“Parental Alienation Syndrome” (PAS)


The theory positing the existence of ‘PAS’ has been discredited by the scientific community.

Bary Area PA
Adults who went through Parental Alienation
Therapy program in California speak out about
their experiences. See
NBC Bay Area story.


In Popular Press:

I-Team: NJ Brother, Sister Rip 'Alienating' Divorce Program That Tore Them From Father for Years,” Pei-Sze Cheng, NBC News New York, 26 Dec 2018.

No Oversight for Programs Advertising They Reconnect Children with 'Alienated' Parents,” Vicky Nguyen, Rachel Witte, Anthony Rutanashoodech, Mark Villareal and Michael Horn, NBC Bay Area, 2 Nov 2018.

Taken from mom, teen flees dad and waits for 18th birthday,” Lisa Roose-Church, Livingston Daily, 4 Sep 2017.

Is this Oakland County's most toxic divorce ever?” John Wisely, Detroit Free Press, 31 Jul 2017.

They were taken from their mom to rebound with their dad. It didn’t go well,” by Cara Tabachnick, The Washington Post, 11 May 2017.

Arianna Riley speaks to the California Board of Psychology, 9 Feb 2017, YouTube. (start 6:20 minutes)

Custody in crisis: How family courts nationwide put children in danger,” Laurie Udesky, Salon, 11 Dec 2016.

Controversial Forced ‘Therapy’ for Tsimhoni Children Was Unsuccessful and Traumatic,” Hope Loudon, The Huffington Post, 4 Dec 2016.

Tsimhoni vs. Tsimhoni: Full Court Documents In The Tale Of The Jailed Michigan Kids,” Richard D. Pace, Everything-PR, 15 Jul 2015.
2015-07-14 by Richard D. Pace

Controversial disorder at center of bitter custody cases,” Susan Taylor Martin, Tampa Bay Times, 21 May 2010.
HARPER, Texas — Deep in the Texas Hill Country, off a rutted road with a sign that says "Deer Processing,'' sits a three-bedroom mobile home. This is the Rachel House, run by Pamela and Bob Hoch. Dozens of kids from all over the nation have been brought here for days, even weeks with the goal of making them like a parent they fear or despise.

Tsimhoni in Review: Community Action Group The Tsimhoni case gained international attention when the three children (ages 14, 11 and 9) were berated in Court by Judge Gorcyca and unlawfully incarcerated to Juvenile detention until their 18th birthdays.

Mental Health Professions:

Are intensive parental alienation treatments effective and safe for children and adolescents?” Jean Mercer, J of Child Custody, 21 Jan 2019.

Revisiting Parental Alienation Syndrome – Scientific Questions, Real World Consequences,” David Surface, Social Work Today, Sep/Oct 2009; 9(5):26.

Statement on Parental Alienation Syndrome, American Psychological Association, 2008.
An APA 1996 Presidential Task Force on Violence and the Family noted the lack of data to support so-called "parental alienation syndrome", and raised concern about the term's use. However, we have no official position on the purported syndrome.

Legal Issues:

Parental Alienation Syndrome: Fact or Fiction? The Problem with Its Use in Child Custody Cases,” Holly Smith, U of Mass Law Review, Jan 2016;11(1) Article 5.

Parental Alienation Syndrome: 30 Years On and Still Junk Science,” Rebecca M. Thomas and James T. Richardson, American Bar Association, 1 Jul 2015.

Scientific and Professional Rejections of Parental Alienation Syndrome,” Domestic Violence Legal Empowerment and Appeals Project, Updated Aug 2013.

What is Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS)?” The Leadership Council on Child Abuse & Interpersonal Violence
“Although some mental health professionals and child custody evaluators, attorneys, and judges have been quick to accept and admit PAS as evidence in these disputes, there has been no consistent empirical or clinical evidence that PAS is a valid syndrome or that the so called "alienator's" behavior is the actual cause of the alienated child's behavior towards the target parent (Walker et al, 2005). In fact, the majority of mental health and legal experts who have studied the issue consider PAS theory to be both erroneous and dangerous to the children involved.”
*Includes extensive bibliography on the evidentiary admissibility of PAS

Parental Alienation Syndrome: Proponents Bear the Burden of Proof,” Robert E. Emery, Family Court Review, 8-13 Jan 2005; 43(1):8-13.

Junk Science v. Novel Scientific Evidence: Parental Alienation Syndrome, Getting It Wrong in Custody Cases,” Alayne Katz, Pace Law Review, Fall 2003; 24(1) Article 10.

Parental alienation syndrome: Junk science in child custody determination,” Carol S. Bruuch, European J. of Law Reform, Jan 2001; 3(3):383-40.

Jean Mercer’s
ChildMyths essays:

Parental Alienation Treatments: The Experiences for the Children’s Perspective,” 3 Nov 2018.

Refusing to visit a divorced parent,” 24 Aug 2018

Are Parental Alienation Organizations Cult-like in Nature?” 16 Aug 2018.

Woozling Parental Alienation,” 15 Jul 2018.

Looking at the Claimed Symptoms of ‘Parental Alienation’: Developmentally Appropriate Characteristics?” 19 May 2018.

Persuasion, Attitude Change, and Parental Alienation,” 18 May 2018.

Interest Times in the Parental Alienation World,” 12 Apr 2018.

Parental Alienation Advocates Defend Children Against Dangers of Autonomy (They Say),” 28 Feb 2018.

Parental Alienation Advocate Invites Fox to Watch Henhouse,” 11 Dec 2017.

Critical Thinking About Child Custody, Especially Parental Alienation Claims,” 24 Mar 2017.

I’ll Get to Scotland Before Ye: ‘Parental Alienation’ Again,” 14 Mar 2017.

More Parental Alienation: What Are the Characteristics of Rejected Parents?” 5 Nov 2016.

Is Parental Alienation Child Abuse?” 22 Sep 2015

Craig Childress Tries to Drag Attachment Theory Into the Parental Alienation Swamp,” 19 Aug 2015.