March 24, 2011

Come To My New Blog And Web Site!

I have a new blog and web site, and I'm inviting everyone to it. This blog/web site focuses on my erotic writing. I will continue to post sex toys reviews on this blog. So, if you want to keep up with me, visit me at my new digs.

Elizabeth Black - Blog and Web site

See you there!


Posted on March 24, 2011 at 12:28 PM | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack

February 10, 2011

Great Mom Movies

Just came across this list of great movies about moms. How many have you seen? I'm listing movies that may appeal to kids. Many of these movies would appeal to boys, too.


Not Without My Daughter (Sally Field rescues her kid)

Changeling (Angelina Jolie fights to find her real son)

Mask (Cher is biker single mom defending her son)

Forest Gump (mother is beloved and father is absent)

Taken From Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story (mother rescues son kidnapped by father and taken to South Korea; based on a true story)

Alien and sequel Aliens (ultimate strong woman, boys love movies)

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (strong women)

Fargo (hysterically funny Coen Brothers)

Erin Brockovich (mother isn't the point but good movie, strong mother)

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (a strong woman doesn't need man, boys love movie)

Kindergarten Cop (Arnold Schwartzenegger cute movie, kids like; mother is secondary character but the bad guy is the father)

Norma Rae (strong woman, organizes labor union)

All About My Mother (Spanish film, deep shit, kid dies, older teen only)

The Terminator movies, Terminator 2 (mother is hero and boys love the movie)

Mrs. Miniver (black and white, kids might not really be into it)

Mildred Pierce (black/white Joan Crawford classic)

Terms Of Endearment (imperfect mom movie)

Chocolat (maybe, shows mother's efforts, but good movie)

The Ring (Japanese original - mother rescues child. Horror movie. Older children only.)

Dark Water (Japanese original - mother rescues child. Mother dies in end. Horror movie. Older children only.)

Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (history lesson too)

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and 2 sequels (warning very explicit sex and violence; mother is victim and daughter is hero, sex trafficking theme, bi-sexualism, subtitled)


I'll even name one good dad movie: "The Host". (Korean. Dad saves child but child dies in end. Monster movie. Kids, especially boys, will love it.)

Posted on February 10, 2011 at 05:31 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 02, 2011

Knuckle-Draggers In The News

Oh, boy! It seems a woman's boss had been harassing her for ages. He finally tipped his hat when he gave her a sex toy for her birthday. That was the last straw, so she's suing. She has good reason to sue because he's created a hostile working environment for her with his sexually suggestive remarks and now with the sex toy. After she threw it in the trash and told him to not do that sort of thing anymore, he quipped "Come on, girl. You don’t know how to enjoy your life." First off, she's a woman, not a girl, and this is the usual put-down when harassing a woman - "Dearie, you can't take a joke."

If I were in her position I'd be pissed, too. Hey, I can take a joke with the best of them, but what he did was way out of hand. I bet he'd never treat a male subordinate like that, or - even better - give his male boss a sex toy as a birthday gift. This is a power play, plain and simple.

In a related bit of news, it seems the guys from Top Gear are in hot water again. What else is new? I'll admit right now that I love that show. I watch it all the time with my husband and son, and while those three (especially Clarkson and Hammond) really take things too far, it seems to me that nothing is sacred when it comes to their insults. Must be a British tradition. Anyone remember the TV show Dave Allen At Large from the 1970s? He made fun of Catholics all the time, and just about anyone else. Nothing was sacred. Same applies to Ricky Gervais. Everyone not living under a rock heard about his performance at the Golden Globes. I saw and read clips, and laughed my ass off. We started watching An Idiot Abroad on BBC America, and it highlights British xenophobia when the star takes trips to countries far outside his comfort zone.

Back to Top Gear, Richard Hammond made an extremely offensive and suggestive comment to a female paramedic working on the show. He told her his "willie tasted funny". If I were in her position I would have told him he really needed to stop tasting his willie, and to not say anything like that to me again.

The latest to come out of Top Gear is - again - a comment from Richard Hammond. This time he insulted Mexicans when he said on a recent show "Mexican cars are just going to be lazy, feckless, flatulent, overweight, leaning against a fence asleep looking at a cactus with a blanket with a hole in the middle on as a coat." Yeah, as if the British have anything to brag about when it comes to their cars, teeth, and food. Everyone is up for insults on that show. Jeremy Clarkson brushed off the comment, saying he doubted they'd get any flack for it because the UK Ambassador to Mexico was probably asleep when the show aired. Well, someone must have awakened him because he complained about the "offensive, xenophobic and humiliating" comments. An earlier comment about lorry drivers got a rise out of some people when one of them said this: "This is a hard job, and I'm not just saying this to win favour with lorry drivers. It's a hard job - change gear, change gear, change gear, check your mirrors, murder a prostitute, change gear, change gear, murder. That's a lot of effort in a day." And of course Clarkson is always mocking Americans for being fat, which I find hilarious. Anyone who watches the show remembers the rather zaftig American Stig. The only one I haven't seen say anything like this is Captain Slow. Maybe he either doesn't go for that sort of thing, or he hasn't been caught yet. I wonder if some people might consider it a badge of honor to be insulted by the hosts of this show?

As far as I'm concerned, the show is an equal opportunity offender, just like Dave Allen At Large and Ricky Gervais. Nothing is sacred. The only quibble I have was Hammond's personal suggestive comment to the paramedic. That definitely went too far because it was so up-close-and-personal. You don't do that to someone working for you, as that asshat who sent the sex toy to his female subordinate learned. It's a power play, plain and simple. Sometimes you just have to know when to shut up or - in Asshat's case - someone will shut you up with a lawsuit.

Posted on February 2, 2011 at 10:40 AM | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

January 04, 2011

Viagra - A Rhapsody In Blue

Here's a blast from the past. Time Capsule time: this is my Feminista! article about Viagra shortly after the drug was released on the market back in 1998. Feminista! is no longer online but you may access my article at the Wayback Machine. Read this article and then read my blog post on Female Sexual Dysfunction. Enjoy both! [Warning: feminism below. May cause some heads to explode. LOL]

Viagra - A Rhapsody In Blue
Feminista! Volume 2, Number 3/4
By Trish Wilson

The jokes were inevitable. You've probably already heard most of them.

Italian mothers tell their daughters to buy Viagra. Jewish mothers tell their daughters to buy Pfizer.

Before Viagra, for some people, making love was classified as "assault with a dead weapon."

Mix Viagra and Prozac and you have a guy who is ready to go, but doesn't really care where.

When I first read about Viagra (sildenafil citrate), I didn't know what to think. So, I sat back and observed. Something was going on; much more than what was presented by the news media. The stories poured in, many bordering on the absurd. Sixteen Viagra deaths climbed to thirty. A 34-year old women claimed to have been assaulted by an elderly man brandishing a crowbar when she refused his sexual advances. He had recently taken Viagra. Some poor fool popped a pill and walked around with a stiff one for 36 hours.

I felt as if I had dropped into a pit of cheap-rate science fiction movies.

Why has this blue, diamond-shaped pill captured the American public's attention? I found that there was not one answer. There were many answers. They appeared to contradict each other, but in reality they didn't.

When viewed through the funhouse mirror of Patriarchy, they become very clear.

Viagra was a dirty stick that poked at our preconceived notions about sexuality. It exposed American social and sexual mores. It showed how patriarchy worked to the detriment of both women and men, and how those with money (including corporations) governed those who lacked it.

The Viagra craze has shined a light on the poor treatment of all women in this country. It exposed the lack of attention paid to women's health care, especially reproductive care. It also emphasized the notion that women were to be made sexually available for men.

The Viagra craze benefited men and harmed them at the same time. It took their concerns with virility, and turned those concerns against them. Most men could not see how this was the case.

The news reports I read created more questions in my mind rather than answering the ones that already existed.

What happens if a guy overdoses on Viagra? Does he turn into a surfboard?

How many men will blame sexual problems on their partner since, with Viagra, they believe they couldn't possibly be contributing to the problems themselves anymore? Their problem (impotence) is allegedly cured, so the sexual problems are now nonexistent as far as they are concerned. How many purchase the pills, yet share their newfound virility with women in brothels or with mistresses rather than with their wives and girlfriends? Some brothels in Nevada have reported increases in their clientele ever since this drug came on the market. One downright surreal headline read "'Viagra Widow' Sues for Damages - Husband Takes Viagra and Has Sex for the First Time in Four Years - With Another Woman." (Independent, June 17, 1998) The woman in question, Roberto Bernardo, is suing her 70 year old husband for a cool two million, and is considering suing Pfizer, citing Viagra as "hazardous to marriages."

I noted contradictions and inconsistencies in articles.

Very little attention has been paid to the side effects of the drug. Anyone who takes a prescription drug must become familiar not only with the side effects, but with reactions to other drugs and sometimes various foods and alcoholic beverages. What is this "blue tinge" side effect that is mentioned but rarely explained? How is it caused? Would it affect glaucoma or those with diabetes? Why hasn't more been written about it? If I took a prescription drug that made everything look as if I had walked onto a location shoot for "The X Files," or as if I were viewing the world from the floor of the Pacific Ocean, I'd be scared to death. Especially if I saw Viagra fish.

This isn't the first time I've heard of a drug causing such a side effect. It may be urban legend, but the digitalis Vincent van Gogh reportedly took allegedly caused him to see yellow. That side effect goes a long way to explain the brilliant yellows in his paintings, assuming the story is true. Hmmm. Digitalis is used as a heart treatment. Viagra was originally used to treat angina, although it didn't do it very effectively. This is probably a coincidence.

If van Gogh took Viagra on top of digitalis, would he have seen green?

