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DivorcedMoms Top 10 Articles From 2019

DivorcedMoms Top 10 Divorce Articles From 2019

DivorcedMoms Top 10 Articles From 2019

 

We’ve rounded up DivorcedMoms top 10 divorce articles from the year, with expert advice on narcissism, psychological abuse, divorce and teens, the family court system and more.

What kind of divorce resources are you interested in? If we’ve not covered it here, leave a comment and let us know.

DivorcedMoms Top 10 Divorce Articles From 2019

1. What can you expect from a narcissist during a relationship?

DivorcedMoms Top 10 Divorce Articles From 2019 1A lot of heartache! In other words, if it ‘s respect, consideration for your feelings and needs you desire, it’s best to keep your expectations low.

“While you may not be physically hit or physically abused in a relationship with a narcissist, your heart will be broken 10,000 times. Even if you think you are a “strong” person and can handle it; your strength is not really strength, but rather, denial.

“The following list is not exhaustive, but it is informative. If you’ve been in a relationship with a narcissist you’ll recognize them all. If you’re presently in a relationship with a narcissist, buckle up because you’ll eventually experience them all.”

Read the full article here and dive deeper into our resources on narcissism and personality disorders here.

2. Teens often refuse to visit a father during visitation, what should you do?

DivorcedMoms Top 10 Divorce Articles From 2019 2There are many teens who have difficult relationships with a father. There are also teens who have friends, an active social life and better things to do than hang with parents. If you’re faced with a teen who doesn’t want to spend time with their father, what you do would be based on the situation.

“Michael and Jennifer have been amicably divorced for six years. They have three children ages 6-14. As outlined in their final decree of divorce they split custody of the children on a 60/40 basis. The children are with Jennifer 60% of the time, with Michael, 40% of the time.

“Until recently this arrangement worked well for both the parents and children. Jennifer worked weekends as a Registered Nurse and felt secure knowing her children were with their father and well cared for.

“Michael traveled with his job during the week and worried less about his children knowing they were safe and sound with their mother. The children benefited from the quantity and quality of time with both parents.

“Problems started when their oldest child became a teenager. Craig turned 14 and became less and less interested in spending Friday through Sunday night with his father.”

Read the full article here and the rest of our resources on teens and divorce here.

3. Family courts are ill equipped to protect women during and after a high conflict divorce.

DivorcedMoms Top 10 Divorce Articles From 2019 3Not only women but women’s children. Women deal with lawyers, judges, therapists, and court-appointed experts who are less than knowledgeable when it comes to the damage an ex with a personality disorder can cause.

“My divorce was tame compared to some. There were no domestic abuse issues, no custody battle issues; we went our separate ways with no physical harm done. I can’t say the same about emotional harm but, as I learned the Family Court System is ill-equipped to handle the conflict created when a man has a personality disorder or is hell-bent on using the system to punish their ex.

“As a matter of fact, it is my opinion the Family Court System is ill-equipped to protect anyone whose divorce is high conflict. Judges, Attorneys, Psychologists, and other court-appointed personnel EXPECT divorce to be one size fits all and when it isn’t lack the skills to support civility. What you get are platitudes and an attitude that if you are engaged with an ex who creates conflict you must be playing a role in the conflict also.”

Read the full article here and check out our resources on high conflict divorce here.

4. If you’re divorcing a narcissist, you’ll want to get ready for the reality of co-parenting with a narcissist.

DivorcedMoms Top 10 Divorce Articles From 2019 4Narcissists don’t’ co-parent, they counter-parent. Even if it’s in the best interest of their children, they will thwart your desires every step of the way.

“Co-parenting with a narcissist is like being the tin man from the wizard of oz, having motion sickness, on the downward spiral of a roller coaster, with a loose harness, after eating ice cream and 5 corn dogs – doing the tango with a peg leg and an eye patch all the while sewing back together and re-stuffing down feathered pillows your dog chewed up and scattered throughout the back forty – it’s freaking difficult!!”

Read the full article here and other resources about children and co-parenting here.

5. Fathers have a right to equal parenting time. The problem is most don’t follow through with their desire for equal parenting time.

DivorcedMoms Top 10 Divorce Articles From 2019 5We all hear about how the courts are biased against fathers when it comes to child custody. Men, especially hear such nonsense from men’s rights groups. When you go into court believing the deck is stacked against you, you’re less likely to fight for what you want.

“Before and during the divorce process each parent has the same legal right to custody of a child. Mothers and fathers are on legal standing until one or the other gives up or is denied full custody rights.

“What does this mean? It is complicated! Even more complicated if you don’t know your state’s child custody laws. Bottom line, until you have signed a custody agreement or a judge has handed down a custody opinion, each parent has the same legal rights when it comes to where a child lives, who the child lives with and anything regarding the child.

“I’ve found that most fathers do not have a clear understanding of their legal divorce rights where the children are involved. “

Read the full article here and check out our resources on child custody here.

6. What does more damage to relationships than codependency? Not much. Here’s our tongue-in-cheek look at codependency.

DivorcedMoms Top 10 Divorce Articles From 2019 6I’m codependent no more! You’re codependent no more! Oh wait, I see some drama over there that requires my attention.

“According to Melody Beattie, author of Codependent No More, “As professionals began to understand codependency better, more groups of people seem to have it. Adult children of alcoholics, people in relationships with emotionally disturbed people, people in relationships with irresponsible people and people in relationships with abusive people.”

“Basically, a codependent is a person who gives more in a relationship than they get and holds onto the hope that their partner will change. Codependents enable, make excuses and make the relationship problems worse due to their inability to care more for themselves than they do their relationship partner or, the relationship.”

Read the full article here and take a look at our other resources on codependency here.

7. Defiance of court orders by men; it happens often but what’s done about it?

DivorcedMoms Top 10 Divorce Articles From 2019 7My ex defied every aspect of our final divorce decree. EVERY ASPECT. It’s common practice for some men to be defiant and not believe orders handed down by the court apply to them. So, what happens to them? In my case, nothing. He got away with it over and over again.

“Over the years, I’ve spoken to many women whose ex-husbands were defying divorce court orders to pay child support. What most of them have learned when they take their ex back to court for contempt is that judges rarely throw a deadbeat in jail. They threaten to do so, but in my opinion, it isn’t often that a judge will follow through on a threat.

“Not enforcing a court order undermines a woman’s ability to care for her children. For some reason though, a judge seems more concerned with how being jailed will negatively affect a deadbeat father. It isn’t only child support orders that aren’t enforced — in the Family Court System, it’s any order.”

Read the full article here and our resources on divorce and an irrational ex here.

8. Narcissists are emotional and psychologically abusive. If married and divorced one, you’ll spend time wondering why.

DivorcedMoms Top 10 Divorce Articles From 2019 8Why do they do the damaging things they do? That’s what I wondered and spent time researching when my ex and I went through a divorce. All we want is understanding but, does understanding help?

“If we’ve been hurt by someone we love it’s only natural to want to find understanding in what happened. We believe that if we can only understand our pain will lessen.

“So, whether you’re a therapist, researcher or victim, there is an interest in knowing why the narcissist emotionally and psychologically abuses.

“There are many theories. Probably as many theories about why the narcissist is narcissistic as there are people wondering why.”

Read the full article here and our resources on healing from narcissistic abuse here.

9. Psychologically abusive relationships rob you of your ability to trust in yourself to make proper choices and have faith in yourself.

DivorcedMoms Top 10 Divorce Articles From 2019 9Gaslighting, belittling, demeaning, undermining are just a few tactics used by a psychological abuser. When you’ve been on the receiving end of those tactics for years it only makes sense that you’ll lose faith in your ability to make choices that are in your best interest.

“Many assume it is simply the idea of breaking up a family that keeps us in the cycle of abuse. But I am here to say … no… that is not what made me stay.

“Forgive me as my ability to express myself in writing has never been my strong suit… but here goes.

“We stay because we have been controlled and manipulated to believe that we have no other viable options. There are often elements of financial control among a lot of other seemingly simple reasons that keep us in “it”. But they are not simple…not simple at all.

“I can only speak on my own behalf here, but I suspect that others will be able to relate on some level.”

Read the full article here and learn more from our resources on psychological and emotional abuse here.

10. Everyone’s story is different but when dealing with a narcissist, you can bet they all include damage done to children.

DivorcedMoms Top 10 Divorce Articles From 2019 10Narcissistic fathers discount the damage they do to their children during and after divorce. They view their children, not as an extension of themselves but as pawns to be used in their fight for control over a woman they feel stands in their way of having total control. If you’ve divorced a narcissist, you’re familiar with the damage they do to children.

“There is nothing more heart wrenching than having no recourse against someone who is doing grave emotional harm to your children. If a stranger had done what their father did, I would have had recourse. But, since it was their father, the family court system turned a blind eye to his behavior.

“It started from the beginning, the very beginning before I even knew there would be a divorce.

“I’m sharing this information in bullet points in order to keep my thoughts straight and not running together. We’ve been divorced for nearly 2 decades, there is no way I can share the entire story but, these are issues I remember as being the most damaging.”

Read the full article here and more about Maddie Grace here.

The post DivorcedMoms Top 10 Divorce Articles From 2019 appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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I’m a dead guy, no worries

I’m a dead guy, no worries

I’m a dead man.  These people around me now, they think I’m alive.  But you, the one who’s reading this, you understand.  I’m dead, right?   See.  They don’t understand.  You do.

They think we have time. It’s that death delusion thing – existential psychology – our inherent fear of death, of impermanence.  We lose everything we hold dear… time… the inexorable march of time, sand slipping through our hands even as we try to hold on to the moments.

Grief and loss. We avoid the sadness and grief at understanding by going delusional… la-la-la, things are going to be the same forever.  There’s time, there’s always time.

No.  There’s not.  You understand.  I’m dead.   See.  All done.  They don’t understand.

I’m going to try to wake them up a bit on that, because I’ve only got a bit of time left, a moment.  We’ll see if I can awaken some of them, maybe we can get a little bit more accomplished before I leave.  How’d I do?  You know.  Did any of them wake up?

Doesn’t matter, not my worry.  I’m dead.  They may be too by this time.  You can see what I was doing,  Man, that ignorance and sloth is just a killer.  Of all the monsters I’ve tackled, that ignorance and sloth one over here, it’s like that big, dumb, troll ogre thing, uhhhhhggg.  That combination, ignorance and sloth, jeeze.  Reminds me of neglect trauma.  I hate neglect trauma.

Ignorance and sloth, boy-oh-boy that’s a tough combination.

And then there’s the transference dream.  Wow, that is an interesting one.  To have a transference dream at this scope, and they don’t see it. They are psychology people and they don’t see the transference.  Captured.  So I’m basically doing psychoanalytic therapy on all of professional psychology.

For a clinical psychologist, that’s a challenge of a career.  You understand.  You see.  Once we clear the dream… Doesn’t do me much good now.  I have a moment.  Maybe three.  How many do I have?  You know. 

I’m going to assume one.  I will do one last thing.  Then, if I can, I’ll do two, and if I have time three.  How many did I get to?  That’s a shame. There was so much more.  Oh well.  I’m not doing this again.  Get someone else next time.  That ignorance and sloth, the savage cruelty.  I’m done.  Last assignment.  I don’t like it here.

I’m tired.  It’s taken a lot to get here.  Expose that which is hidden.  

