In separated and divorcing families we will often see cases where a child refuses to visit or have contact with one parent. There are many reasons a child will give for the refusal, ranging all the way from serious abuse to one parent allowing more freedoms than the other. The parent whom the child refuses to see may accuse the child-aligned of "parent alienation". In the 1980’s psychiatrist Richard Gardner coined the phrase Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS). Some debate exists about whether PAS is a syndrome in the classic term, which is capable of being diagnosed. However, the phenomenon of parental alienation is typically defined as the psychological manipulation of a child into showing unwarranted fear, disrespect or hostility towards a parent. These cases can get difficult when the Court orders access between the parent and child and the child refuses to go or goes but acts out in protest while with that parent.
In these cases, one tactic parties and the Courts have started to utilize is Reunification Therapy between the child and the alienated parent. Reunification therapy involves both parents and the child in the therapy process. Usually the therapist will meet with each party separately but will also have joint sessions. Joint sessions between the child and the alienated parent focus on addressing cognitive distortions by the child, coaching the parent to interact more positively, and to avoid blaming and bashing of the other parent.
To learn more about child visitation resistance contact the attorneys at Markham Law Firm today by calling (240) 396-4373.