Several articles reported the alleged medical need for Viagra to cure impotence. On the flip side, I read of the dangers of recreational use of the drug in combination with other drugs such as heart medication and "poppers" (amyl and butyl nitrate, which are inhaled to enhance the sexual experience). I saw concern expressed by the medical establishment regarding the inevitable and possibly dangerous recreational use of Viagra, but no action has been taken to do anything about it. To date, thirty men have died after taking this drug. Don't tell me that the medical establishment or the government can't or won't act. Nothing stopped the House of Representatives in June from blocking the F.D.A. from testing or approving any abortion-inducing pill, including RU-486, a drug that the F.D.A. has approved for use in controlled studies. Abortion opponents say the measure, which is attached to a $56 billion agriculture appropriations bill, merely prevents taxpayer money from being used to facilitate abortion.

How hypocritical. Taxpayer money is being used in some states to provide Viagra as part of Medicaid coverage, citing "erectile dysfunction" as the medical justification. Flaccid penii are a medical emergency, but unplanned pregnancies are not. Medicaid has covered Viagra in Maryland, D. C., Utah, Florida, and Alabama. Such benevolence has never reached women and children, who represent 90 percent of Medicaid recipients. They will not receive additional funding for mammograms or pap smears. They are being booted off the welfare roles. Women on welfare are lazy leeches who, together with their bastard children, suck at the government tit, remember? However, should a man receiving Medicaid in those states want to suck on a woman's ... well, you get my drift. Make sure he gets his Viagra. She can fend for herself.

How many years did it take to remove the Dalcon Shield from both the market and women's bodies after large numbers of women were either maimed or killed by the device?

If the people who worship at the Altar of Viagra wanted to prevent the recreational use of the drug, they would have done so.

Then again, scads of men appear to be willing to pay out the wazoo for such a pill and consciously misuse it, all for the sake of a hard-on. How stringently was Viagra tested? If these men continue to take the drug knowing of those thirty-plus deaths, they may literally be taking their lives into their own hands, pardon the pun. If they choose to do so knowing the risks, so be it.

Some health plans include coverage of Viagra but refuse to cover female contraception. Erections are deemed a medical necessity for men, but pregnancies -- including pregnancies that may result from the excessive use of Viagra -- are the woman's choice. This is very dangerous verbiage that women's groups, to my knowledge, have not adequately noted. "Choice" is being used against women. It is our "choice" to maintain control of our sexuality; to have an abortion if needed; and to have the ability to purchase birth control. Therefore, neither the government nor the medical establishment should have to pay for our "choices." Impotence, however, is considered a grave medical condition that can destroy a man's masculine image. If he cannot perform, his self-esteem -- his self-image as a man -- deflates. If only for one evening. Men can have Viagra, but women cannot have RU-486.

It doesn't matter that an unplanned pregnancy will affect a woman's entire life. It doesn't concern these people that women may die from pregnancy complications. It doesn't matter that a months' supply of birth control pills is considerably less expensive for healthcare providers than a months supply of Viagra. To quote Senator Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) as reported by UPI, "The incredible irony is that oral contraceptives, which are used by women, have been on the market since 1960, nearly four decades, yet only 33 percent of typical indemnity policies cover them. In contrast, the Viagra pill has been on the market just over a month, yet the question from insurers is not whether they will cover it, but who will be covered and for how many pills." Aetna, for instance, allows employers to purchase special coverage for Viagra and decide how many pills they want to pay for.

It's that double-standard, hard at work. Sexually active men are viewed as healthy and vital. Sexually active women are viewed both as harlots who must be made sexually available to men, and as the sex solely responsible for all forms of social collapse. Thus, Viagra is promoted to ensure that men get more and better sex, and women's contraception and abortion are frowned upon. The Viagra craze may be seen today in part as the sexual revolution was seen in the '60s and '70s -- as a means of making women more sexually available to men, regardless of women's health concerns, choices, and sexual desires.

Contraception relieves women of worries about pregnancy. It also gives them control of their lives, since a woman with the ability to control when and if she bears children stands a better chance of thriving. In several stories, I read of men who had taken Viagra and cheated on their wives, fooled around with women young enough to be their granddaughters, and headed for the nearest brothel. In the few stories dealing with clinical trials of women on Viagra, those women appeared to be in the process of being primed to make them sexually available and ripe for men. It's worthy to note that testing of the drug on women did not occur until after it had been tested and purchased by thousands of men around the world. Now that he has his erection, test the drug on women so that they will be well-lubricated for him.

The image of the United States becoming a nation of scattered groups of pill- popping concubines flashes before my eyes.

You won't see this kind of attention paid to clinical trials of contraception, except to shut them down.

These Viagra tests aren't designed to uncover the secrets and desires behind women's sexuality. They will "free the American male libido in the same way the Pill did," as stated by Penthouse's Bob Guccione in a New York Times article by Douglas Martin (Sunday, May 3, 1998. "Thanks a Bunch, Viagra"). Yup, this is the same "Penthouse" that interviewed Warren Farrell back in 1977 regarding his warm views on "positive incest." These tests are conducted in much the same way most drug testing is conducted on women. Find out what works for the man first, and try the exact same thing on the woman. Just because Viagra was discovered to increase blood flow to the penis, thereby improving the chances of erection in men experiencing impotence, does not mean that the same pill will have a similar effect on women's sexual organs. Extra blood flow to the vagina does not equate with the sexual arousal of a woman. A pill alone will not put her "in the mood."

In a telling tale, one woman being tested on Viagra in Italy had to drop out of the trials. She was responding so well to treatment that her boyfriend became jealous, and he demanded that she stop.

Those two stories seem contradictory, but in reality they are not. According to the rules of Patriarchy, a woman's sexuality is owned by the man who claims her -- her husband, boyfriend, etc. As long as her sexual focus is on him exclusively, according to his terms -- i.e., she does not show (or admit to) sexual interest or activity with any other man -- everything will be fine. If she does show interest or admit to sexual activity with other men on her terms, and as in the Italian case if she greatly enjoys her sexual feelings in and of themselves (not through connection to any man in particular, including her boyfriend), she is out of his control. She is her own person. And that won't do.

There is no such stringent standard for men. For them, Viagra means more and better sex.

Money is a big motivator. I read reference to the "need" to promote this drug to help men by a male doctor who just happened to have a book about male impotence coming out in stores shortly after he was interviewed by The New York Times. Seems the only phenomenal growth he wanted to witness was book sales.

Pfizer's stock rose from $45 to $115 per share since Viagra has been available for purchase. The Times of London reported that Alan Greenberg, one of Wall Street's richest traders, has donated one million dollars to the Hospital for Special Surgery on Manhattan's Upper East Side so that Viagra can be made available to men who are impotent, elderly and impoverished. He decided on the gift after reading that some state health insurance plans refused to pay for Viagra prescriptions. Kaiser Permanente is one provider that will not cover Viagra, primarily due to the cost.

Did he make this gift out of the kindness of his heart? Hardly. He owns stock in Pfizer.

It's highly unlikely that you'd ever see anyone donate one million dollars for women's cervical cancer screening or mammograms.

There is a black market for Viagra, especially out of the U.S.A. Pills have sold in the range of $17 each to as high as $150 per pill, a whopping sum if I've ever heard one.

Are there really men who so strictly define themselves by the size and durability of their erections that they are willing to shell out $150 for one blue pill? What kind of an identity is that? Where did they learn to equate themselves with their erections?

You know where. In the same place where women's sexuality has been deemed part of male entitlement.

All the media attention insinuates that Viagra could greatly improve a man's sex life as well as give him an erection. It can't do that. It merely increased blood flow to the penis, which helps reduce impotence.

The erect penis itself does not define the sexual act.

Intercourse is not the only way to express yourself sexually to your partner. Such concentration on the penis results in two things: (1) a strict limiting of the definition of the sexual act to intercourse from his point of view, and (2) a reinforcement of the ideal that "real" sex requires penile penetration.

Viagra guarantees the man will focus on his penis to the detriment of his other erogenous zones as well as that of his partner's sexual needs whether that partner is a male or female. So much for foreplay.

A woman needs clitoral stimulation to reach orgasm, and the traditional missionary position does not effectively achieve that. A penis isn't the only item that may stimulate a woman, regardless of what Freud had to say about clitoral and vaginal orgasms.

There is a widespread assumption in this country that post-menopausal women experience greatly diminished sex drives. This assumption in part fuels Viagra testing on women, yet it is not true. As men age, they not only continue to be viewed as sexual beings, their sexual prowess is considered to be more potent, as if they are a fine, aged port rather than human beings. Post-menopausal women, on the other hand, are literally seen as "dried up."

For women who truly enjoy their sexuality, they know that more than half the fun is the ride itself. The destination isn't the only goal.

And finally, an insensitive, horny jerk with a Viagra hard-on is still an insensitive, horny jerk. He's just out ten or twelve bucks (the cost of one pill).

Hmmm... I wonder how many men have no difficulty shelling out that fifty bucks for five pills (the average prescription), but will balk at putting out any cash for condoms or birth control pills?

How many would pay their child support as eagerly as they would pay for their Viagra, assuming they pay their child support at all?

At issue here is discrimination against women when it comes to medical coverage and gender role expectations, but that issue is a small part of a larger issue that negatively affects both women and men.

Despite everything I had read about Viagra, something was amiss. Something was bothering me. It wasn't what I heard or what I read. It was what I hadn't heard or read. Took me a few days to figure out exactly what that was.

It came to me when I saw commercials on television advertising Merck's Propecia, a popular medication used to treat male pattern baldness.

Side effects are decreased sex drive and impotence. Quite ironic for older men and balding men who want both hair and erections. Remember the doctor I had mentioned who happened to have had a book coming out soon about impotence? One of his patients, a 52-year-old man, wanted Viagra as "insurance" in his relationship with a 24-year old woman. His goal, according to the same NYT article, was "repeated orgasms, though he also inquired about a drug to deal with his baldness." If he takes both Viagra and Propecia, those side effects will confuse his penis so much that it won't know whether to go up or down.