I’m ready.  I’m done.  I was worried at first whether I’d have enough time. That was why I kicked out that first set of YouTubes.  Triage.  Seriously, that’s what that was.  I’m trauma guy, I get over here and there’s massive-massive trauma, I immediately jumped into triage mode. What’s the fastest way to get the knowledge to the people who need it… YouTube.

Once I had the YouTube up, I had a little time, but this is active abuse and trauma, these patients are bleeding out and dying, all over the place. There are parents who haven’t seen their kids in 10 years. TEN YEARS, oh my god.  And other’s are still in active abuse trauma, with kids, ten-year olds, 14-year-olds, kids who they haven’t seen in years.  Oh my god, that’s awful.  And kids, not receiving the love of mom or day… for YEARS.  Oh my god, this is the worst thing I’ve ever seen.

This is the worst thing I’ve ever seen, and I’ve just come from child abuse trauma in the foster care system – early childhood no less – three year olds who have been sexually abused by meth addicts, five year olds beaten with electrical cords… I left that, entered private practice, wandered over here out of curiosity and,..

Oh – my – god.  This is the worst thing, the worst abuse and trauma, ongoing abuse and trauma, that I have ever seen.  I’m a clinical psychologist.  I’m working, start with triage, get them the IV of knowledge set up, see if we can save a few while we figure out how to stop this.

And these psychology people are acting like this is all okay.  Holy cow.  That’s nuts! What’s going on, oh my god it’s trans-generational trauma and it’s captivated all of them in the transference dream… the “bad parent” needs to be “punished” – they “deserve” to suffer, oh my god, we have that brutality and abuse line… active… by the mental health people.  They are participating in the abuse of these parents.

Oh my god.  The mental health people are being used as a tool, an instrument, of the abuse. And its unconscious.  They are captivated in the transference, they don’t see.

How’d that happen.  Trans-generational trauma, it caught them on their counter-transference. But where’s their empathy?  Dang.  They have none. These mental health people have zero empathy for the suffering of these parents, and they have no understanding for the child, zero-zero empathy for the child.

Absence of empathy, abuse. We’re spot on into a narcissistic abuse trauma, active, ongoing, with the mental health people as a primary instrument of the abuse.  The mental health people are a weapon of abuse.  The child is the primary weapon, and the mental health people are collaborating in it.

Dang.  I can’t just walk away from these parents, these children.  I can’t walk away from the kids.  I’ve got to do something… okay.

Dang.  Where do we start?  Triage.  Let’s get the solution into them as fast as possible, use knowledge to solve pathology, diagnosis, let’s get them that as fast as possible.

Then I studied the pathogen.  I studied the history of Gardner and the response.  Why are they using such an awful-awful model rather than just applying knowledge?  Oh, psychiatrists, Master’s level, they’re not psychologists.  Where are the psychologists?  Forensic psychology. So, then, what are they doing?

Oh my god.  That is awful.  They are just making stuff up, they are applying zero knowledge from anywhere, WHAT? $40,000 for an assessment?  That is an OBSCENE financial rape of these parents.  And look at what they are. That is the WORST assessment of anything I’ve ever seen, smoke and mirrors – oh my god these forensic people are just raping these parents, financial rape, bend over and take it… they are the most foul professionals…

Ethics.  That’s where we’ll have to go with them. There is an actual APA ethics code.  They are disgusting filth as psychologists.

But they are powerful.  They have puffy vitaes of emptiness, they are a collective, they will protect their rape of these families.  Oh my god… this is a rippling of sex abuse trauma – rejecting a parent – the shame line.  These parents are the little girl.  They are being isolated by forensic psychology, that threat to licensure isolating the victim from clinical psychology, a “special” field of psychology just for this population, this vulnerable population.  And these parents are being abused by the psychologists, raped, financially raped in their vulnerability.

Disgusting, foul and disgusting.  These are the lowest form of professional – I’m not even going to call them professionals anymore.  They are abusing their patients for financial gain, for their counter-transference cruelty –  the “bad parent” deserves to suffer.  Filth and corruption, inside them.

This is a ripple of sex abuse trauma.  Straight up on the borderline, probably to the mother of the narcissistic line.

The solution is the application of knowledge.  There are a lot of powerful vested interests.  We’ll see how the Gardnerian “experts” respond when I bring knowledge and its solution.  If I can get their support that’d be helpful when I go up against forensic psychology.  Forensic psychology is going to be exceedingly dangerous, the pathogen inhabiting them has power in its positions of authority.  I’ll have to find ethical psychologists in these organizations.

I need to get out into the light and stay there.  When I take on these disgusting forensic filth, I’m going to need to be fully in the light of day, because they are going to want to hurt me and destroy me, to maintain their financial rape hidden and unseen, their rape and exploitation of these parents, and the abandonment of these children to child abuse.  They don’t want that exposed.  They will try to hurt me.  I must stay in the light.

I must find ethical psychologists to stand with me.  How’d I do?  Did anyone stand and speak?  Did anyone come to these families and children?  I know… eventually.  That makes me sad.

That’s who the battle is going to be with.  The power of forensic psychology. They have the AFCC and the APA, a Division in the APA.  They own the power structures. They’re solidly anchored in the courts.  I am going to have to expose and take out an entire field of professional psychology.  A very powerful field, who have zero ethics, zero standards of practice, and who have been violating the APA ethics code wantonly and with no regard at all for what’s right or wrong, for decades.  And they own the APA.

This is going to take some time to get ready. 

Sheesh, what are those?  What?  Flying monkeys?  Pretty good term for ‘em.  Yeah, its that counter-transference delusional thing.  We’re into delusion and trauma world here.  We’re entirely transference, pretty much everyone.  These monkeys though, boy, they’re a dangerous lot in their psychotic nonsense.

Ahhh, jeeze.  You know what… that monkey line is in forensic psychology and the family courts too, isn’t it?  This is really dangerous.  Active narcissistic and borderline pathology in litigation with an attorney surrounding exactly the transference trauma, and colluding narcissistic professionals in both mental health – upper echelons – and the legal system.

And I’m just me.  Hmmm.  Hardly seems fair.  Maybe they should get some more help.

Okay. Gotta take on the ignorance, sloth, and power – abusive and dangerous power – of forensic psychology.  We’ll see if I can get some help from the parents’ current allies, these Gardnerian PAS people.  I’ll bring over knowledge and solution and see what’s up with them.

They’re captured too.  Everyone’s captured by their narcissistic inflation, the Gardnerians, the forensic puffy vitaes, although theirs is more just the financial rape of these parents, my goodness gracious, $20,000 to $40,000 for that worthless piece of crap that isn’t even a valid assessment… there’s a bunch of narcissistic pathology in forensic psychology no doubt, but mostly it’s just rape and exploitation.

It’s the absence of empathy in forensic psychology that is just chilling… and so wrong. We’re psychology – we are empathy – and we most definitely do NOT traumatize our patients.  They do.  All the time.

Isolate the victim, alone, away from resources and help, “out in the woods,” so you can abuse them.  Keep them silent through shame.  And the only allies they have are leading them into the worst model of a pathology ever developed in the history of mankind, and they’re being made to prove a pathology, to a judge, a legal professional, at trial, an expensive-expensive trial. Rather than simply get a diagnosis. 

Persecutory delusion, Shared Psychotic Disorder. DSM-IV.  Persecutory delusion, Child Psychological Abuse, DSM-5.

Wow, I’m going to have to kill this PAS construct first. These PAS “experts” aren’t going to like that.  They have their personal and professional identities all wrapped up in being “experts” in “parental alienation.”  They’re not going to like me taking away their status and standing that they gain from their “new pathology” thing.  Plus they’ve got that “Star Wars” rebel alliance against the evil empire thing going, they’ve been captivated by an archetype – jeeze, the transference is just everywhere.

Hi, who are you?  Dorcy?  What’s up, what do you have there?  Hey, that’s pretty good. Excellent as a matter of fact.  Once we get outta here, there are potentially some pretty nice things that can be done with that approach in other trauma areas.  What’s that about prison recidivism, you have done this approach in a prison population and reduced recidivism by 80%?  Okay, you’re coming with me.

What’s with all the monkeys?  Dang, they’re just swarming you.  Okay.  You’re like a monkey magnet, you should should give them pet names or something, except that they’re so incredibly dangerous – delusional splitting with righteous overtones.  THAT is a dangerous psychology.  When we’re in delusional world… one of them is erotomanic – that’s stalker world thing.  Be safe.  Your safety is most definitely at risk with this pathology. 

And what’s up with all the disrespect to you from the Gardner people?  You’d think they’d want your help, you have the solution in your hip pocket, you’re being swarmed by monkeys because of it, and they are not lifting a finger to help, and instead are trying to exclude your from their weird little narrcissistic “experts” club.

Okay, whatever.  I have strong doubts about the professional character of these Gardnerian “experts” – I think it’s just exploitation everywhere.  Okay, you just stay close to me and I’ll tell everyone the truth, I’m a clinical psychologist, that’s what we are, truth-tellers.  If you need a statement from me, no worries.  High Road will recover and does recover children from complex trauma and child abuse.

That is a fact.  I’d call it an elegant approach, and I want to extend its application to other areas of complex trauma and abuse recovery, like substance abuse recovery and prison recidivism.  Whoever in research world works with Dorcy will be a happy human. 

So let’s get you over to the AFCC people to tell them about what you do, they’re the ones on the “chain of command” who should hear about what you’re doing,  It’s substantially remarkable and wow.  So they should know about it.  They won’t listen because they are low-life disgusting pond scum, but it’s the right thing to do, for us to do.  Give them the opportunity so that if they weren’t low-life disgusting pond scum, which they are, they could develop your approach and extend it more fully into the solutions available for the family courts.

Okay, now let’s get you over to the APA, Division 24 Theoretical.  Those are the folks who need to hear about this. We’ll take it to them on the trans-generational trauma line.

What’s that?  A kid relapsed when contact with the abusive parent was restored and you’re headed out to recover the kid… a second time?  You can do that, recover the kid just like that, in day or so, a second time?  Okay then.

Because that allows for a single-case ABAB clinical intervention – and, wow.  That’s the best there is.  A-baseline, B-High Road, A-baseline, B-High Road.  Causality is a lock, and we leave the child fixed.  Okay, let me write that up.  That’s excellent.

What’s that?  You’ve got another one?  A parenting curriculum?  Okay, let’s see that?  Wow, that’s excellent too.  Professional psychology will want to hear about that too.  You’re a regular little force of nature aren’t you.  We’ll have to find you some university collaborators, and oh my god, they’re gonna love you.  You generate data, that’s magnificent.  Evidence based practice, these researchers are going to love you once we get the two of you hooked up.

These ignorant mental health people are still maybe a decade away from a single-case ABAB, they’re still on fire, “fire good,” so we have to get them caught up through wheel and internal combustion engine, but when they eventually get there, that’s really good.

With the publication of Foundations, I’m ready to take on forensic psychology.  Let’s tell everyone where we’re going.  Filmed some YouTubes, wake up, wake up.  The learned helplessness in these parents is pretty dense.  Understandable, inescapable trauma.  But boy, they are inert.  Wake up!  Wake up!

