Archive for the ‘DSM-5 and ICD-11’ Category

Parental Alienation: Dead or Alive in the DSM-5?

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

Here’s what I love about the internet — shopping, booking vacations and connecting with people all over the world.

Here’s what I hate about the internet — bloggers who believe they’re channeling Edward R. Murrow, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein in every post and their readers who faithfully repeat what’s written as fact.

I was recently reminded of the latter when I read a colleague’s rant about the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) “cowardly decision” not to include parental alienation in the DSM-5. When I pointed out that the APA hadn’t yet decided whether or not to include parental alienation in the upcoming edition of its bible, my colleague gave me the name of the blogger who reported the news and asked, “How could she write it if it weren’t true?”

As Elizabeth Barrett Browning once said, “Let me count the ways.”

While my contribution to the proposal, Parental Alienation, DSM-5 and ICD-11, was probably the least significant input from the 60-plus authors who collaborated on project, my effort does qualify me for regular, and accurate, updates as the proposal winds its way through the review process. So here’s the truth about the current status of parental alienation and the DSM-5:

In the next few months, members of the DSM-5 Task Force and the Childhood and Adolescent Disorders Work Group will make their final recommendations to the APA Board of Trustees. The Task Force has already signaled that it probably won’t recommend listing parental alienation under the Mental Disorder category. However, being classified as a mental disorder is not the only door into the DSM. The APA could list parental alienation as an example of a relational problem or a shared psychotic disorder. The APA could also list parental alienation as a subtype of another relational problem. The professional organization could even include parental alienation as an issue that needs further study. Bottom line — the fat lady not only isn’t singing, she hasn’t even started warming up.

So enjoy the internet. Go shopping, look for videos of kittens doing adorable things, even tell us what you’re cooking for dinner if you must. Just don’t believe everything you read. Murrow hasn’t filed a story in a long time.

Parental Alienation and the DSM-5

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

The DSM-5 Task Force will publish the next edition of the mental health profession’s Bible in 2013 and Task Force members are still considering whether or not to include parental alienation somewhere in the book.

One of the biggest arguments against including parental alienation in the DSM-5 is that academics and mental health professionals haven’t done enough research to demonstrate that parental alienation should be an actual diagnosis. Not true, says Mike Jeffries, author of A Family’s Heartbreak: A Parent’s Introduction to Parental Alienation. “The proposal before the DSM Task Force includes more than 500 references from the professional literature of 30 different countries. Anyone who says ‘there isn’t enough research’ simply isn’t aware of work being done not only in the U.S. but in Brazil, Japan, Spain, Italy and South Africa.”

The DSM Review Board has once again opened up its website for comments. Please visit http://www.dsm5.org/ and tell Task Force members why parental alienation should be included in the DSM-5. Deadline for comments is June 15.

Raising awareness of alienation at the AACAP

Saturday, October 30th, 2010

Parental alienation professionals and advocates attended the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) annual meeting in New York City this week to discuss alienation with many of the 4,700 psychiatrists and physicians in attendence and explain why parental alienation belongs in the next edition of the profession’s DSM.

Dr.William Bernet, a professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and the primary author of Parental Alienation DSM-5 and ICD-11, presented at the meeting and the Parental Alienation Awareness Organization (PAAO) raised awareness of alienation in an exhibit hall booth. The PAAO exhibit featured books, DVDs and volunteers to discuss parental alienation with conference attendees. PAAO President Jill Egizii, PAAO Vice President Robert Samery, Dr. Amy Baker, and Mike Jeffries, author of A Family’s Heartbreak: A Parent’s Introduction to Parental Alienation, were all on hand to pass out literature and talk about alienation with mental health professionals from around the world.

Also attending the conference were members of the DSM Review Board — the professionals who will decide whether or not parental alienation is included in the next edition of the DSM. Bernet indicated that the Review Board is still considering alienation for inclusion in the updated diagnostic manual. The DSM-5 is scheduled for release in 2013.

Jeffries observed that while some professionals had never heard of alienation, many others were familiar with the family dynamic. Still other professionals saw alienation in their practices without realizing the behaviors had a name. “The conversations were all over the map,” Jeffries said. “Some attendees wanted to talk about their cases. Other professionals wanted to discuss under what category the DSM-5 could potentially list parental alienation. One psychiatrist was even looking for guidance on who should receive the diagnostic code — the alienating parent, the targeted parent, or the child.”

Not every person who stopped by the PAAO booth wanted to see parental alienation in the DSM-5. “There was one psychiatrist who made it clear he didn’t believe in parental alieantion but he never actually completed a sentence or allowed me to complete one,” Jeffries said. “He said ‘parental alienation is a diagnosis in search of a…’ and then his voice trailed off. When I tried to say something positive, he cut me off with another incomplete, negative comment. Then he did it a third time. I finally told him to enjoy the rest of the conference. With 4,700 open-minded, articulate professionals to talk to there was no need to waste time on him.”

Alienation symposium benefitted professionals and parents

Monday, October 4th, 2010

“Approximately one percent of all children in the United States experience some form of parental alienation.”

That statement from Dr. William Bernet, a professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, was one of the many eye-opening insights from the recent Canadian Symposium on Parental Alienation in New York City. Bernet was the symposium’s keynote speaker.

Approximately 2oo parents, legal and mental health professionals attended the conference to learn more about parental alienation and how to address the family dynamic both legally and therapeutically.

“I really wish parental alienation critics would have attended the conference,” said Mike Jeffries, author of A Family’s Heartbreak: A Parent’s Introduction to Parental Alienation and a conference attendee. “There is no way anyone could have listened to the legal and mental health professionals at the conference and not concluded that parental alienation is a legitimate mental health issue that deserves to be included in the next edition of the DSM. In addition, the alienated mothers and fathers at the conference would have dispelled any myths about parental alienation being nothing more than an abusive parent’s legal strategy,” Jeffries added.

In his remarks Bernet explained that DSM editors can select one of three ways to include parental alienation in the upcoming 2013 edition — as a mental disorder, relational problem or as part of the appendix for further study. “Inclusion as a relational problem or as part of the appendix has not been discussed yet,” he said.

Bernet is the primary author of Parental Alienation, DSM-5 and ICD-11 — the published version of the proposal Bernet and 70 other contributing professionals submitted to the DSM Review Committee.

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