As I mentioned in one of my other posts about PAS, not everyone is onboard with whether or not PAS is a recognized mental disorder or syndrome as defined by clinical professionals. In fact, there is strong and ongoing rivalry between the various camps of those who accept PAS as a bonafide psychological disorder and those who do not.
My own personal research on PAS extends into years and I am continually learning more and more on this vast, complicated subject. Though I am not a trained psychologist, psychiatrist, therapist, etc., I have experienced first hand the devastating effects of PAS. Whether or not it can be officially recognized by clinical professionals, I’m convinced there is hard evidence for the destructive effects of PAS.
I yearn to be a critical thinker (examples here and here), desiring to know the truth of things and not be swayed by rumor, prejudices, pre-conceived beliefs, other people’s opinions, a “jump to conclusion” method of reacting to things instead of rationally and unemotionally weighing the pro’s and con’s of each argument, etc. Since there is controversy surrounding PAS, I want to give the “other side” their day in court, so to speak, and determine if they have valid arguments for why they reject this particular construct.
In the spirit of wanting to know truth and discern possible error, my research has led to to psychologist Craig Childress, Psy.D., who offers his opinions on PAS based on his professional training and experience. His blog provides much information on his views.
There are several articles he links to on his blog that I believe people who are interested in delving deeper into PAS will find helpful:
These three articles, I believe, will point my readers in the right direction and will provide them sufficient information to help them in their quest for truth and guidance in dealing with the issues of PAS. From these articles, you can then read additional articles on Dr. Childress’ blog that will further your education.
Childress’ articles are peppered with professional jargon (i.e., “attachment-based,” “pathogenic parenting,” “splitting,” etc.) that can be challenging to immediately grasp and understand; his writings can be daunting and do not make for easy reading. But there is gold in what he is offering, and for those willing to take the time and mental effort required to bring enlightenment and understanding in becoming educated concerning this terrible pathology, your efforts will not leave you unrewarded.
My takeaway on this controversy is that there is truth in both camps. While professionals like Dr. Childress have valid points in some of their criticisms, both camps have more in common with each other than their particular disagreements. Each acknowledge and recognize that children from high conflict divorces are being routinely wounded and psychologically traumatized—often for life—by unbalanced parents who are themselves psychologically wounded and traumatized because of their own traumatic and dysfunctional childhoods.
Like what has become commonplace in America today, people from divergent backgrounds, political and religious beliefs, with differing world views, have been reduced to warring tribes, each talking and often yelling past each other instead of seeking to resolve their differences through respectful dialogue.
It is unfortunate that our society has adopted this adversarial approach when faced with dealing with others who do not share their individual perspectives and belief systems. In the best of societies, differences between people are dealt with in an atmosphere of mutual respect, the ability to respectfully listen to the opinions of the other side, and to value the other person as a fellow “image bearer of the divine,” or someone worthy of respect and dignity, even though we may abhor their viewpoints. Such tolerance for others is not easy to develop.
But such tolerance is critical; without such, we are reduced to warring tribes, to conquering those who disagree with us by threats or acts of violence, as seen so often today in the streets of the United States. How much better would it be for all of us, indeed, for society as a whole, if we would return to the “old paths” of mutual respect and valuing those who we find ourselves in disagreement with.
I will look for common ground in both camps because there is, in fact, much common ground to be found in each. And we must keep the end goal always foremost in our minds, which is to bring healing and restoration to families that have been torn asunder by the devastating forces of harm unleashed by divorce.