As a close male friend of mine told me recently, he believes that men are much more vain than women. Could be that some of them are willing to risk their health for vanity's sake.

Women have been bombarded with media imagery telling them that their bodies are too fat; too thick; too short; too tall; etc. Men have been receiving similar messages related to their sexual performance and their physical appearance, especially regarding thinning hair and middle aged spread.

While searching for information on Propecia, I came across Proscar, which is prescribed as a treatment for prostate enlargement, also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). This condition is very common in all men as they age, so the chance that an older man takes Proscar is high.

Propecia is a lower dose of Proscar.

Hmmm. Prostate enlargement.

It came to me again when I read that former Republican Senator and former Presidential candidate Bob Dole took the drug as part of the trials. I wonder if Mr. Dole saw blue when he took Viagra? Wouldn't be a new and unsettling experience for him. The other time he saw blue was when he lost the Presidential elections to Bill Clinton.

Mr. Dole had prostate surgery in 1991, due to prostate cancer.

In one article by Channel 2000 (Special Assignment: A Sexual Revolution. A CBS 2 News Special Assignment), Alfred Pariser had told CBS 2 that following surgery for prostate cancer, he became impotent. Tolman Geffs, also interviewed by CBS 2, had surgery to remove the cancer, but also found that he was impotent.

These two men, like Bob Dole, were part of a Viagra test group.

Prostate cancer. Viagra. Propecia.

That was when I noticed the silence.

Some men and men's health groups complain that too much funding goes to women's breast cancer prevention and research. They'd like to see more funding go towards prostate cancer prevention and research.

So why weren't those same men, especially those who were part of men's health groups, complaining about all the excessive attention, funding, and time that was going towards Viagra (and towards drugs like Propecia) -- recreational drugs and drugs that appealed to a man's vanity -- when so much more was needed when it came to funding research for prostate cancer?

Are erections much more important than finding a cure or adequate treatment for prostate cancer?

No. Viagra illustrates the double-edged sword inherent in Patriarchy. Sharp edge one: Erections AND finding a cure or adequate treatment for prostate cancer/enlargement are much more important than any funding related to women's health, including breast cancer. Including contraception. Including cervical cancer. All the complaints about breast cancer research funding are a smoke screen for the real issue. Could some of these groups who complain about men's health research want to see ALL men's health issues have top priority over women's health when it comes to any form of medical funding?

Sharp edge two: As the old saying goes, be careful for what you wish. You may get it. By narrowly defining manhood -- virility, potency, sexuality -- as the ability of a man's penis to remain erect for a given period of time, with the final result being an explosive orgasm, male sexuality has been reduced to nothing more than the isolated functioning of one body part. And that body part must perform, according to one Viagra user interviewed in one of many articles, " a 22 year old." Such blinders take the life and total enjoyment out of the sex act. Masculine performance also has priority over male health, including the one issue that concerns many men and men's health groups -- prostate cancer. Stockholders, pharmaceuticals, advertising companies, and the health care community stand to make much more money from drugs like Viagra than they ever will from pouring money into prostate cancer research. The media plays up the hype of the drug yet doesn't adequately cover the side effects such as headaches, flushing, indigestion, vision changes (primarily seeing blue). What other side effects are there that we have not been told about? Due to the number of deaths, one wonders if the drug needs more testing time. How much risk to his health does a man take when he swallows one of those blue pills? Very little has been written about drug interaction, including how Viagra would interact with medications that include diminished libido as a side effect, such as Proscar and Propecia. Viagra is not a holy grail. It will not turn a man into the Great Lover. No pill is capable of doing that.

Patriarchy is behind the great Viagra thrust to be the the biggest and the best. And when the source is Patriarchy, everybody gets screwed.

Most women are well aware of how that double-edged sword has worked against them. Some of them actively seek to dismantle Patriarchy. Too bad most of the guys can't see what is happening to them. They fell for the hype.

Such is the lure of the sucker's purse.

Trish Wilson is Feminista's Senior Contributing Editor.

Posted on January 4, 2011 at 10:49 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

I Don't Need A Pill To Turn Me On

I get infuriated by so-called sex research backed by Big Pharma because I know such "studies" are only curtains around the real push to sell expensive prescription drugs. I know because I've been on my share of prescription drugs before and they really didn't make me feel any better. Plus the side effects make them even worse.

I've never been on a sexually-oriented drug. My husband has. As my readers know, my husband is impotent. He also has little to no sex drive. He's tried Cialis and all it did was make him irritable and give him headaches and backaches. He had the same reaction to testosterone gel. My husband, normally a mild-mannered man, turned into a rage-o-holic when he was knuckling the steering wheel while driving in Boston, pumped upon testosterone gel. When he stopped taking it, I was so glad he went back to his normal sweet self. He stopped taking Cialis after only a couple of days because the aches and pains were horrible. Did the drugs improve his sexual performance? Not a bit. Only made things worse.

I remember back when Viagra made the news that some women complained that now all these formerly limp men had the hard-ons they craved that soon "studies" would be done on women experiencing low sexual desire so that a magical pill could be made to make them more amenable to the Viagra-pumped men's newly found sexual prowess. Yup, that happened. You know what else happened? Those Viagra-pumped men did have lots more sex - with women other than their wives and girlfriends. Oops!

So now here's another study that has put the label on yet another disorder before even properly investigating it. This new disorder is "Female Sexual Dysfunction" (FSD). According to the linked article, "FSD is so new that the drug company itself has had to help work out what the condition actually is." Isn't that special? It's like the wolf guarding the hen house. Ever hear of conflict of interest?

What's interesting is that while the medical establishment might have been looking for treatment for male sexual problems in the years before Viagra, the side effect that later became Viagra was discovered by accident. Researchers working on heart drugs noticed the wonderful side effect of erect penises, and homed in on that side effect. Not soon after, we were introduced to the little blue pill. That kind of accident isn't behind the push from Big Pharma to make money from FDS. Drug companies are designing the drugs and then fitting a "disorder" around them in order to make sales.

Keep in mind that the only thing Viagra does is bring blood flow to the penis. It doesn't affect sexual desire. It's only meant for men who have difficulty obtaining and/or holding erections. It's designed to deal with a very specific physical disorder. FSD, on the other hand, is so all-encompassing and vague that any woman who is exhausted and not in the mood after long hours working and doing the bulk of the housekeeping and child care is deemed to have a medical condition if she gives her man the hairy eyeball when he slaps his dick against her thigh when they're in bed that night. So Big Pharma figures it has to create drugs to fix this "problem" so the men are happy.

One company is testing a pharmaceutical cream designed to enhance blood flow to a woman's genitals and boost their level of sexual arousal. Those kinds of creams already exist and you can buy them in sex toys stores. I have used one and reviewed it. It's not available at that site anymore. Here's the same product at Crazy Girl Naughty Nympho Sexual Arousal Cream. Why spend lots of money when you can get the same effect for only $6.80? These creams do work and they feel wonderful! And you don't have to be labeled with a medical disorder in order to use them! The problem is why would Big Pharma not look at the whys regarding women and sexual arousal? That's easy - because Big Pharma is in it to make a buck. The article stated that at the time drugs for male sexual dysfunction were already on the market, Big Pharma immediately homed in on finding similar problems in women to make even more money. It's like I said - now that some men have their sexual prowess back, it's time to make their women more amenable to their advances. And Big Pharma laughs all the way to the bank.

Rather than discuss how society and religion affect women's views of their sexuality, or look into women resentful that they continue to be stuck with the lioness's share of the housework and childcare even in this "equal post-feminist" (LOL) society, mismatched sex drives between partners which is more common than you think (and that's my problem since I'm the one with a sex drive stronger than Casanova's), and simply unsatisfying relationships, Big Pharma ignores women's concerns and instead looks at vague symptoms, all with the goal of coming up with yet another expensive pill to hoist on everyone.

Posted on January 4, 2011 at 10:21 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 03, 2010

Richard Warshak Responds To Critics - And The Countess Responds To Him

So look at this. After all the attention Richard Warshak's critics have received - including dominating Google searches - he finally addresses them - and completely misses the boat. His comments are indented and in italics. My responses are in between.

Parental Alienation: Impracticality & Impressions. Dr. Richard Warshak Answers Critics
Answering Critics by Dr. Richard Warshak
The many parents I have helped, women and men, express astonishment that some people demonize me, attempt to tarnish my reputation, and spread misleading and false information about my work and me. Although my supporters far outweigh my detractors, the people seeking to quiet my voice yell loudly and work hard to circulate their misinformation.

Your critics and critics of parental alienation have been out there for a very long time. What the most recent critics have been saying is nothing new. However, this is the first time they've found a real voice on the internet, and we can't have that, can we?

Until now I have allowed the personal attacks and gross misrepresentations to go without answer.

Good. So you're finally going to address the facts that parental alienation is not going to be in the DSM-V, that it has never been peer reviewed, that it is not accepted as a valid disorder in the general scientific, medical, psychological, and legal communities, that it has become a huge cottage industry that makes lots of money for the people who make a living using it in divorce and child custody cases, that the man who coined it (original term "parental alienation syndrome") made statements supportive of incest and pedophilia (and he's your mentor), that parental alienation does not meet Frye and Daubert standards for admissibility in court, and that it is the most common weapon used in court by abusive fathers to get custody of their children away from the mothers they've been threatening and abusing.

By the way, you did answer. You and the Huffington Post deleted most comments, most very well-thought out, reasonable, and backed up by research, that criticized you and parental alienation in your "Stop Divorce Poison" HuffPost article.

