In some cases of high-conflict divorce, a child allies himself strongly with one parent (the preferred parent or alienating parent) and rejects a relationship with the other parent (the target parent) without legitimate justification.
Children are the most vulnerable members of a family and it is only to be expected that a parent will find them a useful tool against the other parent. In its more subtle forms, it is near impossible to detect.
Why does this happen? What can be done about it? Why has there been opposition to recognizing parental alienation as a serious problem?
Join us as psychiatrist Bill Bernet discusses his work regarding this troubling situation.
William Bernet, M.D., is a graduate of Holy Cross College (summa cum laude) and Harvard Medical School. He is currently a professor emeritus at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. He is board certified in general psychiatry, child psychiatry, and forensic psychiatry. As an expert in forensic psychiatry, Dr. Bernet has testified about 300 times in 20 states.
Dr. Bernet has written professional articles and chapters on a variety of subjects, including: group and individual therapy with children and adolescents; humor in psychotherapy; forensic child psychiatry; child maltreatment; true and false allegations of abuse; satanic ritual abuse; reincarnation; child custody and visitation; parental alienation; testimony regarding behavioral genomics; and risk management.
In 2007, Dr. Bernet and Judge Don R. Ash published Children of Divorce: A Practical Guide for Parents, Therapists, Attorneys, and Judges. Dr. Bernet edited Parental Alienation, DSM-5, and ICD-11, which was published in 2010. Dr. Bernet and his colleagues edited Parental Alienation: The Handbook for Mental Health and Legal Professionals, which was published in 2013.