The pathogen has these parents believing that they have to “prove something” to someone – that’s the transference thing, putting the “bad parent” on trial.  Jeeze louise, that transference just has everyone captured.  We’re gonna have to wake up parents that, no, you don’t need to prove anything, you need a diagnosis of pathology so we can develop a treatment plan to fix things.

Where do they get a diagnosis?  Ahhhh jeeze… from the forensic people.  Okay, hold that thought.  We’re gonna need to get you some actual mental health people to diagnose the pathology for you, forensic psychology… get this… refuses to diagnose pathology, they say it’s “prejudicial” to the pathological parent. Does that make logical sense to you?  It doesn’t to me, but nothing makes sense over here, it’s all delusional transference dream… literally everywhere.

So I pop out the six-session treatment focused assessment protocol.  Toss off the Contingent Visitation Schedule as long as I’m at it, again, an exceptionally good Strategic family systems intervention, a craftsman at work, but it’ll be too complicated for this crop of mental health people, we’re at “See Spot run. Go Spot, go” and the Contingent Visitation Schedule is a college textbook. Maybe by 2050.  It’s the Assessment protocol we need right now.

Look at how simple I had to make it.  Seriously, three symptoms, check, check, check.  I can’t make it any more simple… and look… that’s STILL too complicated for them. They’re going into apoplectic shock, trembling on the floor, “How do I do this? How do I do this?”

Uhhh, check the box indicating if the symptom is present or absent.

Tough instructions.  A three-item checklist is too hard for them.  That is how bad things are.  Stone-cold stupid.  Seriously, with these mental health people, I feel like I’m educating high-schoolers, not even upperclassmen, Freshmen, high school Freshmen, if that.  I dunno, maybe 7th graders throwing paper airplanes.  These mental health people are sooooo far from professional.  Maybe we should start training teachers and plumbers to do the assessment. “See these boxes, if the symptom is present check the box that says, “Present,” and if the symptom is absent, check the box that says, “Absent.”

Do you think we can get teachers and plumbers to do this, because apparently we can’t get mental health people to do it, check, check, check… way too complicated for them.

Seriously, the combination of ignorance and sloth are the worst.  I’m not doing this again.  Way too exhausting.  Don’t try to teach a pig to sing.

We need a whole new crop.  This current group is worthless.

So that’s where I stand now.  How much did I get done?

Hey people… I’ve had two strokes.  The first was about 2006, dropped me to the floor, entire left side was dysfunctional, I had that blah-blah-blah stroke talk thing.  I recovered mostly, 95%.  Last year I had a second stroke, called a TIA, took a hit on my balance and I’m having trouble articulating certain sounds, you’ll see me with a cane now because an old guy doesn’t want to take a tumble on an uneven surface and break a hip or something.

I’m a dead man.  Always have been.  See, am I dead?   Yeah, I know.   These people think I’m alive.  I’m tellin’ ya, stone-cold stupid.

So I’ll try one more thing, I’ll try to wake them from their transference dream, try to break through that sloth barrier.  It’s not my job to teach them, it’s their job to ALREADY know, and we’ll try to line up that licensing and malpractice line, that’s pretty much fully there already, it’ll be on the systems end, with the licensing boards, that ignorance and sloth will reemerge, once again.  If they’re able to work up the malpractice stuff while I’m still here they can grab my testimony, if not then not my worry.

I’m tired.  Doing this all on my own.  It’s nice to have a touch of sanity in Dorcy, otherwise, boy, you people are delusional – it’s the transference, it’s got you all captured. And your narcissism, jeeze louise, pretty much everywhere.

Sanity in the midst of insanity, Dorcy.  She’s a smart lady, she knows this pathogen inside out and seven ways to Sunday.  Way-way hugely better than any mental health person out there right now.  Come on people, time to up your game, Dorcy’s dustin’ you.  She’s lapping you.  Pace people, pick up your pace.

If people listen to her they’ll figure it out.  She’s got her health issues too though, trauma leaves impact, so people shouldn’t count on her either.  Word to the wise, better use her while she’s here.  But nobody listens to me.  Now their listening.  Fat lot of good.

I could have told you so much.  But we were stuck on “See Spot run.”  Whatever.

I suspect Dorcy’s got a couple of decades on me.  Did she?  How’d that work out?  I suspect pretty good, I like the lines on that one.  Who knows, we’ll see what happens.

Not my worry.  I’m a dead guy.  You.  The one reading this, that’s a you problem.  Hopefully things are working themselves out.  Be kind.  There’s enough suffering in the world, no need to add more.  See what you can do about taking some out. And add some happy, we need more of that.

Our problem is not that there’s too much happiness in the world, so we have to limit and restrict happiness.  The problem is that there is too little happiness.  Smile, say a kind word, restore bonds of love and affection, add more happy and love and kindness, that’s a good thing.

But it’s not my worry.  I’m a dead guy.  How am I doin’?  As a dead guy?  I’m fine, thanks for asking, no worries.  I know what I am, and I know where we are.  No worries, I’m fine.  I don’t like this place, too much cruelty, ignorance, sloth… an absence of empathy.  I’m fine.

Not enough love and kindness here.  This place is okay on my-end, trees and mountains are nice, oceans.  People?  Mark Twain said that the better he got to know people, the more he liked his dogs.  It’s okay here, but generally, I’m not liking the level of cruelty here.  I’m okay not being here anymore, no worries on that.  They can figure things out on their own. 

Craig Childress, Psy.D.
Clinical Psychologist, PSY 18857

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Interested in how a divorce court will value your home? Read this blog post to find out how

Interested in how a divorce court will value your home? Read this blog post to find out how

Originally published by The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC Blog.

Once you have hired a licensed real estate appraiser, real estate agent or done a comparable home search on the county appraisal website to determine a likely value for your home, you have done most of the work that is related to value your house for the purpose of selling it. The next thing you to do is consider whether or not you need to remove “incidental” costs associated with the sale of the home from that appraised value.

Incidental costs are things like closing costs and realtor fees. From my experience, these costs are way too speculative to include in the value of the house. Closing costs vary across properties and title companies. There are no specific cases that I am aware of in Texas that say one way or the other how this subject is to be treated. However, I would be willing to argue based on the previous couple points I made that they should not be deducted from the appraised value of the home.

Fair market value is what you are going after when looking for the value of your family home

Anyone of us who took high school economics is likely familiar with the term “fair market value.” This term can be defined as the amount that would be paid in cash by a willing buyer who desires to buy but is not required to buy, to a willing seller who desires to sell but is no under no necessity of selling. That definition is one that is pulled from something called the Texas Pattern Jury Charge. There is no mention of realtor charges or closing costs in that definition. Closing costs vary from transaction to transaction. Realtor costs may not even come into being if a realtor is not used or if the house is never actually sold.

Reimbursement claims and the family home

This is a subject that is near and dear to the heart of almost every person who goes through a divorce. Reimbursement claims can be a difficult subject to explain to clients because it is a concept that tugs at concepts of “fairness” and “equity.” If you contributed income to the separate property of your spouse, in a divorce you have a right to be reimbursed for those monies. However, it can be very difficult to calculate those kinds of claims.

There is nothing in the Texas Family Code that instructs a family court judge on how to calculate to proceed on a reimbursement claim made in conjunction with a divorce case. The judge has full discretion on determining how much reimbursement to award to a petitioning spouse or even whether or not to acknowledge the claim.

For instance, if your spouse has a separate property home with a mortgage on it that has been paid during the course of your marriage then you are in a position where you will need to prove how much of the principal of that mortgage has been reduced during the course of your marriage in order to proceed with a reimbursement claim. Mortgage statements pulled from the internet or requested directly from your lender are a means to do so. Many websites have amortization schedules that show how much of each mortgage payment goes towards principal, interest and escrow funds. Tax returns that show mortgage payments as well.

Finally, another relatively common reimbursement claim that we see in divorce cases is when community money is used to make improvements on a separate property home. An example could be if your spouse and you used your combined incomes to make an improvement on a home that you owned before you two got married. The value of your reimbursement claim would be how much the value of the home increased due to the improvements that were made.

As you could probably guess based on the time we devoted in yesterday and today’s blog posts to determining how to value your family home, this can be quite a difficult job. It is not readily apparent how much a new kitchen, pool, updated bathroom or solar panels on the roof actually added value to the home. A real estate agent can serve as an expert witness in this capacity if it were an issue brought up at trial.

How can your family home be divided in your divorce?

There are many options available to a judge when it comes to dividing up your family home in a divorce. Keep in mind that these options are only available to a judge if you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement on your own when it comes to valuing the home and then either dividing it in a sale or allowing one of you to remain in the home while the other has their community property interest bought out.

Option number one is the clearest cut and simple for a judge: he or she would simply determine that the home is the separate property of either you or your spouse. No muss, no fuss. Next, the house could be awarded to either you or your spouse. Along with this option, the judge could award you the house but allow your spouse to reside in the home for a specific period of time after the divorce. This option could be chosen in the event that your spouse showed that it would be difficult to locate suitable housing quickly after the divorce.

For those of you who reside in rural areas, your real estate could be partitioned by the judge. For instance, consider that if you were awarded the home, your spouse could be awarded the majority of the land surrounding the home to compensate him for the loss he would take in his community property interest in that residence.

Finally, your house could be ordered to be sold and the equity (after closing costs and realtor fees) would be split between you and your spouse based on a percentage.

What happens with the mortgage on your home after a divorce?

This is a very relevant subject to discuss in conjunction with a divorce case. Most of us reading this blog post live in a suburban/urban environment in a single family home. Whether or not you would consider your immediate surroundings to be a neighborhood or not, it is likely that you and your spouse own a home in a neighborhood-type environment where the mortgage on that home bears both your name and that of your spouse. What many attorneys fail to do in connection with a divorce is properly explain what can happen with the mortgage once your divorce is over with. I will seek to provide you with some clarification on this subject so you enter your own divorce with a bit more knowledge.

Let’s say, for example, that your spouse is awarded the family home in your divorce case. He is also ordered to pay the mortgage going forward- a mortgage that has both of your names on it. Here is what I would tell you if you were represented by our office. First, the divorce decree is a legal document that is binding upon you and your spouse but it does not affect your personal obligation under the mortgage contract. If you’re soon to be ex-spouse fails to make payments on time for the mortgage then your credit score gets dinged.

Next, if you do well in the financial portions of your divorce and have a down payment ready to go for your next house you may have trouble qualifying for a mortgage. The reason for this is that your name is already on a mortgage to your former home. Your debt to income ratio will be skewed as a result of your technically owing money on another home. It is theoretically possible to not be able to qualify for a mortgage on your new house if your spouse is not current on payments on the “old” mortgage.

How can you get your name off the joint mortgage to your old house?

That discussion should lead you to ask the question of how, then, can you go about removing your name from the old mortgage to your former home?

One option that I have seen implemented in a final decree of divorce (the final orders for a divorce case in Texas) would be to order your spouse to refinance the home within X number of days from the date the divorce becomes final. No refinance is possible until the divorce is finalized since ownership of the home before that time is still in both your name and his. It is possible that your spouse, while able to be awarded the home in your divorce, does not qualify financially to be able to refinance the mortgage into their own name. A low income, low credit score, bad debt to income ratio or a combination of all of those factors could play into the reason why this is the case.