I understand the mentality of a true believer and realize that clarification of reality and objective evidence will hit the brick wall of a closed mind. For various reasons, these people want to hold on to their beliefs. They cling to misguided ideas rather than acknowledge the widespread mistreatment of children described in Divorce Poison and my other works. In some respects, they resemble people from earlier generations who refused to acknowledge the evidence of their senses that children were being physically and sexually abused with alarming frequency. Just as the professionals who first pointed an accusing finger at a society that tolerated such abuse were attacked, I suppose it is my fate to be the target of similar attacks.

Interesting statement there, since your mentor Dr. Richard Gardner, who created Parental Alienation Syndrome, was one of those people who refused to acknowledge that children were being physically and sexually abused with alarming frequency. He believed most allegations moms and children made of sexual abuse were false. He also claimed that 90% of his PAS caseload was mothers. People who fought for children's welfare in the face of abuse were ridiculed as being "child savers" who were delusional. Fanatics. On a witch hunt. Demonizers. True believers. The same terms you are using to demean professionals and lay people who speak out against parental alienation and work to help abused mothers and children. Ironically, that's the same language used by the false-acc witchhunt sex abuser defense crowd.

More below the fold.

And I continue with my response to Richard Warshak's weak response to his critics. Warshak's statements are indented and in italics. Mine are in between.

Defending myself against such attacks feels a bit undignified. It seems an unnecessary waste of time, and gives currency to a few fanatics who attempt to alienate my audience from me using the same tactics that some parents use to alienate their children from the other parent. Some of these extremists have lost custody of their children in a ruling that seeks to protect the children from severe doses of divorce poison. Rather than recognize the rationale for the court's decision, these people believe that the judge either was biased or was foolishly taken in by the other parent's allegations.

Smooth move, there. You just bashed and minimized abused women who criticized you. And you call yourself a friend of abused women!

Some of these people would have you believe that there is an epidemic of judges who take joy in placing children with parents who beat or sexually molest them. In fact, one website claims a conspiracy of Masonic judges who, in every family court across North America (I am not exaggerating), automatically give custody to pedophiliac fathers who in turn pimp their children to pedophiliac members of the Illuminati (the group profiled in Dan Brown's novel Angels & Demons). I am not kidding. . . . Nor are they.

Now that's a sleight-of-hand move! When I first read this paragraph I wondered what the hell was he talking about. I had to read it a couple of times to make sure I was reading it correctly. I'd never heard of any such thing. So I did a Google search. You found one - one - article by a woman and you try to paint all your critics as crazy fanatics. That article is not on a custody site. There is only one person I know of who believes all that, and she wasn't one of the people commenting on your HuffPost article. I know of only one other person who believes something similar to what you say, minus all the Masonic and Illuminati stuff. The domestic violence community at large doesn't believe any of that. But don't let those facts get in your way of painting all domestic violence critics of you and parental alienation with a broad brush.

As I say in the Afterword to the revised edition of my book, when my wife reads these vicious and absurd accounts, she shakes her head in disbelief at the raw animosity that greets the work I do on behalf of suffering families. She asks, "Don't they know that you've devoted your career to the welfare of children?" The many women I have helped through my writing, consultations, and courtroom testimony cannot understand what motivates the detractors, who claim to be advocates for women.

It's nice your wife supports you. That's what wives are supposed to do. It's also nice your have women who support you. However, your wife's support and the support of some women isn't what matters here. What experts have written about you and parental alienation does matter. See below:

The National Association Of Juvenile And Family Court Judges
A Judicial Guide To Safety In Child Custody Cases - see page 12.

National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. (2006).
Navigating Custody & Visitation Evaluations in Cases with Domestic Violence: A Judge’s Guide (2nd edition)


"The discredited "diagnosis" of "PAS" (or allegation of "parental alienation"), quite apart from its scientific invalidity, inappropriately asks the court to assume that the children's behaviors and attitudes toward the parent who claims to be "alienated" have no grounding in reality. It also diverts attention away from the behaviors of the abusive parent, who may have directly influenced the children's responses by acting in violent, disrespectful, intimidating, humiliating and/or discrediting ways toward the children themselves, or the children's other parent. The task for the court is to distinguish between situations in which children are critical of one parent because they have been inappropriately manipulated by the other (taking care not to rely solely on subtle indications), and situations in which children have their own legitimate grounds for criticism or fear of a parent, which will likely be the case when that parent has perpetrated domestic violence. Those grounds do not become less legitimate because the abused parent shares them, and seeks to advocate for the children by voicing their concerns." - page 24

American Psychological Association. (1996).
Report of the APA Presidential Task Force on Violence and the Family
Washington, D.C


Noting that custody and visitation disputes appear to occur more frequently when there is a history of domestic violence. Family courts often do not consider the history of violence between the parents in making custody and visitation decisions. In this context, the nonviolent parent may be at a disadvantage, and behavior that would seem reasonable as a protection from abuse may be misinterpreted as a sign of instability. Psychological evaluators not trained in domestic violence may contribute to this process by ignoring or minimizing the violence and by giving inappropriate pathological labels to women's responses to chronic victimization. Terms such as `parental alienation' may be used to blame the women for the children's reasonable fear or anger toward their violent father." (p. 100).

The American Psychological Association
Statement On Parental Alienation Syndrome

"The American Psychological Association (APA) believes that all mental health practitioners as well as law enforcement officials and the courts must take any reports of domestic violence in divorce and child custody cases seriously. An APA 1996 Presidential Task Force on Violence and the Family noted the lack of data to support so-called "parental alienation syndrome", and raised concern about the term's use. However, we have no official position on the purported syndrome."

Bruch, Carol S. Parental (2001).
Parental Alienation Syndrome and Parental Alienation: Getting It Wrong in Child Custody Cases.
Family Law Quarterly, 35, 527

Meier, Joan S. (January 2009).
Parental Alienation Syndrome & Parental Alienation: Research Reviews.
VAWnet: The National Online Resource Center on Violence Against Women.

Jennifer Hoult. (Spring 2006).
The Evidentiary Admissibility of Parental Alienation Syndrome: Science, Law, and Policy
Children's Legal Rights Journal

Court-Appointed Parenting Evaluators And Guardians Ad Litem:
Practical Realities And An Argument For Abolition
Margaret K. Dore, Esq.

Domestic Violence (DV) By Proxy: Why Terrorist Tactics Employed By Batterers Are Not "PAS"
Joyanna Silberg
The Leadership Council

Divorce Poison
A Critique of Richard Warshak's book "Divorce Poison"
Cheryl Melletus

National District Attorneys Association
Parental Alienation Syndrome: What Professionals Need To Know - Part 1 of 2
Parental Alienation Syndrome: What Professionals Need To Know - Part 2 of 2

Justice For Children
Parental Alienation "Syndrome"
"It is the position of Justice For Children that PAS is junk science."

In 1998, Jon Conte [Professor of Law University of the Pacific McGeorge School] wrote that Gardner's Sex Abuse Legitimacy Scale is "probably the most unscientific piece of garbage I've seen in the field in all my time. To base social policy on something as flimsy as this is exceedingly dangerous." (Moss, 1988)

There are many more legitimate organizations that have come down over the years against Parental Alienation Syndrome and it's watered-down cousin Parental Alienation (and Parental Alienation Disorder... how many times are you guys going to reinvent yourselves?). I've listed more than enough here to prove my point.

So why am I writing this article? It occurred to me that those who find value in my work might be confused by the drumbeat of misinformation. The downside of responding to critics is that it fuels their zeal and brings more attention to their smears. They live for the battle and are gratified when anyone takes them seriously. I would rather spend my time providing guidance on how to understand, prevent, and repair damaged parent-child relationships. But, for the sake of those who really want to know, here is some clarification.

So... when are you going to address parental alienation not being in the DSM-V, not being considered valid in the general scientific community, etc. ... I'm waiting...

Are you really afraid your supporters will drop you like a hot potato because of the alleged "drumbeat of misinformation" and "smears"? Or are you really afraid that those who matter most - people in the legal, psychological, and medical communities - will read what has really been published lately about you and parental alienation, such as the statements above, and realize that parental alienation is junk science that is harmful for children and that it's used as a weapon by abusive fathers? And therefore no longer recommend your Bridges program?

One smear that has been making the rounds involves a case where I helped a mother whose children were irrationally alienated. Some important details I cannot divulge because they are not a matter of public record and I wish to protect the family's privacy. Were these details known, domestic violence activists who criticize my involvement in this case would surely regret their words. They would think twice about circulating the innuendos and arguments raised by the father's lawyer in his attempt to defeat the mother.

Parental alienation isn't going to be in the DSM-V. It doesn't meet accepted standards for allowing expert testimony in court. It has no known error rate. Abusive fathers have successfully used parental alienation to wrest child custody away from the abused mothers trying to protect their children. ... Still waiting for you to address all this. I have a feeling I'm going to wait a very long time...

And why focus so much attention on this case when your critics have focused so much more on what I list in my previous paragraph? Is it because this case came out in your favor? One case doesn't prove your program works. It only proves you have one happy customer.

Several mental health professionals concluded that the children's estrangement from their mother was unreasonable. Even the father's own expert witness recommended that the one child under the age of 18 be removed from the father's home (but, for reasons unclear, not placed with his mother).

That's not what the critics have been talking about with that case. They mention the cost - $40,000. For four days. I've seen a report of another case where the program cost $20,000. For four days. Also, critics have pointed out that the program is unproven and untested. We have only your word that it works and you're biased in your own favor, of course.

The case was heard before an arbitrator. The arbitrator found that "the mother was the intentional victim of irrational alienation by her sons, designed and orchestrated by the father." The decision awarded sole custody to the mother and gave her the authority to make decisions on behalf of her son including, at her discretion, enrolling him in my educational workshop. The Arbitrator's decision was appealed to the Family Court. The Court did not dispute the findings of irrational alienation. But the judge did rule that the Arbitrator should have ordered another evaluation. In the decision the judge pointed out that I gave no recommendations because, as I made clear to the Arbitrator, I had not conducted a custody evaluation. The judge set aside the Arbitrator's award and allowed the case to go to a new trial.

