperception" that Gardner's work has been misinterpreted and misapplied by some mental health and legal professionals with the result that some parents have been inappropriately deprived of primary custodial status.
Gardner writes: I do not deny that some legal and mental health professionals are indeed misinterpreting and misapplying my work, much to the detriment of the client so affected.
Gardner writes that it is a "misperception" that Gardner is responsible for judges all over the United States and Canada disbelieving mothers claiming that their children were sexually abused by their husbands. As a result children are not being protected from their pedophilic fathers.
Perhaps, then, it would be a good idea to stop reading "Richard Alienation Gardner" when people refer to the theory of "Parental Alienation Syndrome."
Gardner writes that it is a "misperception" that Gardner's work has resulted in people. committing suicide and homicide
Gardner writes: There is no question that I have been involved in a few cases in which such tragedies have occurred.... the implication here is that I somehow have been personally responsible...
It stinks to be mischaracterized and falsely labelled, doesn't it. Perhaps you would like to hear for yourself from a mother so accused.
The fact is that the theory of "Parental Alienation Syndrome" doesn't belong in a court of law, and neither do you.
- Between the horizontal lines on this webpage,
Gardner's words are in blue text unless otherwise indicated,
and liznotes are in black.
OTHER ARTICLES ON THIS SUBJECT:
I'VE SEEN IT!"
No, you haven't.
WHAT'S IT DOING IN A COURT OF LAW?
by Jerome H. Poliacoff. Ph.D. P.A., et al.
In His Own Words
A SELF-MADE MAN
by Judith M. Simon
WHAT IS PARENTAL ALIENATION SYNDROME?
by John E. B. Meyers, Esq.
HAS PSYCHIATRY GONE PSYCHO?
LETTER BY KAREN ANDERSON
by Kelly Patricia O'Meara
Information that cuts through the slop
LIZNOTES TABLE OF CONTENTS | RESEARCH ROOMS | THE READING ROOM
GENDERGAPPERS | WOMAN SUFFRAGE TIMELINE | THE LIZ LIBRARY ENTRANCE
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