Another option to pursue could be that your spouse can sign documents that cause him to assume complete responsibility for the mortgage moving forward. The availability of this option depends on your lender. Your spouse should contact the mortgage lender as soon as he becomes aware that he is going to get the house in your divorce to see if this is an option that he can pursue. Again, however, your spouse needs to show that he can qualify for the process of assuming sole responsibility on the mortgage.

If neither of these two options is available then the home will likely be ordered to be sold by the judge. Most judges will not put you or your spouse in a position to fall behind in the mortgage payment and put both of you in a bad financial position. As a result, if no suitable arrangement can be made it is very likely that a sale of your home will commence.

Pulling equity out of your family home in a Texas divorce

Selling the home is by far the easiest method of pulling equity out of your home during a divorce. The equity can then be split between you and your spouse without much fuss, according to the terms of the judge’s orders or your mediated settlement agreement. Usually, if your spouse is awarded the home in your divorce then the equity can be pulled out in the following manners.

If your spouse gets the house, then you will be awarded a community property asset that equals the share of equity that would ordinarily be yours had the house been sold. Or, if there is insufficient community property to divide you may be able to get some portion of your spouse’s community property share as well as a separate property bank account of your spouse’s.

We will discuss the additional ways to cash out the equity stake in a family home in tomorrow’s blog post. We hope that you have enjoyed today’s blog and we will return tomorrow to finish up where we left off by talking more about cashing out equity in the family home.

Questions about divorce and dividing up the family home? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan 

The attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan stand ready to assist you with any questions or concerns you have regarding your Texas family law case. Our attorneys have represented clients in every family court in southeast Texas and we do so with a great deal of pride.

To learn more about your case, our office or family law, in general, please do not hesitate to contact us today. We offer free of charge consultations six days a week. These consultations are a great opportunity for you to ask questions and receive feedback about your specific circumstances. Thank you for spending time with us today in reading our blog post.

And remember- the Law Office of Bryan Fagan is On Your Side!

Curated by Texas Bar Today. Follow us on Twitter @texasbartoday.



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Pennsylvania Equal Shared Parenting Legislation

I recently attended hearings on the Equal Shared Parenting legislation introduced to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.  As a clinical psychologist with a specialty in child and family therapy, I am in full support of this proposed legislation. 

I’m in California.  I flew back to Harrisburg just to stand with these parents in support of this legislation.

It is well-crafted, thoughtful, and well-considered legislation that will be immensely helpful in solving family conflict surrounding divorce and children.  It will provide substantial support for clinical psychology and for the successful transitions of families to healthy separated family structures following divorce.

As a licensed clinical psychologist with a specialty in child and family therapy, I urge the passage of this bill in Pennsylvania, and of similar legislation throughout the United States and other nations.  Equal shared parenting is the correct thing to do.

Rebuttal to Opposing Testimony

There was testimony in opposition to the legislation.  The opposition arguments were all offered from legal professionals.  The committee did not hear from any representatives from clinical psychology and family therapy.  This was unfortunate, because the testimony from the legal professionals was not consistent with the knowledge from clinical psychology and family therapy.

Their testimony was incorrect.

Absent knowledge from clinical child and family psychology, errors in decision-making surrounding solving child and family conflict will occur.

As a clinical psychologist, I am offering this rebuttal to the arguments presented in opposition to the Equal Shared Parenting legislation.

The two primary arguments were “Best Interest of the Child” and the value of a legal “Presumption” in the court’s decision-making.  An additional argument was offered involving child abuse and Intimate Partner Violence, but this argument was insufficiently organized to warrant response here, and I will address it separately to maintain the clarity to this rebuttal.

1. Best Interests of the Child

This is important, and it will be central to everyone’s understanding in order to reach resolution… what is meant by the term, “best interests of the child,” how is that constuct defined?

I’m certain Nazi Germany had a definition for the “best interests of the child,” and I’m confident that it was not an accurate definition.  It is crucial and central to resolution of this discussion that the term “best interests of the child” receive adequate understanding and definition.

This will then allow us to move forward into developing solutions.

First, it is important to understand that forensic psychology openly admits that they do NOT have an adequate definition for this construct (Stahl & Simon, 2013), and I will argue that an operational definition for this construct is fundamentally impossible, and inappropriate, outside of child abuse and child protection concerns.

Parents have the fundamental right to parent according to their cultural values, their personal values, and their religious values.  If there is no child abuse, then parents have the right to parent, and our society should be extremely circumspect in empowering magistrates to separate children from parents when there are no child protection concerns.

Magistrates should not be empowered to decide on cultural, personal, or religious values in parenting, and any decision beyond a child protection concern will, by necessity, be ruling on just those factors.  By itself, the construct of personal values will have broad latitude in parenting.  Parents have a right to parent.  If it is not child abuse, then empowering magistrates to judge parents as “deserving” or “not deserving” to be a parent should be of concern.

Parents have the right to parent according to their cultural values, their personal values, and their religious values.  Magistrates should allow broad latitude to that foundational parental right before separating parents from children.

Second, forensic psychology has no definition for the construct of the “child’s best interests.”

This is acknowledged by Stahl & Simon, forensic psychologists who literally wrote the book on child custody evaluations for the Family Law Section of the American Bar Association,

Stahl, P.M. and Simon, R.A. (2013). Forensic Psychology Consultation in Child Custody Litigation: A Handbook for Work Product Review, Case Preparation, and Expert Testimony, Chicago, IL: Section of Family Law of the American Bar Association. 

This is what Stahl and Simon say about the definition of the construct “best interests of the child.”

From Stahl & Simon: “A critical subject facing those working in the field of family law, whether they’re legal professionals or psychological professionals, is the concept of the best interests of the children. Even recognized experts in this concept differ with regard to what it means, how it should be determined, and what factors should be considered in determining what is in the best interest of a child. Thus, this ubiquitous term escapes consensus and remains fundamentally vague.” (Stahl & Simon, 2013, p. 10-11)

From Stahl & Simon: “It is defined differently from state to state; and even in Arizona, where there are nine statutory factors associated with the best interest of the child, the meaning behind many of the factors is obscure.  Additionally, when psychologists refer to the best interests of children, they are referring to a hierarchical set of factors that may have different meanings to different children with different families and that may be understood differently by psychologists with different backgrounds and different training.” (Stahl & Simon, 2013, p. 11)

In testimony before the committee in Pennsylvania, a father reported on a period following court restrictions on his time and involvement with his child when he became ill, seriously ill, and potentially terminally ill. We are grateful and happy for his recovery.

And this is important to understand as to why it is impossible – impossible – to render a judgement regarding the “best interests of the child” except for child abuse and child protection concerns. What if he had died?

We are all grateful and happy that this father survived and is with us still.  What is important to realize is, had the father died, the construct of the child’s “best interests” that was considered just months before, would have been grossly in error and extremely NOT in the child’s best interests.

If a son or daughter only has a short time left with a parent, their mother or father, it is always in the child’s best interest to spend abundant amounts of time with this parent, before the parent leaves us and this opportunity is lost to the child and is no longer available.

And this is the important point, determining the “best interests” of the child would require that we know what the future holds.  We can’t know of the father’s loss ahead of time.  We can’t predict the future.  We will never know what the future holds, so we cannot answer that question. 

That question is fundamentally unanswerable. 

If there is child abuse, we diagnose child abuse and protect the child.  If there is no child abuse, then we fix conflict and restore relationships of bonded love and affection in the family, because we can’t predict the future, our time may be short, who knows, and bonds of love and affection are too important to be lost.

If there is family conflict, we fix it. That’s a treatment issue, not a custody issue.

Mothers are not expendable in the lives of their sons, in the lives of their daughters.   Fathers are not expendable in the lives of their sons, in the lives of their daughters.  Is that a faulty presumption?  No, that is an established fact. 

Proof:  We have all had childhoods, we have all had mothers and fathers, we can all reference our own childhoods and direct personal experience for proof.  Was your mother important to you? Was your father important to you?

For my proof, I cite you and your own personal experience.  Mothers are not expendable in the lives of their sons and daughters, father’s are not expendable in the lives of their daughters and sons.  Children flourish when they receive abundant love from the mother and abundant love from their father.

Equal Shared Parenting is the correct approach for legal decision-making following divorce.

There are four types of parent-child bond, each is unique: mother-son, father-son, mother-daughter, father-daughter.

Each is unique, each is immensely valuable, none are interchangeable or replaceable, and none are expendable.  Reference your own personal experience for proof of that.

The only rational definition of a child’s best interests is that the son or daughter always benefits from receiving abundant love from his or her father and mother, in the wonderfully unique and special way that develops between them.

There is no “better parent” – there is mother, there is father.  Each unique, each special, each wonderful.

If there are child protection concerns, diagnose child abuse and protect the child. There are four DSM-5 diagnoses in the Child Maltreatment Section of the DSM-5; Child Physical Abuse (V995.54), Child Sexual Abuse (V995.53), Child Neglect (V995.52), Child Psychological Abuse (V995.51).  If there are child protection concerns, diagnose child abuse and protect the child.

If, however, there are no child abuse concerns accompanied by a DSM-5 diagnosis of child abuse, then parents have the right to parent according to their cultural values, their personal values, and their religious values.  There is no rational or supported reason to give primacy to any of the unique parent-child bonds, each is unique to itself, they are all of equal value and importance.

Equal Shared Parenting is the correct approach following divorce.

A presumption that each parent should have as much time and involvement with the child as possible is always in the child’s best interests.  How that is practically met becomes the only consideration.  Equal Shared Parenting is defined as broadly a 60% to 40% time share, with latitude provided to reasonable factors.

While according to Stahl and Simon, forensic psychology does not have a clear definition for the best interests of the child, clinical psychology does.  It’s that picture.Slide35

It is always in the child’s best interests for the family to make a successful transition following divorce to a healthy separated family structure of shared bonds of affection between the child and both parents, mother and father, son and daughter, a tapestry of unique relationships.

Clinical psychology focuses on treatment, and the recommendation to the family courts from clinical psychology is to similarly focus on treatment rather than custody.

A focus on custody, especially litigation that encourages parents to prove the other parent to be a “bad parent.” is destructive to our ability to achieve a healthy separated family structure.  A presumption of equal value to the father and mother in the lives of a son and daughter will support the family’s successful transition to a healthy separated family structure of following divorce.

The child belongs to two families, unites two families into the very fabric of who the child is, two family cultures, two family lineages, two family bonds to mother and to father. This is the fabric of the child.  If there is parent-child conflict, we fix it. We do not expel a mother of father from the life of their son or daughter.

If there are child abuse concerns, then we diagnose them and we protect the child. 

If there are no diagnosed child abuse concerns, then we fix things.  For a child to reject a parent is for the child to reject half of themselves, half of their very being.  We don’t divide children as a “custody prize” to be won by the “better parent” – we respect the unique and immense value to the child of a mother, of a father, that unique bond in the life of that young boy, that young girl. 

Mother’s are not expendable in the life of their child.  Father’s are not expendable in the life of the child, the are of equal value.

Equal Shared Parenting legislation will reduce the family conflict surrounding the child, with a clear messages of the court’s support for the child’s bond to mother and to father, love and bonding are good things for the child.  Equal Shared Parenting following divorce supports the child’s healthy attachment bonding and psychological development.

Equal shared parenting following divorce is a good thing.  It will help remove the child from conflict.

If there are no child abuse concerns, diagnosed, then each parent should have as much time and involvement with the child as possible.  Equal shared parenting legislation supports this healthy family solution.