You never interviewed the two boys in question before recommending your Bridges Family workshop - at $40,000 for four days. How can you recommend your program when you don't even know if it's appropriate for the family in question? You haven't mentioned the cost here at all.

Here is where the smears begin. The purpose of my testimony was to educate the court about general issues and the state of knowledge regarding parent-child conflicts and children's rejection of a parent, and to describe various interventions for families in which the court finds that the children's rejection of a parent is unjustified, irrational, disproportionate to the child's experience of the parent, and not in the children's best interests. An expert witness who testifies in this capacity is obliged to explain the limitations of his work in the case. As is my duty, I clarified the purpose of my testimony and volunteered the information that I had not conducted an evaluation and was not there to make a specific recommendation for this family.

You still haven't addressed my concerns from the top of this article. Parental alienation isn't accepted by the scientific community at large. It's vague and untested. It won't be in the DSM-V. You have a product to sell and you go to court to do that. Now you're on the Huffington Post Divorce section doing just that - with a dangerous and unproven disorder that has been used by abusive dads in court against the moms they abuse.

Rather than point out that I had testified in a professionally ethical and objective manner and properly apprised the court of the scope of my work in the case, including limitations, some bloggers imply that the Family Court Judge "discovered" the limitations and that I then had to "admit" that I had not seen the children. This is not what happened. I never testified before the Family Court Judge. The Judge simply noted what I had volunteered in my testimony in the Arbitration. My professional colleagues understand that what I did was precisely in accord with professional ethics.
Now it gets interesting, and this is the part critics conceal from their blogs. This was not the conclusion of the case. A new custody assessment was conducted. The assessment results strongly supported the mother's position, recommended giving her the authority to enroll her son in Family Bridges, and concluded that the workshop was the best option for this family.

So you win after all. Another $40,000 goes into your pocket. All for an unproven program.

The case did go to trial. But, on the eve of the trial, the father's lawyer, in what appeared to me to be a desperate last-ditch attempt to try his case in the media when it was clear that the evidence favored the mother, submitted an article to Canada's Law Times that attacked my workshop as unscientific. Fortunately, the editor recognized distortions in the lawyer's submission and asked me to submit commentary to set the record straight. My article was published. It effectively refutes the lawyer's arguments. You do not learn about my article by reading the advocate's blog posts. (See The Slanted Truth for the use of such tactics by alienating parents.) It is as if it did not exist. You can read my article by clicking here.

I read that article. We have only your word that your program (which is similar to the same used by the debunked and abusive Rachel Foundation) has been subjected to peer review and passes Daubert standards. Richard Gardner said the same about Parental Alienation Syndrome, too, when nothing could be further from the truth. Don't forget that Gardner had his own deprogramming program he called "threat therapy", which was very similar to the Rachel Foundation program and Bridges. One child who refused to go committed suicide. That case made the news and tarnished Gardner's reputation even further. He also claimed PAS had been peer reviewed, enjoyed general acceptance in the scientific community, and passed acceptance standards. None of this was true.

And here are statements by other custody evaluators who didn't think very highly of your "The Warshak Parenting Questionnaire 2nd Edition" or "WPQ":

"...We custody evaluators are appointed to do our own work, at least in interviewing and evaluating... I would think that part of my job would be to generate my OWN follow-up questions... don't know how any computerized questionnaire can do that... also a little troubled by the intent that evaluators "cut and paste"... interpretive language of any kind... into their reports... what "follow up" questions will pop up based on the parent's responses?... how would the evaluator-user justify, on the witness stand, why they chose to ask alienation questions... if neither parent has raised that as an allegation? ..." (California Ph.D., September 10, 2006).

"...the section on "Differential Treatment of Parents" (about two-thirds through the sample report (at w w w., under "Symptoms of Possible Mental Health Problems") seems to invite alienation claims if parent was not thinking of such claims, and seems to suggest strongly how to support such a claim if parent is thinking of it. It seems to me to be way too suggestive/leading. In effect: Now, parent, would you like to consider making a claim of PAS? If so, have you considered claiming that your child does X? How about claiming that your child does Y? And don't forget Z, have you considered that as possibly supporting a PAS claim? (This is assuming that the questions posed to the parent closely parallel the topics covered in this section of the report, and I suppose I could be wrong in making that assumption.)" (Ohio Ph.D., February 22, 2007).

What you also never learn from reading the blogger's accounts of this case is the ultimate outcome. Notwithstanding the father's lawyer's maneuvers, again, the mother prevailed on all counts. After hearing all the evidence, the judge concluded that "Mother should have sole legal and residential custody of [the child]. Mother shall have complete authority to make decisions regarding [the child's] welfare. She is not required to consult with anyone before doing so; Mother is specifically authorized to obtain any treatment and/or intervention for [the child] as she, in her sole discretion, deems necessary and appropriate for [the child's] best interests; Mother's authority described above includes, but is not limited to `Family Bridges: A Workshop for Troubled and Alienated Parent-Child Relationships,' to enable and assist [the child] in adjusting to living with her."

The program remains unproven. You claim a high success rate. And it's very expensive. Parents of lesser means who are having problems with alleged "alienation" are not able to afford you.

By selectively citing the earlier Family Court decision, and concealing the trial outcome, the bloggers leave the impression that the court was critical of Family Bridges and blocked the family from participating in the workshop. In the end, the truth is the exact opposite. (Selective attention is another tactic of alienating parents that critics adopt to try to alienate audiences from my work.)

Still waiting... parental alienation is not in the DSM... doesn't meet scientific standards for admission into a courtroom ... unknown error rate ... untested ... you aren't going to address those criticisms, are you? You're only going to claim your detractors are as alienated as your clients.

Here is what the judge wrote in her opinion: "This leaves the Workshop, coupled with a change in custody, as the only potential remedy with any chance of success in this difficult case. . . . The court is faced with compelling evidence that a change in custody, coupled with the Workshop is best for [the child]. . . . The Workshop is a last resort. Obviously it would have been better had these problems been identified and corrected early on. . . . Unfortunately, they were not. This leaves the Workshop as [the child's] best last hope." [Emphasis added.]

That's not exactly a ringing endorsement. Your program is the "last best hope"? The "only potential remedy"? Were other remedies even looked at?

I fully expect detractors to post other information attempting to cast doubt on the wisdom of the judge's decision in this case (which was essentially identical to the arbitrator's decision; that is, two different triers of fact, after hearing all the evidence, concluded that the mother should have custody and have the right to enroll her child in Family Bridges). I do not intend to respond to such posts.

The issue isn't whether or not the mother should have custody. It's that your program is a huge money-maker for you, it's unproven, and it's never been tested. All those questions of mine and others that you never answered have gone unanswered. Parental alienation is not regarded as a valid disorder in the general scientific community. It doesn't meet Frye and Daubert standards. It has an unknown rate of error. It's never been peer reviewed. It's never been tested. It's defined in layman's terms you gleaned from the dictionary.

As rebuttal to any future innuendoes and misrepresentations, I can state the following. The mother has authorized me to state that she is very pleased with the ultimate outcome of her case. Her formerly alienated son, estranged for six years, participated in, and greatly benefitted from, the four day Family Bridges workshop. He rapidly restored his loving relationship with his mother and they now live happily together.

One case doesn't make parental alienation valid, and we have only your word that your program works. It's never been tested and its error rate is unknown. It's very expensive. What about parents who can't afford your services?

There are other cases involving reunification programs and parental alienation:

Son’s birthday pact with parents leads to ceasefire in bitter eight-year dispute


Yesterday, in a revealing conversation, P.F. criticized therapists and child welfare authorities in the case for clutching to pet theories about parental alienation syndrome. Under the controversial PAS diagnosis, children who are seen to have been systematically poisoned toward one parent by the other cannot evaluate their emotions accurately.

“I think they have done a lot more harm than good for our family,” P.F. said. “I think they were tilting the whole case in a direction that was more favourable to them, which was a more costly and stressful and damaging alternative for us. We don’t need all these people getting into our lives and directing the way things go.”

He also criticized the justice system for too easily sidelining children who are caught up in their parents’ warfare.

“Where people are making decisions, the kids should at least be heard and their opinions thoroughly considered; not interpreted or cast aside, as they were here,” he said. “When it is possible to simply walk up and say, ‘This kid is parentally alienated,’ that instantly takes away all their credibility. Our family made their minds up for themselves. In a way, we emancipated ourselves from these professionals that have been breathing down our necks the whole time.”

IN RE BIANCA H., On Appeal from the 254th Judicial District Court, Dallas County, Texas

Richard Warshak testified he is a clinical research psychologist. Alfano hired Warshak to evaluate Alfano's case. Warshak has never met with Bianca, but has evaluated reports from other professionals and viewed a videotape of Bianca with Alfano. According to Warshak, Alfano is Bianca's “psychological father,” and ceasing contact with him could be devastating to Bianca. Warshak admitted that the law does not recognize the concept of a “psychological parent.” He further acknowledged that another psychologist said Bianca's attachment to Alfano was more like an attachment to an uncle or a grandfather.

Warshak testified that when conflict between “parents” causes a child distress, a court should order counseling and sanction the parent that instigated the conflict. Warshak believed any harm Bianca suffered because of the conflict would be less than the harm she would suffer if she lost Alfano. Indeed, Warshak testified the best way to remedy the conflict would be to increase Alfano's access to the child.

After the testimony, the trial court stated that Alfano had been put in the position of an uncle since the child was twenty months old. The trial court noted that it had attempted to resolve the situation for four years with no progress. The trial court considered limited visitation, but determined that it would only put off the inevitable. Accordingly, the trial court terminated Alfano's visitation rights.

