APA Declares that Parental Alienation is Not a Mental Disorder

The American Psychological Association has its hand in many divorce cases because of their ability to saw child custody cases. Oftentimes children are told to meet with a psychologist who then will assess their attachment to both parents and choose the parent that is best for the child as the primary caretaker. The APA has a lot of other jobs in the realm of family associations, including declaring what is and what is not a mental illness.

Recently, studies have come out for and against listing parental alienation as a medical mental disorder. The APA has decided that they will now include the illness in their catalog of mental disorders. Parental alienation normally has to do with a child’s relationship with one estranged parent and how the other parent influences this relationship. Bitter spouses may badmouth their ex-husband or wife in front of the children, slowly causing the kids to believe their parents’ claims.

The APA is currently working on a new manual which will be called the DSM-5. It will not be released until later next year, but the decision to dis-include parental alienation as a disorder or syndrome has already been announced. The vice president on the manual project says that they are not including parental alienation because it is a relationship problem rather than a disorder within one individual. What does this mean for your divorce case?

It could mean a lot. If the APA had announced that parental alienation is in fact a disorder, then it would have enabled more divorce children to receive mental treatment to reconcile with an estranged parent after a divorce was finalized. Parents have argued that their children have become hostile towards them because of a closer relationship with the divorce spouse and that it has created rifts in their relationship. If your child has been dealing with parental alienation, he or she cannot be diagnosed with a medical condition. A lawyer still may be able to help you with this difficulty, especially if you are worried that your child’s bias will affect your child custody agreement. Talk to a lawyer at Cutter & Lax today for more information!