2. “Presumption”

The construct of presumption” has legal implications and I am a clinical psychologist.  I defer comment on the legal definitions and application of terminology.  I will, however, offer my perspective from clinical psychology and child development regarding the definition for that construct, to assist in a more complete understanding for that term relative to the child and family.

The legal professionals who offered this argument noted that in the 1800s it was a presumption toward the father, and then the “tender years” doctrine provided a presumption toward the mother, and that both were in error and there should be no presumption.

That is not accurate.  The presumptions cited were for one role, either mother or father, as being more valuable to the child than the other is, as they indicated, in error. The solution is not to litigate which is the “better parent.”  The solution is to value both.

An equal valuing of both the mother and the father is the Equal Shared Parenting legislation, it provides no presumption of one parent’s value over the other in the life of the child.

Equal Shared Parenting offers no presumption of one parent’s value over the other.  But wait, said in an alternative way it becomes, the presumption is for equal shared parenting (somewhere balanced between 60% and 40% based on factors).

Or… said in an alternative way, there is no presumption of either parent being of greater value to the child than the other parent, mothers and fathers are equally important.

Notice something important.  The construct of “presumption” depends on the context in which it is used. Sentence structure, not inherent meaning. Context of the word’s use.

A presumption that favors the father is not appropriate.  A presumption that favors the mother, is not appropriate.  That doesn’t mean that we should open up decision-making to a free-for-all blood sport of litigation designed to prove the inadequacy of the other parent in order to gain greater custody time.

The presumption that mothers and fathers are equally valuable to the child is the Equal Shared Parenting legislation being considered by the Pennsylvania legislature. That is a true and accurate presumption, mothers and fathers ARE equally important to the healthy development of the child.

There is no presumption that either parent is “better” – or that it is a good thing for parents to be engaged in litigation to prove that they are “better” and that they “deserve” more time because they are “better” than the other parent.  That is not a good thing.

3. Bias is Unavoidable

Our social offices are held by people, and people have inherent unconscious bias, called heuristics, that influence perception and decision making outside of awareness.  Unconscious.

Sapolsky (24:30 – 29:30): Judges are more lenient after eating than before eating because of the blood sugar rise from lunch.  It is important to the discussion of bias that everyone watch Sapolsky from 24:30 to 29:30.  All of it is wonderful, that five minutes is essential for a discussion of bias.

We cannot eliminate bias, because bias is inherent to the humanity of the person in the role.  We can only strive to control and limit the effects of bias on decision-making by the court.  Within the legal system, this is accomplished through the specificity of language in legislation, and by prior additional guidance and clarification through precedent interpretations and decisions.

In matters of family conflict, where unconscious personal history, personal values, and personal cultural factors are all likely unconscious influences on the human occupying the role, it is unwise to allow too great a latitude to interpretation of vaguely defined constructs.

Stahl and Simon, who are acknowledged professional representatives from the Family Law Section of the American Bar Association, identify how vague and poorly defined the construct of “best interests of the child” ia, even when guiding factors are identified.

From Stahl & Simon: “Even recognized experts in this concept differ with regard to what it means, how it should be determined, and what factors should be considered in determining what is in the best interest of a child.  Thus, this ubiquitous term escapes consensus and remains fundamentally vague… It is defined differently from state to state; and even in Arizona, where there are nine statutory factors associated with the best interest of the child, the meaning behind many of the factors is obscure” (Stahl & Simon, 2013, p. 10-11)

The apparent recommendations from the legal professionals testifying in Pennsylvania is that the solution to having neither a presumption in favor of the mother nor one favoring the father is to turn custody decision-making into a blood-sport of litigation to prove to the judge that the other parent does not “deserve” to be a parent based on a set of factors, the goal, the factors in proving that the other parent doesn’t deserve to be a parent.

That is not correct a correct approach.  The solution is to give neither parent a presumption and to recognize the equal value of both parents, mother and father, in the life of the child.  The solution is to provide a presumption of equal shared parenting, of equal value to the child of a mother’s love and a father’s love.

Children are not a battleground, and we should not encourage parents to weaponize the child into a custody battle to prove to the court the supposed “inadequacy” of the other parent.  The Equal Shared Parenting legislation being considered in Pennsylvania will remove children from the spousal conflict and will help restore a normal-range childhood to them, a childhood of loving and bonded relationships with both parents, mother and father.

Mothers are important and essential in the lives of their sons and daughters.  Mothers are not expendable from the lives of their children. Fathers are important and essential in the lives of their sons and daughters.  Fathers are not expendable from the lives of their children.

Equal Shared Parenting legislative support that, and will achieve that.

As a clinical psychologist with a professional specialty in child and family therapy, I am the professional who is tasked with fixing family conflict and restoring the child’s healthy development.  I am in full and complete support the Equal Shared Parenting legislation in Pennsylvania.

So much so, that I flew back to Harrisburg just to be in the room.  This legislation is the right thing to do.

Craig Childress, Psy.D.
Clinical Psycholgoist, PSY 18857

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mothers have an advantage in custody disputes

Do Mothers Have an Advantage in Custody Disputes?

mothers have an advantage in custody disputes

 

If you are going through a divorce, a primary concern is often your children and your child custody arrangements. It’s difficult for any parent to contemplate not having their children living with them all of the time, but it can be even more difficult for mothers who have a close bond with their children.

If you and your husband cannot come to custody terms that you both can sign off on, the court will need to decide the matter for you. While many people think that mothers have a natural advantage in such disputes, the truth is far more complicated. Understanding the basics related to child custody can help you navigate the process while standing up for your own parental rights.

Legal Custody

Custody is divided into two major concerns that include physical custody (related to with whom the children reside at any given time) and legal custody. It’s important to recognize that in the vast majority of divorces, both parents share legal custody, which refers to a parent’s rights to make important decisions on behalf of their children. These decisions include:

  • Matters related to your children’s health and well-being, such as medical care
  • Matters related to your children’s education
  • Matters related to your children’s religious upbringing

These are fundamental issues that shape your children’s lives, and it’s very likely that you and your divorced spouse will continue to make these important decisions together, although one parent is sometimes given tie-breaking authority.

Physical Custody

Physical custody relates to with whom your children reside primarily and to their visitation schedule with the other parent. While many people believe that mothers have an advantage when it comes to physical custody, this really isn’t an accurate assessment in many cases.

Do Mothers Have an Advantage in Custody Disputes?

The Court’s Stance

If you and your divorcing spouse cannot come to mutually acceptable terms regarding your children’s custody arrangements, the court will intervene and make a determination of how you will split custody rights.

The court will always favor what is in the best interest of your children, but this is obviously open to interpretation, and it’s important to remember that the court has considerable discretion in the matter. You obviously know your children in a way that the judge never can, and you know what’s best for them.

Courts often favor the status quo when making child custody decisions. In other words, if the mother has been the primary caregiver and she and the children are living in the family home while the case is pending, the judge may be hesitant to upset the balance and may be more inclined to award the mother primary custody.

This is generally more a function of how things are commonly arranged than it is a function of favoring the mother or of the mother having an advantage in the matter.

The Considerations at Hand

In determining child custody arrangements, the court is guided by the children’s best interests, but in the process, it takes a wide range of variables into consideration, including:

  • The emotional connections between each parent and the children
  • Each parent’s ability to provide the children with a loving home and a healthy life
  • Any criminal history
  • Any history of domestic abuse – either physical, emotional, or sexual
  • Any substance abuse issues
  • Any pertinent parental considerations that could affect the decision, such as age or disability
  • The location of each parent’s residence (who lives closer to the children’s school, for example)

None of these issues are gender-specific and, as such, the court’s decision cannot favor the mother. Many mothers, however, are already providing primary custodial care, and courts are not fond of dramatically disrupting children’s lives when they’re already going through the emotional challenge of divorce. After all, divorce is hard on everyone, but children are especially vulnerable.

Your Children’s Voices

Many parents wonder if their children’s preferences will guide – or should guide – the court’s custody decisions. The fact is that many judges will speak to your children privately (especially older children) and will take their preferences into careful consideration, but the decision is simply not up to your children.

The court is making determinations related to your children’s custody exactly because they are children who need custodial care. When your children are adults, they’ll make their own important decisions, but for now, those decisions must be made for them. Your children’s voices, nevertheless, may help guide the court’s ruling.

Reaching a Resolution

If you’re going through a divorce, emotions are inevitably running high. The stress and heartache of divorce leave many couples unable to reach mutually agreeable terms on many important issues. Both of you, however, naturally put your children first, and if you can find a way to hammer out custody arrangements that you can both live with, the court and its considerable discretion won’t need to be involved in the process.

Reaching a compromise with your children’s father can come in many forms. If you aren’t able to work together personally (which isn’t uncommon), your attorneys can attempt to negotiate an arrangement, and you can also address the issue via mediation – with the legal guidance of your respective divorce attorneys.

The post Do Mothers Have an Advantage in Custody Disputes? appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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Infidelity Affect the Outcome of Your Divorce

Will Infidelity Affect the Outcome of Your Divorce?

Infidelity Affect the Outcome of Your Divorce

 

Infidelity is a common cause of divorce throughout North America. However, the effect that an affair might have on the outcome of your divorce case will vary depending on your jurisdiction. Different laws set out different standards for how infidelity impacts a divorce, and the following is some information about adultery and some examples of how your divorce outcome might be swayed if your spouse was unfaithful.

Adultery as Grounds for Divorce

For a long time, a spouse had to state “traditional” grounds for divorce that were based on marital misconduct, such as adultery. While all jurisdictions in North America now allow no-fault divorce based on the irretrievable breakdown of a marriage, some jurisdictions still allow spouses to claim fault-based grounds for divorce. In many cases, fault-based grounds can eliminate the need to be separated for a period of time before obtaining a divorce.

If you allege infidelity as grounds for a divorce, your spouse will have the opportunity to contest your allegations. If your spouse does contest, you will need to sufficiently prove the adultery occurred to obtain your divorce. This does not mean that you need to catch your spouse in the actual adulterous act, though you do need to present credible evidence that infers they were engaged in extramarital sexual conduct. Such evidence may include:

  • Statements from friends, family members, or other witnesses who knew about the affair
  • Credit card charges for gifts, hotel rooms, romantic meals, trips, or other expenses related to the affair
  • Emails or text messages
  • Not coming home often or another departure from normal routines without explanation
  • Seeing your spouse with another person

If you are unable to present evidence to support your claims of infidelity, the court can deny your petition for a divorce based on those grounds. You might need to file for no-fault divorce, which might require a period of separation before the case can get underway.

Adultery in a No-Fault Divorce

Many people file for no-fault divorce because it seems simpler or because their jurisdiction does not allow fault-based grounds. In this situation, infidelity may or may not play a role in the divorce process. While you can end your marriage without the court considering infidelity, your spouse’s conduct could still come into play when deciding certain issues in your divorce.

Property Distributions

In some cases, your spouse might have wasted marital assets on an affair. If you have records showing your spouse racked up credit card debt or otherwise spent money on gifts, meals, vacations, or other expenses related to their infidelity, you can claim your spouse wrongfully wasted assets that were rightfully half yours. In this type of situation, the court can decide to award you a larger property award to make up for the funds your spouse wasted for extramarital purposes.