In its findings of fact, the trial court found that (1) Alfano is not legally or biologically related to the child, (2) a great deal of conflict exists between Mother and Alfano, (3) the conflict was unlikely to abate in the future, (4) the conflict was injurious to the child's best interest, (5) the circumstances of the child have materially and substantially changed since the date of the order sought to be modified, (6) the order has become unworkable and inappropriate under existing circumstances, and (7) modification would produce a positive improvement for and be in the best interest of the child. The trial court modified its prior order eliminating Alfano's right to possession of and access to the child. This appeal followed.

Appellant raises six points of error. In the first five points of error, appellant asserts the trial court abused its discretion in modifying its prior order because the evidence is factually insufficient to support the trial court's findings. In the sixth point of error, appellant asserts the trial court incorrectly applied the law in determining modification would be in the child's best interest.

You never address the primary criticisms made by your critics. Parental alienation is an untested theory that has never been up for peer review. It's not accepted by the legal, medical, scientific, and psychological community at large as valid. Parental alienation has been used by abusive fathers and their hired lawyers, evaluators, and psychs to wrest child custody away from mothers. Rather than point fingers at the Illuminati and one case supporting your Bridges program, and demonize your critics, you need to address your critic's primary criticisms ... which you haven't done. And I'm not surprised.

Posted on December 3, 2010 at 12:12 PM | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

December 02, 2010

Do As I Demand Or The Kids Die!

This post is a riff of two earlier posts I wrote, Do As We Demand Or The Bitch Dies - Part 1 and Do As We Demand Or The Bitch Dies - Part 2. Over the past couple of years there has been a rash of dads murdering their exes and children (as reported on Dastardly Dads).

The latest case making the news is giving feelings of doom for three missing children that I and other people I've talked to suspect with a sinking feeling are already dead. We now have the case of John Skelton a dad who supposedly sent his three young sons off with a woman (who likely doesn't exist) and then attempted suicide. Mom, Tanya Skelton, is obviously beside herself since her sons have been missing since Thanksgiving. Skelton had court-ordered visitation, something that shouldn't be allowed in cases with a history like this one. This isn't the first time John Skelton ran off with his boys. The day Tanya Skelton filed for divorce, John Skelton took two of the boys and spirited them to Florida. After this stunt, Tanya Skelton was awarded custody but later she and Skelton agreed to visitation with a judge's encouragement.

This story is bad enough, but the rats are coming out of the woodwork latching onto this case to promote their propaganda and to advertise their "services". More below the fold.

In 2009, we had fathers' rights advocate Jeffrey Leving pontificating about how families need supervised visitation centers to help both parents have continuing access to their children. The father's rights group The Children's Rights Council also got in on the gravy train. Lo and behold - CRC has visitation centers! Can you hear the money? The articles below are bald ploys to attract more attention - and more clients and money - for CRC's visitation centers and for Jeffery Leving. Oh, yeah, visitation centers work well. Pay the father's rights group fees for supervised visitation for fifteen years. Teenagers especially love to be in a room with toys for three hours.

Here's the piggyback-onto-a-tragedy article by an Ohio chapter of the father's rights group The Children's Rights Council. CRC is not a child welfare group. It is a male supremacy group that has made lots of money over the years from supervised visitation centers. No link. Not giving this garbage traffic.

So what's the implication here? To keep children "safe", or to give abusive dads their access regardless of how little that benefits the children? Child welfare is given lip service in this article. It's all about father supremacy and getting more clients and money for CRC visitation centers.

And national leader? Of a tiny chapter in Ohio? Oh, please...

Amid Morenci search, expert advises on custody disputes

Posted: Dec 01, 2010 4:06 AM EST
Updated: Dec 01, 2010 4:10 AM EST

By Jonathan Walsh
Posted by Lisa Strawbridge

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - The Children's Rights Council provides a safe place for
parental visitation when custody becomes an issue during or after divorce.

Margaret Wuwert is the national leader for the chapter in northwest Ohio. She
says she's very saddened about the case involving John Skelton and his three

"We want to make sure the kids are safe and that they do get to see both
parents," Wuwert said of her organization.

The purpose of the council is to provide divorced parents or single parents with
a safe way to have visits with children.

A room is provided for the custodial parent to drop off their children. Then 15
minutes later, the other parent comes in to spend time with the kids. She says
there are no confrontations among the parents, and the kids just play and enjoy
their time with mom or dad.

She says 90 or 95 percent of parents using the program think it's a good thing.

She adds there are so many emotions involved in a divorce. Then economic stress
and even the arrival of the holidays can add to those emotions. Wuwert suggests
parents always think of the kids first.

The Children's Rights Council of Northwest Ohio has 20 rooms available. It
serves 80 families a month with each session lasting three hours.

As sad and difficult as the Skelton story is to hear, Wuwert hopes it's at least
a wake-up call for adults who may be feeling some of the same emotions involved
with the Skelton case.

I won't give a link to this article below by Jeffery Leving because I don't want to give it traffic, but here it is in full. It's pretty heinous, piggybacking on a tragedy of children who have been murdered - at the hands of their father. He blames these deaths on alleged bias against fathers in divorce and custody cases, and does not hold these men responsible in any way for the murders they commit.

When Divorce Kills: How Gender Bias Pushes Some Men Over the Edge
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
By Jeffery M. Leving

Chicago, IL – (April 9, 2009) – In the past two weeks, the nation has been shocked by three cases of domestic violence ending in the deaths of innocent children. Two weeks ago, two Illinois boys and their father, Michael Connolly, were found dead in an apparent case of murder-suicide. Last week, James Harrison, a father in Washington, allegedly shot to death his five children before killing himself. On Monday, an Alabama man, Kevin Garner, allegedly killed his estranged wife, their daughter and two other relatives before committing suicide. A common factor in these three cases is divorce: a father in distress probably because he was losing all that he held dear.

I lament these terrible tragedies; as a parent myself, I can imagine the agony the death of a child must bring to a family. As a fathers’ rights attorney, I regret that these high-profile cases are reinforcing the malicious stereotype of the brutal father, a stereotype that sabotages the efforts of many good fathers who love their children.

The fact is that most fathers do not harm their children. Domestic violence is not gender specific, as some mothers have also committed similar unnatural acts. For example, I am currently representing a soldier, formerly deployed in Iraq, who is now struggling to rescue his daughter from the alleged abuse of her mother in Chicago.

Divorce is often regarded as one of the most stressful events in an adult’s life. However, it is especially painful for men in our society due to blatant gender bias in our system. Most divorced men lose custody of their children, and have to pay substantial and sometimes onerous child support. This bias is evident when examining the raw numbers of custody rulings from jurisdictions across the United States. Mothers win 85 percent of all such disputes. According to the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, divorced and separated men are two and a half times more likely to commit suicide than married men. By contrast, the incidence of suicide among divorced women is no greater than that for married women.

The notion that divorced or otherwise estranged fathers don’t want or need continuing involvement with their children is insensitive and false. Fathers suffer very real pain and an overpowering sense of loss when excluded from their children’s lives. In my book “Fathers’ Rights,” I warned of the agony suffered by fathers affected by the gender bias, pointing out that “fathers from all walks of life find separation from their children to be a torturous, devastating experience.”

While most divorced men are able to cope with the unfair treatment by our system, some individuals collapse under the pressure of their emotions, destroying their family and themselves. Sometimes all these fathers need is someone who understands; someone to share their problems with. This and more can be provided by the not-for-profit organization which I founded in Illinois, the Fatherhood Educational Institute (URL deleted - I won't give traffic to these guys), as well as the government agency that I chair, The Illinois Council for Responsible Fatherhood (URL deleted). Similar organizations are needed everywhere. Both organizations offer resources to educate fathers to deal with their emotions, and to assist them in times of crisis.

The stress of divorce is well-known. However, it is manageable and should not lead to killings. Instead of focusing on those three men who allegedly committed unforgivable crimes, we should look at our society and our attitudes towards the role of fathers after separation and divorce and correct these unhealthy stereotypes.

Leving's brand of giving access to even violent fathers because it's society and its horrid attitudes about fathers that causes these tragedies is nothing new. Want to see some comments from father's rights activists about dads murdering their children and exes? These are some pretty noxious comments that give you an idea of the real nature of the father's rights movement, and it's not concern with children's welfare. It's all about male supremacy. Well, here you go:

From my article, Do As We Demand Or The Bitch Dies - Part 1:

Some of you may have heard the story about a fathers' rights advocate Darren Mack, who had stabbed his wife to death and shot the judge who heard his case. The judge lived. This guy is now at large. Well, fathers' rights groups got wind of the story, and they are excusing this guy's behavior. They blame "the system" for what this guy has done.

This is nothing new for these guys. They already blame "the system", feminists, and ex-wives when dads commit suicide. What they usually keep quiet is that they also blame "the system" et al when dads murder their wives and children. Lowell Jaks of The Alliance for Non-Custodial Parent's Rights had gone as far as to blame "the system" for the D. C. sniper shootings. In the article Divorced Dads Snap Under Pressure, which is available at ANCPR's web site, Jaks said that "[s]ome guys kill themselves, some snap and go out and kill others. You can dismiss them as crackpots, you can say we need more protection for women, but it's not going to take away the problem." In another article, available at the web site for the fathers' rights group "A Kid's Right", Jaks said ""None of these guys are poster children. But when you cause this much pain to so many men, there are going to be repercussions. A certain percentage are going to crack."

Quotes from father's rights activists from the same article, referencing Darren Mack murdering his ex-wife and shooting the judge who heard his case. Mack got lots of sympathy from father's rights activists. No surprise there. Would you as a mom (or dad) want to give these guys access to your children? Hell, no!

Jim Deeny said,
on June 13th, 2006 at 1:49 pm

There’s only one wat to stop this nonsense! Stop paying!

mikevac said,
on June 13th, 2006 at 4:56 pm

The harder the courts pushes people the harder they will push back. This bastard judge lived - this time. Next time he will not be that lucky. And there will be a next time because he is a bigot. Eventually, he’ll push another person to the brink and they will kill him. Unfortunately, this is the only way a victim of this the family court can get justice - by killing the judge.

anothervoice said,
on June 13th, 2006 at 5:31 pm

This judge all like him get absolutely no sympathy from me. Here’s a solution: Have judges in family court (now there’s a contradiction in terms) only limited to five year terms and and for every complaint against them such as violating someone’s due process because it helps the custodial parent then they aren’t allowed to work for a year; hey, better yet, sned the jackass/bitch to jail for three months for each and every violation accrued to be run consequetively. Then maybe they won’t be so eagar to assholes.

buddyhyatt said,
on June 13th, 2006 at 7:00 pm

I do not condone this type of retaliation. However “you reap what you sow” and evidently this judge had it coming. I am in this very situation in Tennessee. I am paying $1005 per month to the child’s mother whom I was not married to, while she does not work but fishes and hunts 10 to 18 days per month. (Yes she’s a lesbian now.) All the while I have the child more than half the time??? I am being rail roaded as we speak. I will fight it tooth and nail until it is settled fairly. I will not however shoot the judge. God’s vengeance will be much worse than anything I could do.

Jeffrey Leving and his ilk don't care about child welfare, "equality", or giving dads a fair shake. They care only about making sure men, especially the mad dads of the father's rights movement, have the ability to lord it over the women who try to leave them. They use the children to get back at the women who have the audacity to leave them. Remember that a Florida Bar Journal article noted that abusive fathers are much more likely than nonabusive parents contest custody, not pay child support, and kidnap children. You can add killing exes and children to that list. Comments such as the above prove those facts.

Posted on December 2, 2010 at 12:41 PM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

More On Warshak, Parental Alienation, and Brainwashing Of Children

[From Miss]

Canadian Brainwashing Custody Battle

Posted by on May 17, 2009 in FELONIOUSNESS, FORTEANA

With divorce as common as it is it’s about time, “parental alienation syndrome” were recognized, however as this story shows, how to handle it in a legal setting is still being figured out. For a story about the legal resolution of this case, click here. Kudos to P.F. for being an advocate for his younger siblings.


The 18-year-old who negotiated the truce between mom and dad

Son’s birthday pact with parents leads to ceasefire in bitter eight-year dispute

When an 18-year-old man arrived for a birthday dinner at his mother’s house a few days ago, he never dreamed it would end one of the most bitter disputes in Canadian family court history.

Having barely spoken to one another in years, the young man and his Brampton, Ont., mother found themselves calmly discussing a resolution to an eight-year battle that caused a judge to order deprogramming therapy for the man’s two younger brothers and turned parental alienation syndrome into a nationally recognized phenomenon.

“We realized that we were talking all right with each other,” the young man, known as P.F., said in an interview yesterday. “We weren’t jumping at each other’s throats. The idea occurred to us that we might be able to work this out with each other.”
That birthday pact led directly to a firm agreement, signed over the weekend at an emotional meeting attended by lawyers and family members. Under its terms, the family’s three sons cannot be separated or forcibly sent to a parental alienation centre for treatment. All three children will live with their mother, and P.F. may contact his father freely.

His 12- and 14-year-old brothers can contact their father with their mother’s consent.
“My dad came up and shook my mom’s hand,” recalled P.F., a tall, long-haired teen with a reflective intellect and an articulate, soft-spoken manner. “That was something I hadn’t seen in a very long time. It was generally a very happy situation.”

The family burst into the news last fall, when a judge ordered that the two youngest boys be sent to a U.S. treatment facility to be deprogrammed. A judge gave the youth legal standing in the case after he said he wanted to raise his brothers apart from either parent.

Yesterday, in a revealing conversation, P.F. criticized therapists and child welfare authorities in the case for clutching to pet theories about parental alienation syndrome. Under the controversial PAS diagnosis, children who are seen to have been systematically poisoned toward one parent by the other cannot evaluate their emotions accurately.

“I think they have done a lot more harm than good for our family,” P.F. said. “I think they were tilting the whole case in a direction that was more favourable to them, which was a more costly and stressful and damaging alternative for us. We don’t need all these people getting into our lives and directing the way things go.”

He also criticized the justice system for too easily sidelining children who are caught up in their parents’ warfare.

“Where people are making decisions, the kids should at least be heard and their opinions thoroughly considered; not interpreted or cast aside, as they were here,” he said. “When it is possible to simply walk up and say, ‘This kid is parentally alienated,’ that instantly takes away all their credibility. Our family made their minds up for themselves. In a way, we emancipated ourselves from these professionals that have been breathing down our necks the whole time.”

Those who signed the weekend peace accord included P.F., his parents and their lawyers: Jeffery Wilson, Marvin Kurz and Terrence Edgar. P.F. said his mother and her former lawyer, Beverley Martel, wept from the emotion of the moment.

In brokering the deal that ended the family hostilities, P.F. also put the lie to allegations that his father had transformed the youth into his agent.

The agreement provides for all of the family members to be enrolled in therapy sessions – at the mother’s expense – “to achieve the objective of the children eventually enjoying a relationship with both of their parents, wherever they reside.”

Mr. Wilson said in an interview yesterday that the parties were optimistic that Ontario Court Judge Steven Clark would endorse the agreement this week.

P.F. agreed, saying: “I trust that Justice Clark will respect our efforts and our sacrifices and our trust for each other. Because this is really what it is. We are trusting each other.”

Posted on December 2, 2010 at 12:40 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

November 27, 2010

Richard Warshak Dances Around Parental Alienation - Part Two

[Part one of this article is here.]



A father's abusive behavior towards the mother is most definitely a problem with the label of parental alienation because these same abusive men are using parental alienation (with their lawyer's and psych's blessings) as a weapon in court to get child custody away from protective mothers! Ms lc pointed out all that below. Also, see my quote from Silverberg in my previous post. Warshak continues to ignore that parental alienation is used as a weapon by abusive, controlling, and hostile men!

Warshak makes it sound like parental alienation is a problem of epic proportions - an epidemic in contested custody and divorce cases. How common is alienation, after all? Meier reported in "Parental Alienation Syndrome and Parental Alienation: Research Reviews" that "no more than 10% of all children were alienated in a way that fits the alienation paradigm, for example, alienating conduct by an otherwise non-abusive aligned parent. In short, alienation theorists’ own research demonstrates that wrongful “child alienation” (that which is not simply part of a pattern of abuse) is remarkably rare in divorcing and separating families." Johnson, one of alienation's primary researchers, found that (per Meier) "even where the vast majority of both parents used alienating behaviors, only 6% of children were "extremely rejecting" and only 20% "showed indication of being consistently negative." Those percentages included mothers who were victims of domestic violence who were counted as victims of alienation. Those children are more accurately described as victims of abuse rather than victims of alienation.


Ms lc's responses to Warshak's comment below never went live, presumably because he doesn't want to bring any attention to that Canadian case where a judge ruled against forcing a teenaged Canadian boy into deprogramming from alienation at Warshak's Bridges treatment program in California - at a cost of $40,000 for four days worth of "treatment". Another activist had commented about the case earlier this month, and her comment never saw the light of day.

"I appreciate your passion..."??? So he demeans ms lc by saying she's too emotional? Slick way to insult your critics.

Note Warshak's vague and circular statements about the nature of "alienation" below. Then read more from Meier:

Johnston and others have acknowledged that "there is very little empirical data to back up . . . [their] clinical observations" that alienated children are significantly undermined in their emotional and psychological development (Johnston & Kelly, 2004b, p. 84). In fact, Johnston and Kelly (2004b) forthrightly state that "there are no systematic long term data on the adjustment and well-being of alienated compared to non-alienated children so that long-term prognostications are merely speculative" (p. 84). Evaluators and alienation theorists commonly assert that alienation is a devastating form of emotional abuse of children. To the contrary, Judith Wallerstein, the groundbreaking researcher of divorce who first pointed out the problem of children’s sometimes pathological alignment with the custodial parent after divorce or separation, found in her follow-up study that children's hostility toward the other parent after divorce was temporary, and resolved of its own accord, mostly within one or two years (Bruch, 2001; Wallerstein et al., 2000).



Notice how vague he is in describing alienation? No wonder everyone commenting "sees" alienation. That kind of behavior is common in all kinds of families, even married ones, as ms lc wrote. Alienation doesn't take into account normal behavior children and teens exhibit as a reaction to their parent's divorce. It also doesn't take into account normal and expected belligerent and surly behavior from children and teens that they exhibit as their way of distancing themselves from their parents - as a normal part of of the stages of childhood development. Since parental alienation isn't concerned with the causes of behavior it won't detect any of this. Keep in mind that Wallerstein found that typically children grow out of difficult divorce-related behavior in about two years.

In addition, in his paper "Current Controversies Regarding Parental Alienation Syndrome" (2001), Warshak admitted that "To date, no study has directly measured the extent to which different examiners, with the same data, can agree on the presence or absence of PAS (or, for that matter, alienation in a child). Until a sufficiently high rate of agreement on the presence or absence of PAS is established through systematic research, the diagnosis will not attain the empirical support which is probably necessary to achieve acceptance on a par with the disorders recognized in the American Psychiatric Association’s official description of diagnoses. And, until such data exist, the reliability of PAS cannot be supported by reference to scientific literature."

Even Warshak admitted that parental alienation is hooey.


And now the Canadian alienation case. For more on this case, go to this web site: Deprogramming Treatment Blocked In Child Custody Case (2009):

Pertinent sections about Warshak:

An Ontario judge yesterday blocked an attempt to forcibly send a Toronto child for deprogramming treatment in a controversial parental-alienation program in California.


Treatment at the clinic – founded by Richard Warshak – involves isolating a child from the parent who is identified as having poisoned his or her emotions toward the other parent. Therapists then attempt to undo the child’s hostile feelings.