Spousal Support Awards

Whether infidelity affects spousal support (or alimony) awards will depend on the law and policies in your jurisdiction. The laws can vary significantly, including the following:

  • Some jurisdictions prohibit judges from considering infidelity when it comes to spousal support, as the focus should be on the financial need of the recipient spouse
  • Some jurisdictions prevent a spouse from receiving alimony if they were unfaithful
  • Some jurisdictions entitle a spouse to a higher spousal support award if their spouse was unfaithful

It truly depends on where the divorce is occurring, and a knowledgeable divorce lawyer in your jurisdiction can advise you how infidelity might affect your alimony award.

Child Custody

Some spouses might think their children should not be around a parent who sets an immoral example by having affairs. However, a spouse’s infidelity does not make them automatically unfit to parent under the eyes of the law. Instead, the court will consider what is in the best interests of the child when determining custody arrangements. Some factors the court might consider include:

  • Is the adulterous spouse engaged in affairs with numerous people at the same time?
  • Does your spouse expose your child to inappropriate situations as a result of his affairs?
  • Is the adulterous behavior accompanied by substance abuse, being gone for long hours, or other behavior that puts the child at risk of harm or neglect?

If the court believes that your spouse’s parenting abilities are impacted by the circumstances accompanying the infidelity, it might impact the custody determination.

Resolving Your Divorce Case

Even if you are rightfully angry and hurt by your spouse’s infidelity, this should not be the driving force leading to a certain outcome of your divorce. Family courts encourage divorcing spouses to focus on resolution instead of blame and fault, as this often makes it easier to compromise and reach out-of-court agreements. In some cases, raising the issue of infidelity can improve your divorce outcome while, in others, it might simply distract from the important issues and not impact the outcome at all.

If you are filing for divorce because your husband was unfaithful, it is important to examine all of your options and strategies with an experienced divorce lawyer. This way, you can take the best approach to ensure the best possible outcome of your case.

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Can Your Husband Seek Spousal Support?

husband seek spousal support

 

There are several concerns in divorce cases, depending on your circumstances. These can include child custody arrangements, child support, the division of your marital property, and spousal maintenance – also known as alimony.

While a spousal maintenance award is never a given and the issue doesn’t come into play in every case, there are divorces in which maintenance plays an important role.

Whether your husband can seek spousal support or not will depend on a variety of variables. Understanding the basics as they relate to spousal maintenance can help you make decisions that protect your rights throughout the divorce process.

Can Your Husband Seek Spousal Support?

Maintenance Awards

Spousal maintenance is generally predicated on financial disparity. If, for example, you are the primary breadwinner and your husband was the primary caregiver for your children throughout your marriage, he might be able to successfully seek alimony until he is able to begin working and supporting himself. There are, however, a number of considerations to take into account. Generally, the longer you were married and the greater the difference in earning ability and assets between the two of you, the greater the chance that your husband will be eligible to seek spousal support.

Will Your Husband Be Awarded Alimony?

Every divorce comes with its own highly specific financial circumstances, but the general rule is that if your husband lacks the means to provide for himself and is incapable of attaining appropriate employment right away, he might be awarded maintenance.

This means that if your spouse is unemployed or simply doesn’t earn enough, if his portion of the marital assets aren’t sufficient to make up the difference, and if he doesn’t have the education, skills, or experience to obtain a job that would provide him with the necessary means to support himself – the court might look to you to help him move forward post-divorce with financial support.

It’s important to recognize, however, that alimony is very rarely a permanent proposition. Instead, alimony is a stopgap measure that will be used to help your ex find his financial footing after the divorce. Generally, the longer your marriage and the greater the financial disparity, the longer the alimony period.

Determining Spousal Maintenance

Every determination regarding alimony is specific to the individual situation, but there are some basics that almost universally apply. The court will take a variety of factors into careful consideration in determining whether alimony is appropriate and, if so, what its duration should be. These factors can include:

  • The duration of your marriage (having been married for ten years or more can play an important role)
  • The age and health status of both you and your husband
  • How your marital property was divided (each of your post-divorce assets)
  • The level of education each of you has (including your level of education now as compared to your level of education when you married)
  • Your earning capacity in relation to your husband’s earning capacity
  • The tax consequences related to your divorce
  • The contents of any premarital or postmarital contractual agreements (a prenup, for example)
  • The amount of time it will likely be necessary for your husband to become self-supporting at a level that’s comparable to the one you maintained as a married couple
  • Any contribution that your husband made to your education or to further your career during the course of your marriage
  • Any other circumstances that the court deems relevant

if the court determines that your husband is entitled to maintenance, it will then go about calculating the appropriate amount and duration, which will be predicated on your ability to pay while still satisfactorily supporting yourself.

What Does Maintenance Cover?

Maintenance can be a mechanism for making property division more equitable, a means of short-term support to help your ex-husband become financially self-sufficient, or a permanent support strategy for a spouse who has a limited ability to earn that cannot be rectified or who is outright unemployable (because of a disability, for example). Permanent maintenance is far less common than temporary maintenance.

When it comes to the division of marital property, there are instances when maintenance can help make the distribution more equitable. For example, if you own and manage a business that supported your family throughout your marriage, it can be very difficult to value and/or divide the business for divorce purposes.

If you keep the business, the court may award your ex-husband maintenance to help smooth out any disparity in the property division. Further, if your husband didn’t work or was underemployed during the course of your marriage, the court may award him temporary maintenance while he finds his way back into the work world and begins earning a sufficient salary.

Mitigating Circumstances

In most situations, there simply is no guarantee of maintenance. If the judge finds, for example, that your ex was taking advantage of your generosity by not working throughout the marriage, he or she could deny maintenance.

Further, if your husband’s marital misconduct – such as overly lavish spending or an extramarital affair – brought about the dissolution of your marriage, the judge can take that into consideration in determining whether maintenance is appropriate or not.

Perhaps more than any other divorce issues, the question of maintenance is highly specific to the situation at hand and often hotly contested. If you have maintenance concerns, you need the professional legal counsel of an experienced divorce attorney on your side.

The post Can Your Husband Seek Spousal Support? appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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Ethical Violations in Forensic Psychology

The practice of child custody evaluations in forensic psychology are in violation of multiple standards of the Ethical Code of Psychologists and Code of Conduct of the American Psychological Association, including Principle D Justice.

Principle D Justice: The excessive expense and absence of inter-rater reliability with child custody evaluations violates Principle D Justice that ensures equal access and equal quality of services.

Denial of Equal Access: Child custody evaluations cost between $20,000 to $40,000 per evaluation, which denies equal access to professional input on their family conflict to families that cannot afford such a significant financial expense.

Denial of Equal Quality:  Child custody evaluations have zero inter-rater reliability, meaning that two different evaluators can reach two entirely different conclusions and sets of recommendations based on the same data.  The absence of inter-rater reliability in child custody evaluations denies equal quality in services.

Standard 2.01a Competence:  The individual custody evaluators often lack professional competence in the required domains of professional knowledge; attachment pathology, family systems therapy, personality disorders, complex trauma, and the neuro-development of the brain in the parent-child relationship (e.g., Bowlby, Minuchin, Beck, van der Kolk, Tronick).  This represents a violation of Standard 2.01a of the APA ethics code regarding practice beyond the boundaries of competence.

Standard 2.04 Basis for Professional Judgements:  The failure of child custody evaluators to possess knowledge (attachment, family systems therapy, personality disorders, complex trauma, neuro-development in childhood) means that they fail to apply the “established scientific and professional knowledge of the discipline,” in violation of Standard 2.04 of the APA ethics code.

Standard 9.01 Assessment: Their failure to know and apply knowledge results in an assessment that is not “sufficient to sufficient to substantiate their findings” in violation of Standard 9.01a of the APA ethics code.

Standard 3.04 Avoiding Harm:  Recommendations from custody evaluations that limit a parent’s time and involvement with their child below the maximum possible harms the targeted parent.  This is a violation of Standard 3.04a of the APA ethics code requiring psychologists to avoid harming clients.

Standard 2.03 Maintaining Competence:  Failure to know the necessary knowledge from attachment, family systems therapy, personality disorders, complex trauma, and the neuro-development of the brain in the parent-child relationship represents a failure to “undertake ongoing efforts to develop and maintain their competence.”

The practice of child custody evaluations violates multiple Standards of the APA ethics code, including Principle D Justice that requires equal access and equal quality in services.

Duty to Protect

The family pathology that seeks a child custody evaluation often involves the IPV spousal abuse (Intimate Partner Violence; “domestic violence”) of the ex-spouse/targeted parent by other spouse-and-parent using the child as the weapon.

In weaponizing the child into the spousal conflict, the allied parent in a cross-generational coalition with the child against the other parent (Minuchin) creates such significant pathology in the child (i.e., a persecutory delusional disorder; Shared Psychotic Disorder, ICD-10 F24) that it rises to the level of a DSM-5 diagnosis of V995.51 Child Psychological Abuse.

Child custody evaluations do not assess for the IPV spousal abuse of using the child as the weapon, and therefore fail in their duty to protect the targeted parent from a savage and brutal emotional spousal abuse from their ex-spouse, who is using the child as the weapon.

Child custody evaluations do not assess for the DSM-5 diagnosis of Child Psychological Abuse by the allied parent in a cross-generational coalition with the child against the targeted parent, and therefore fail in their duty to protect the child from psychological child abuse by the pathology of the allied parent.

Responsibility & Accountability

The practice of child custody evaluation needs to end.  It is unethical, and child custody evaluators are failing in their duty to protect on two separate and independent counts.

Parents in the family courts, as a class of people, have been substantially harmed by the practice of child custody evaluation as supported by Division 41 of the American Psychological Association and the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC).

To the extent that the AFCC has created a Model Standards of Practice for Child Custody Evaluations, they provide their imprimatur of legitimacy for the practice of child custody evaluations, and the AFCC should therefore reasonably be held directly accountable for the practice of child custody evaluations in forensic psychology.

Craig Childress, Psy.D.
Clinical Psychologist, PSY 18857

 

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My father’s rippling

The Walrus & the Carpenter

It is nutty over here.  In forensic psychology world.  Absolutely nutty.

You know how nutty?  Right off the top I can cite five widespread and simply rampant violations of the APA ethics code (Standards 2.04, 2.01a, 9.01a, 3.04, Principle D: Justice) and two independent counts of failure in their duty to protect, failure in the duty to protect from IPV spousal abuse and failure in their duty to protect the child from DSM-5 Child Psychological Abuse.

That’s just for openers.  There are violations in other areas, most prominently with Standard 10.01a regarding informed consent and Standard 10.10 regarding termination of treatment.  There’s so many that I can’t even discuss them all.

It’s like I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole into Wonderland over here, with a full cast of characters, there are hookah smoking caterpillars, nutty tea parties, a walrus and the carpenter, croquet with hedgehogs.  Just nutty everywhere.  Everything is upside-down here.

No one in this nutty world realizes it, because they’re all part of it.  Clinical psychologists don’t work with these families, they were banished in the 1980s and that’s fine by us, your families are too dangerous, “I don’t work with high-conflict divorce.”  Clinical psychology has abandoned you and down the rabbit hole you fell, into an upside-down world of abuse and exploitation.

This is a pathology of lies.  None of this is real – it is the transference dream of childhood trauma (Freud), it is the false kabuki theater of the trauma reenactment narrative (van der Kolk).  None of it is true… yet everyone believes the crazy as if it’s normal.

There is a caterpillar smoking a hookah and pontificating crazy stuff.  Anyone else see that?  That’s not normal.  What the hatter and the march hare are saying is wackadoodle.  Yet everyone here in Wonderland acts as if it’s just normal.  Did you see that baby just turn into a pig?  Right there, did you see that?  And you think that’s somehow normal?

Just nuts.

Except the targeted parents, sort of.  They’re all like Alice.  They realize things are nutty as all the dickens, but everyone else is acting like playing croquet with flamingos is normal, so maybe it is.  Where’d that hedgehog go, I need my hedgehog.

Absolutely nutty.  It’s because forensic psychology has been given total control over your families with no oversight and no review… for decades.  That’s led to rampant and unchecked ignorance, professional sloth, incompetence, and the widespread and unchecked financial exploitation of vulnerable parents.

Who’s going to stop them?  Forensic psychology is the Queen of Hearts.  Do you want to tell the red queen she’s wrong?  You’ll get our head chopped off.  Can’t do that.  Forensic psychology owns you.  You belong to them.

Meanwhile, we have a tea party of therapists, evaluators, parenting coordinators, a whole menagerie of nutty.  Every one of them.  Up pops a dormouse, can I have another cup of tea, we need a second child custody evaluation because the first one solved nothing.

None of them know anything about what they’re doing, these forensic psychology people.  None of them know attachment pathology (Bowlby), or family systems therapy (Minuchin), or even about the breach-and-repair sequence that is fundamental to parent-child conflict (Tronick). Nothing.

And then the craziest thing is that these completely ignorant mental health people then claim to be the “experts.”  In the wonderland that is forensic psychology world, ignorance becomes the “experts.”  Just nuts.

Becoming an “Expert”

It doesn’t take anything to be an “expert” over here besides self-assertion.  Do you need to know family systems therapy to assess, diagnose, and treat family conflict pathology?  No, don’t be silly, expertise is not determined by what you know, this is Wonderland, everything – everything – is upside down… it’s a world of lies.

Do you need to know about the attachment system when assessing, diagnosing, and treating attachment pathology?  Heavens no.  Knowledge is irrelevant to being an “expert.”  Not here, not in forensic psychology world, up is down, black is white, and reality is whatever the Red Queen proclaims it to be.

This is a narcissistic pathology.

It’s all over the place here, narcissism, in all of the pathogen’s allies. That’s how it captures them, their narcissism.  It captures another set through their greed, the child custody “Evaluators.”

THAT, is a truly terrifying role for professional psychology – like the Inquisitor of the Spanish Inquisition, judging who “deserves” to be a parent.  “Beware the Jabberwock, my son! The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!” 

Child custody evaluators are piggies at the financial trough of parents and children.  They solve nothing yet charge $20,000 to $40,000 for their no-solution evaluation.  They churn through families, financially raping them, destroying one and then moving on to the next.  They are exploiting vulnerable parents, pure and simple. Who’s to stop them, they’re the only game in town. They banished clinical psychology decades ago under threat of license if we work with your families, they own you.  And they are financially raping parents, vulnerable parents, parents in need.

Child custody evaluations are in violation of a basic foundational principle of the Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct of the American Psychological Association: Principle D Justice.  At $20,000 to $40,000 each, child custody evaluations deny equal access (in violation of Principle D), and with an inter-rater reliability of zero they deny equal quality (in violation of Principle D).  Child custody evaluations not only violate multiple  professional practice Standards (2.04, 2.01a, 9.01a, 3.04), child custody evaluations violate a fundamental Principle of ethical professional practice; Principle D Justice.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son! The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!” 

Beware forensic psychology, they will exploit you, take your money, and they will solve nothing.

The abundance of “experts” without expertise feels like the walrus and the carpenter.  Come little clams, everything will be so fine over here, and then they eat them.

These “experts” with false voices channel parents into the “parental alienation” construct – surprise, the one thing they happen to be “expert” in – and then they exploit the parents financially, for consultations, for “expert” testimony at trial, to sell you their books and promote themselves as “experts.”  Convenient.

Of course they guide parents into this non-existent pathology that has to be proven in court.  It’s of benefit to them to be an “expert” in a pathology that needs solution.  But sending parents into the family courts to prove a new form of pathology is no solution whatsoever.  That approach has failed miserably for forty years.  They want to keep doing it. Why?  Because that’s what they’re “expert” in.  Wonderland, up is down. Where’s my hedgehog?

This is a narcissistic pathology – the narcissism surrounding it is extensive. 

 What is most remarkable is the profound absence of empathy in forensic psychology – it is both stunning and appalling; their absence of basic human empathy.  I read their reports. The ignorance is profound, and the absence of basic human empathy is stunning – and appalling.

A failure in human empathy at this magnitude should NOT be coming from professional psychology.  We heal trauma, we don’t inflict trauma. Standard 3.04 Avoiding Harm.  Parents count as people.  We don’t hurt people.  At least clinical psychologists don’t.

I view myself as heading up the trauma recovery team for these parents, the parents who have been targeted for savage and brutal emotional abuse by their ex-spouse.  I view this as my ethical responsibility as a clinical psychologist.  Clinical psychology is treating the trauma (PTSD complex trauma; traumatic grief) that is being created by forensic psychology.

How nutty is that.  I’m treating trauma created by another field of “professional” psychology.  I put the term “professional” in quotes because there are many-many violations in ethical standards of practice that lead to the emotional abuse and exploitation of parents.

These parents are being emotionally abused and financially exploited by forensic psychology.  They are being traumatized with the loss of their children.

What’s the success rate of forensic psychology in restoring healthy post-divorce families? Zero. Their success rate is zero.  Yet they continue to do exactly what does NOT work… making $20,000 to $40,000 per child custody evaluation with an assessment that they KNOW is not valid (no inter-rater reliability) and that is a clear violation on two separate counts of Principle D of the APA ethics code for justice, failing to provide equal access and failing to provide equal quality.

Experts-Experts Everywhere

There is a serious abundance of grandiosity and arrogance here – absolutely everywhere.

That’s this “expert” thing you all have going on over here.  Everyone is an “expert.”  You won’t find psychologists in other fields, such as autism or ADHD, all clamoring that we’re “experts” in autism, you don’t see “experts” in ADHD.  An expert in autism is Stanley Greenspan (Floortime) or Ivar Lovaas (Applied Behavioral Analysis).  An expert in ADHD is Keith Connors (the Conners Comprehensive Behavior Rating Scale) or Jim Swanson (MTA study).  An expert in attachment is John Bowlby or Edward Tronick.

If you don’t match that… you’re not an “expert.”  But here… here in forensic psychology world, “experts” abound.  Like rabbits, everywhere you look.  That’s a problem.

We’ll be leaving Wonderland, returning up and out of the rabbit hole, back to an actual reality, like Alice waking from her dream, or you from this nightmare. Reality exists, and professional obligations under the APA ethics code are required.

If you assert that you are an “expert,” bring your vitae and substantiate the statement. Otherwise, that would be a violation of Standard 5.01b

Standard 5.01 Avoidance of False or Deceptive Statements

(b) Psychologists do not make false, deceptive, or fraudulent statements concerning (1) their training, experience, or competence;

If you say that you are an “expert” – that is a professional statement to the public about your level of competence.  Dr. Childress is not saying that he is an “expert” – I’m just a clinical psychologist.  You are making a professional statement that you are not merely a clinical psychologist, you know more, that you are an “expert” in this pathology.  You know more than Dr. Childress. That’s what you are saying.

So, prove it.  Let’s see your vitae that supports your claim to be an “expert.”

Because, “Psychologists do not make false, deceptive, or fraudulent statements concerning their… competence.”  You are claiming to be MORE than a mere therapist and mental health professional… you’re an “expert.” You’re above the rest of mental health professionals. That is your professional statement when you claim to be an “expert.”

Dr. Childress is merely a clinical psychologist. You are claiming to be superior in your professional knowledge than Dr. Childress, you are an “expert”.  That is your professional claim.

So, back it up.  I am asserting that your statement of supposed “expert” status is a “false, deceptive, and fraudulent statement” about your “competence,” and is in violation of Standard 5.01b of the APA ethics code.  So, bring your vitae and let’s see.

Dr. Childress is NOT claiming to be an “expert.”  I am a clinical psychologist.  That’s it.

If you are claiming to be an “expert,” you are claiming to know more than Dr. Childress.  My vitae is up on the web (Dr. Childress: Vitae), I have a YouTube series on my vitae (Dr. Childress: Youtube Vitae), I have a blog post on my professional qualifications (Dr. Childress: Professional Background).

If you claim to be an “expert” with this pathology, then you claim to know more than I do.  I’m not an “expert,” I’m just a clinical psychologist.  So, bring your vitae and let’s compare our… expertise.

The exploitation of these parents stops. 

I am heading up their trauma recovery, because somebody has to do it.  You’re not doing it, so I am.  I’m a clinical psychologist, I’m working.  The exploitation of these parents by professional psychology stops.  If you try to exploit these parents and their vulnerability, you will have words with the head of their trauma recovery team. That is not okay, to exploit these parents and their vulnerability.

Let me be entirely clear… It is not okay for professional psychology to exploit the vulnerability of these parents.

We must provide them with a grounded and actualizable solution to their family difficulties.

Over in real world… being expert in what you do is the expectation.  If you’re not expert in ADHD or autism or trauma… then what are you doing over here, go away.

Seriously, if you don’t know what you’re doing – stop, now – you shouldn’t be doing what you’re doing.  That applies to all pathologies.  In real-world professional psychology, expertise is the expected standard of practice.

Over here, it’s all like a twirly made-up world.  I can hardly turn around without bumping into an “expert” – and the “experts” I run into are stone-cold ignorant of actual reality – van der Kolk, Bowlby, Tronick, Stern, Fonagy, Bowen… just stone-cold ignorant.  None of them know Fonagy, none of them. None of them know Tronick or Stern.  Just stone-cold ignorant.

I can’t even have a professional-level conversation with them because I first have to educate them in order to have a professional-level conversation with them.  If you’re claiming to be an “expert” I shouldn’t have to first educate you just to have a professional-level conversation with you (Fonagy, mentalization; Stern, intersubjectivity).  And yet… you’re an expert.  I’ll have some Earl Grey, please. 

Just insane.  Nutty as the day is long.

Let me clue my professional colleagues in on the meaning of the term “competence” – professional competence is knowing everything there is to know about the pathology, and then reading journals to stay current.

That’s called basic competence. Ignorance and sloth are not acceptable standards of practice, so expertise is not remarkable – expertise is standard of practice.  It is expected standard of practice for EVERYONE who works with a particular type of pathology to know everything there is to know about the pathology, and then read journals to stay current.  That is the meaning of the word, “competence.”

The Gardnerians and the puffy-vitae forensic psychologists, all of them… If someone tells you they’re an “expert” in some pathology, they’re just a narcissist captivated by their self-grandiosity.  Direct them to speak with Dr. Childress regarding their alleged expertise. Tell them to bring their vitae, I’ll want to see their vitae.

Standard 5.01 Avoidance of False or Deceptive Statements
(b) Psychologists do not make false, deceptive, or fraudulent statements concerning (1) their training, experience, or competence;

Standard 1.04 Informal Resolution of Ethical Violations
When psychologists believe that there may have been an ethical violation by another psychologist, they attempt to resolve the issue by bringing it to the attention of that individual,

Standard 1.05 Reporting Ethical Violations
If an apparent ethical violation has substantially harmed or is likely to substantially harm a person or organization and is not appropriate for informal resolution under Standard 1.04, Informal Resolution of Ethical Violations, or is not resolved properly in that fashion, psychologists take further action appropriate to the situation. Such action might include referral to state or national committees on professional ethics, to state licensing boards, or to the appropriate institutional authorities.

The APA ethics code is not optional.  I did not write the ethics code of the APA.  It is required of all psychologists.  It is not optional.

You claim to be an “expert” in a particular type of pathology?  Prove it.  The exploitation of these families by professional psychology ends.

We are leaving the insanity of trauma-world, it’s nuts over here.  Everything in upside-down. 

Standards of Practice

I have a proposal to address this “expert” thing over here, it’s simply out of control.

Me.

I’m your baseline standard.  If you know more than me, we’ll confer on you the title of “expert.”  If you don’t know more than me about the pathology… you’re not an “expert”… you’re just a human.

Once someone self-proclaims as an “expert” their professional identity becomes all wrapped up in their maintaining their status as an “expert,” so they stop making rational decisions in the best interests of their clients and their motivation instead becomes to maintain their status as an “expert.”

I’m not an “expert.”  My first referral for recovery from complex trauma is to Dorcy Pruter… because that’s in the best interests of my client. She can accomplish what I can’t.  No ego.  She gets the job done, she’s my first referral.

And she knows as much about this pathology as I do, in some ways more.  She understands it from the inside.  The pathology teaches of itself, we learn of the pathology from the pathology.

So no more “experts.” Call yourself a “consultant” – You’re a consultant on something.

Experts in Unicorns

Now here’s the thing… when they call themselves an “expert” in “parental alienation,” there is actually no such pathology as “parental alienation” in established professional psychology.

They are essentially saying they’re an “expert” in a mythological beast – a thing that doesn’t actually exist… and they are an expert in it.  That’s like saying they’re an “expert” in unicorns – they know all the pretty colors and magical properties of unicorns.

That’s great.  Problem is, there’s no such thing as unicorns, so they are actually experts is nothing.  Pretty unicorns, great.  Not really practical if we want to actually solve anything.

That’s what the Gardnerians are looking at right about now.  I’m taking the construct of “parental alienation” away from them – away from everybody – so that everyone over here has to apply real knowledge – which means that they also have to know real knowledge.

But these “experts” have their narcissistic and grandiose professional self-identity entirely wrapped up in unicorns.  They’re not an expert in attachment, or trauma, or family systems therapy – just unicorns.  If they lose unicorns, they lose personal self-identity.  They are an “expert” in unicorns.

So when unicorns vanish, so too does their expertise, which is the entire source of their professional self-identity.  That’s a problem.  They’re going to resist change because the change means these “experts” vanish.

Bowlby is an expert – Minuchin is an expert – Beck is an expert.

We’re swapping out our “experts.”

Here’s the standard for “expert” – that you know more than Dr. Childress. I’m your baseline.

  • I have a doctoral degree in clinical psychology; not medicine, not law, not research psychology – a doctoral degree in clinical psychology.

So, psychiatrists and other physicians, Master’s level therapists, and attorneys… you’re not “experts.”  You’re physicians, therapists, and attorneys.  Physicians are expert in medicine, attorneys are expert in the law.  Clinical psychologists are more expert than Master’s level therapists in pathology – more training and education.

  • I am a trained family systems therapist. That means, to be an “expert” you also have to be a trained family systems therapist.

In fact, if you’re not a trained family systems therapist and yet you are treating complex family conflict… then you’re not even competent… not an “expert” – it’s questionable if you are simply competent.  How can you be competent in family therapy if you know nothing about family therapy?

Ignorance is not “expertise” – opposite ends.

  • I also have background training and experience in treating attachment pathology.  To be an expert, you also have to have background training and experience in assessing, diagnosing, and treating attachment pathology.

Again, if you DON’T have background training and experience treating attachment pathology – yet you are assessing, diagnosing, and treating attachment pathology (i.e., a child rejecting a parent), then you’re not even competent.

To be competent in treating an attachment pathology you must have professional training and experience treating attachment pathology.

How completely insane is that, that I would even need to make such a self-evident statement?  To be competent in attachment pathology you need to know attachment pathology.  Yet I need to make that entirely self-evident statement… because it’s not happening.  These people are entirely incompetent.

Wonderland, ignorance becomes the anointed “experts.”  Follow me, over here, we’ll have a grand old time, said the walrus and the carpenter to the unsuspecting clams.  Take a walk with us and into the family courts, and we’ll prove“parental alienation” pathology to a judge at trial.

Are you nuts?  Judges are legal professionals.  Judges don’t diagnose pathology, psychologists do.  Oh. I see.  The mental health professionals are entirely ignorant and slothful, they’re not trying to solve anything. 

Well, we’ll need to change that won’t we.

The Expert Model

The narcissistic assertion: “Truth and reality are whatever I assert them to be.”

They simply assert that they are an “expert” and they magically become one.  That’s all it takes in forensic psychology world.

Then they all go around anointing each other as “experts” – it’s the funniest thing I’ve ever seen.  Like watching an odd dance of birds, they gather and cluck – “I’m an expert – you’re an expert – we’re experts.”  What an odd display.  Things just keep getting curiouser and curiouser. 

Do you see that happening anywhere else in professional psychology – “experts” in autism, “experts” in panic attacks, “experts” in eating disorders?  No.

In every other field it’s simply called our specialization. I specialize in autism, or anxiety disorders, or eating disorders.  Am I an “expert” in these things?  If I’m specializing in that pathology, of course, I know everything to know about the pathology – but that’s not being an “expert” – that’s called being competent.

Aristotle was an “expert.”  For thousands of years we treated medical illness by bleeding patients with leeches because Aristotle said sickness was caused by an imbalance in our four “humours,” and that bleeding the patient would restore the balance.

Was any of that true?  No.  That is exactly what the “expert” model gets us. Thousands of years of ignorance.

For the longest time the Bible was the expert authority on all things.  The sun circled the earth because that’s what the Bible said, the authority.  Galileo then reported on the actual data, that the earth travels around the sun.  The Church threatens to burn him at the stake unless he recants and says a false thing, that the earth is at the center and the sun circles the earth, because that’s what the authority said.

Was any of that true, about the earth being the center and everything circling the earth?  No.  That’s exactly what the “expert” model gets us, continued ignorance.

The scientific method and scientific research, not “experts” who assert without support, leads to solutions.

If you want to be an “expert” – bring your vitae.  I’ll set up a booth at tbe County Fair, Compare Your Vitae, like one of those hammer and bell things.  You can bring your vitae and compare it to Dr. Childress.  If you know more than I do – you’ll ring the bell and we’ll declare you an “expert,” and you can go home with a big stuffed bear with a giant E on its tummy – if not, then we’re talking basic competence.

They’ll have me beat on unicorns.  I know next to nothing about mythical animals.  Do these “experts” have more training and background in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of unicorns.  I guess so. I have zero training and background in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of unicorns.  They are clearly experts in unicorns, I suppose. 

Although, I’m not seeing where believing things that aren’t true is of much help to solving anything.  The construct of “parental alienation” is a unicorn.  It doesn’t exist.  A nice story about a horse with a lovely magic horn on its forehead.  Nice story, doesn’t exist.

The pathology is the trans-generational transmission of attachment trauma.

Trauma?  So… are they “expert” in trauma?  No, that would be Bruce Perry, John Briere, and Bessel van der Kolk.

Attachment:  Are they “expert” in attachment?  No, that would be John Bowlby, Mary Ainsworth, Alan Sroufe, Edward Tronick, Daniel Stern, Peter Fonagy.

I’m not particularly interested that blue unicorns will magically make music when they prance, or that yellow unicorns can end storms and bring sunshine.  Because unicorns don’t exist.

There is no new pathology.  Everything about this family pathology is ENTIRELY describable using the established constructs of professional psychology. We don’t need a new pathology.

This is a narcissistic pathology. The proliferation of “experts” is a symptom feature of that.  They are manifesting a symptom of narcissistic pathology – grandiosity.

That’s right, these “experts” are a symptom.  It is a symptom of this narcissistic (trauma) pathogen, this plethora of “experts” everywhere.  They don’t realize it because they are captured by their own narcissistic grandiosity of being “experts” – it’s the transference narrative – they become the “protective other” in the trauma dream of the reenactment story.

They are the beneficent protector – the “expert.”

Let me anchor in reality for a second.  The vitae of Alan Sroufe from 2014 is online.  This is what an expert in attachment looks like.

Alan Sroufe Vitae

Notice first, his degrees are in clinical psychology.  Those university positions are strong, those journal he edited are top-tier, his awards substantial, his books are many, and look at the number of research articles – not opinion pieces – solid research in substantial journals… page after page.  Sixteen pages, no fluff.  That’s what the vitae of an “expert” looks like.

Delusions of Grandiosity

A fixed and false belief that is maintained despite contrary evidence is a delusion. The contrary evidence for the construct of “parental alienation” is that the American Psychiatric Association fully examined the construct… and said no.  The APA said no.  That’s the contrary evidence.

A fixed and false belief that is maintained despite contrary evidence is a delusion.  A false belief in having “special knowledge” that no one else has is called a “grandiose delusion.”

From my vantage, they look less like professionals and more like a cult of personality surrounding Richard Gardner and his PAS proposal – the worst diagnostic model for pathology ever proposed from the beginning of time until now – the worst ever.

Bowlby – Minuchin – Beck; the application of the “established scientific and professional knowledge of the discipline” is required by Standard 2.04.

First.  Apply knowledge first.  Before any “new pathology” proposals.  First, apply knowledge first – Standard 2.04.

The APA ethics code is not optional, it is mandatory – apply the “established scientific and professional knowledge of the discipline” – first.

If we need a “new form of pathology” proposal AFTER we have applied the “established scientific and professional knowledge of the discipline” then we can propose one – AFTER applying the “established scientific and professional knowledge of the discipline.”

And you know what?  The moment we apply the “established scientific and professional knowledge of the discipline” we solve this pathology immediately.

And they know it, these unicorn “experts.”  They just won’t do it, apply knowledge.  Why?

First, because they don’t know the knowledge. They are not even at basic competence.

Second, because the moment they do then they cease to be “experts” and become just ordinary.

To my professional colleagues, I’m your standard.  Bring your vitae and let’s compare.  If you know more than me, then you’re an “expert,” but if you don’t know more than Dr. Childress, then you’re not an “expert” and Standard 5.01b applies regarding Avoidance of False or Deceptive Statements.

I’m not an expert. 

You’re the one claiming to know more than I do.  You’re the one claiming to be an “expert.”  So, prove it.  Otherwise your claim is a violation of Standard 5.01b of the APA ethics code.

We are raising – substantially – the professional standards of practice with these children and for these parents.  The application of the “established scientific and professional knowledge of the discipline” (Bowlby, Minuchin, Beck) is not optional, and failure to do so is unethical professional practice (Standard 2.04 Bases for Scientific and Professional Judgments).

Craig Childress, Psy.D.
Clinical Psychologist, PSY 18857

 

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