In her ruling, Judge Herman concluded that the arbitrator placed too much stock in an opinion that Dr. Warshak offered to the effect that the children would benefit from his program.

She said that the independent assessment should focus, in particular, on whether the 14-year-old boy, who has Klinefelter’s Syndrome, would undergo psychiatric suffering if his older brother opts out of treatment and he is sent alone.

Mr. Weir said in the interview that he was shocked when the arbitrator ordered treatment since he had little more than Dr. Warshak’s say-so that the program is effective.

“Warshak saw only the mother - but not the father or the boys,” Mr. Weir added. “He said that he wasn’t giving a definitive opinion, but he actually did.”

Mr. Weir said that, at a cost of $40,000 for four days of treatment, the program is expensive as well as unproven.

“Warshak came up a year and a half ago and did his first seminar,” he said. “My impression at the time was, I think he has failed to establish himself with the psychologists or psychiatrists in the U.S., and now he’s coming to Canada.

Earlier this week, Dr. Warshak rebuffed a request to discuss his program. “I have been very generous with my time speaking to journalists at your newspaper and other Canadian media outlets, but now I must turn my attention to other tasks,” he said in an e-mail to The Globe and Mail.

Ms lc didn't bring up the case of Bianca H. (Texas) so I will. It's another case where Warshak recommended his "treatment" for parental alienation and the court put a stop to it. As in the Canadian case, Warshak never met with the child. He viewed a tape of the child interacting with the plaintiff.

Warshak testified that when conflict between “parents” causes a child distress, a court should order counseling and sanction the parent that instigated the conflict. Warshak believed any harm Bianca suffered because of the conflict would be less than the harm she would suffer if she lost Alfano. Indeed, Warshak testified the best way to remedy the conflict would be to increase Alfano's access to the child.

After the testimony, the trial court stated that Alfano had been put in the position of an uncle since the child was twenty months old. The trial court noted that it had attempted to resolve the situation for four years with no progress. The trial court considered limited visitation, but determined that it would only put off the inevitable. Accordingly, the trial court terminated Alfano's visitation rights.

In its findings of fact, the trial court found that (1) Alfano is not legally or biologically related to the child, (2) a great deal of conflict exists between Mother and Alfano, (3) the conflict was unlikely to abate in the future, (4) the conflict was injurious to the child's best interest, (5) the circumstances of the child have materially and substantially changed since the date of the order sought to be modified, (6) the order has become unworkable and inappropriate under existing circumstances, and (7) modification would produce a positive improvement for and be in the best interest of the child. The trial court modified its prior order eliminating Alfano's right to possession of and access to the child.

The appeals court affirmed the ruling.

In conclusion, Richard Warshak's own statements show how specious and vague parental alienation really is. It is a layman's description of an opinion about observed behavior. There are better ways to deal with problems in divorce and custody cases than pretending they can be solved by smacking them with a parental alienation label. And abused mothers and children are not alienated. That label undermines the seriousness and importance of what they experience. They are victims of child abuse and domestic violence, intimate terrorism, control, and hostility. Parental alienation belongs in neither a court of law or in a psychiatrists or therapists office. It's a money-maker for greedy people taking advantage of the new cottage industries springing up around family law cases.

Posted on November 27, 2010 at 02:04 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Richard Warshak Dances Around Parental Alienation - Part One

[Part two of this article is here]

Dr. Richard Warshak, one of the top promoters of the debunked and unscientific Parental Alienation, now has a column at the Huffington Post in its new Divorce section. Domestic violence activists and protective mothers descended upon his first article, "Stop Divorce Poison", to alert readers as to how bogus parental alienation really is. I won't link to the article, but here is the URL for reference:

The response? The Huffington Post (and most likely Warshak himself) have removed nearly all the comments critical of parental alienation, leaving up the glad-handing ones from parental alienation supporters. Two domestic violence activists saw their HuffPost accounts cancelled. What's the matter? Can't take the heat? In addition, possibly due to reading the massive amount of critical commentary all over the web about the Warshak/HuffPost/censorship/parental alienation issue, Warshak had even tried to present himself in a few comments as a friend to abused women. He is anything but.

While a few comments remain up, most notably ones by Morning Show, ms lc, and FamilyCourtInAmerica, Warshak saw fit to respond only to ms lc. This post will critically analyze his own statements and show how specious parental alienation really is and how Richard Warshak is no friend to abused women.


He is completely missing the point. The kids aren't brainwashed by an abusive father. They are terrified of him and want to be out of his line of fire. They want to be with their mothers, but they are afraid, and the mere act of bringing up child abuse or domestic violence is enough for a mother to be labeled an alienator. In addition, domestic violence is not "divorce poison". As ms lc wrote below, call it was it is - abuse. Domestic violence. I'll add wife-beating, intimidation, and terrorism. The problem is that if you call it what it is and refrain from downgrading it to something as vague and dismissive as "divorce poison", you can't get the kids into expensive treatment designed with parental alienation in mind and make tons of money from the allegation of alienation. First and foremost, parental alienation is a huge moneymaker for the psychs who make their livings from it. To admit that it's vague and specious junk science means the cash cow disappears.


Take special note of what Warshak writes below. He dances around ms lc's statement that abusive men use parental alienation as a weapon in court against mothers and children reporting abuse. He refuses to even acknowledge this is happening.

Also notice how he defines "alienation". Does he get the definition from a peer-reviewed journal? No. From the DSM-IV? No, he can't because parental alienation is not considered a valid medical disorder by the American Psychological Association so it doesn't even appear in the DSM-IV. It's not going to appear in the upcoming DSM-V, either, despite heavy lobbying by father's rights groups and parental alienation supporters and profiteers. Richard Gardner, the founder of parental alienation (back when it was called "parental alienation syndrome" - more on that in a minute), had even tried to get parental alienation into the DSM to no avail. Did Warshak look to a medical journal for a description of parental alienation? No.

He looked to the dictionary. Webster's definition. In other words, "alienation" is a layman's term, as ms lc says. It has no scientific basis at all, and Warshak outright admitted it.

Warshak also admitted that "alienation, like the word "attachment", carried no implication about the causes of the state of the relationship." So there is no concern or investigation into why a child may reject a parent? Only behavior that in someone's opinion is "alienation" (whatever that is) and it must be "treated"?

And how can you treat something that isn't medically based? After all, Warshak's definition of alienation came from the dictionary, not a valid, peer-reviewed medical journal. If it's only a layman's term, i.e., anyone can "see" it and "diagnose" it, why the need for expertise to treat it?

There has been lots of criticism that "parental alienation syndrome" and "parental alienation" are not the same thing. In some respects that's correct since Gardner's parental alienation syndrome was primarily used by fathers as a defense against child sexual abuse allegations raised by the mother. It's much more limited in its application. Gardner also stated that in his caseload, 90% of alienating parents were mothers. With the evolution from PAS into the more general parental alienation, the focus has broadened from child sexual abuse allegations to include any complaint by a parent about behavior by the other parent or child. There doesn't have to be allegations of abuse for a charge of parental alienation to be tossed out. Now, both fathers and mothers may be accused of parental alienation although the primary accused alienators continue to be mothers. In addition, parental alienation has become quite a lucrative cottage industry for psychs, especially since the advent of new HMO rules that affect those working in the mental health profession. There's money to be made in contested custody cases and divorces and parental alienation is one great way to make a lot of cash. Regarding the switch from parental alienation syndrome to parental alienation, Richard Gardner himself admitted in his article "Basic Facts About The Parental Alienation Syndrome" that several reasons for the switch in terminology were that parental alienation supporters wanted to distance themselves from him ("lest they be somehow tainted" - because of his misogynistic statements and statements praising pedophilia and incest) and they moved away from the use of alienation as a syndrome because it was "politically incorrect" and falling out of favor in courts. He also wrote "changing the name of an entity because of political and other unreasonable considerations generally does more harm than good." Gardner said that for all intents and purposes, parental alienation syndrome and parental alienation were the same thing. So, it evolved to be the vague moneymaker that it is today.

Warshak stated that he "helped many parents, women and men, whose former spouses, though not violent, have turned the children against them." How does he know this? On the say-so of the allegedly "alienated" parent? After all, there is no search for a cause for alienation, only treatment of it based on lay observation of vague behavior. In addition, Warshak did not state the main scenarios in which so-called alienation plays out, which is between warring parents where the child does not exhibit "alienating" behavior. What about those cases? If parents are so easily able to brainwash their children into hating the other parent, why do most cases involve children of warring parents who don't reject either parent? And what about the other common scenario, that of children who do reject a parent yet the "aligned" parent is not badmouthing or otherwise demeaning the other parent? Since the cause is of no concern when it comes to so-called alienation, these children are likely to end up in treatment just because the rejected parent hires a psych partial to "treating" parental alienation.


He pays lip service to abused women by continuing to try to claim that abused women who have difficulty interacting with their children because of the abusive behavior of their ex's are experiencing alienation. That's not what it is. As I've already stated, it's abuse, domestic violence, terrorism, dealing with a controlling and hostile man (as ms lc wrote). Another term for what these women go through is "domestic violence by proxy", but alienation proponents don't like that term because they think it sounds too feminist.

And finally, Warshak still does not acknowledge that abusive fathers, their lawyers, and their hired-hand psychs use parental alienation in court to take child custody away from abused mothers. Parental alienation is now the leading defense for parents accused of abuse in custody cases. Harvard's Jay Silverman found in his 2004 survey in Massachusetts that 54 percent of custody cases involving documented spousal abuse were decided in favor of the batterers. Parental alienation was used as an argument in nearly every case.

What does Warshak have to say about all that? Nothing. And he presents himself as a friend of abused women.

More in the next post.

Posted on November 27, 2010 at 02:03 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack