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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Canadian Symposium for Parental Alienation Syndrome speakers

PAS Q & A, Part Four, provides information on the speakers at the Canadian Symposium for Parental Alienation Syndrome and offer a list of books and websites for further information.

The Canadian Symposium for Parental Alienation Syndrome,
May 28th & 29th, 2011: SPEAKER PROFILES

William Bernet, M.D.
Keynote Presentation: The Differential Diagnosis of Contact Refusal
Dr Bernet explained the various causes of “contact refusal”, which is when a child of divorce resists interaction with one of the parents. He explained how important it is for anyone who works with a family experiencing this issue to understand the underlying reason for a child’s contact refusal in order to devise a treatment plan for that child and family. In 2007, Dr. Bernet and Judge Don R. Ash published Children of Divorce: A Practical Guide for Parents, Therapists, Attorneys, and Judges. Dr. Bernet published Parental Alienation, DSM-5, and ICD-11 : edited by William Bernet, M.D., with 70 contributing authors from 12 countries, published by Charles C Thomas, Publisher, Ltd., 2010. “Parental alienation is a mental condition in which a child – usually one whose parents are engaged in a high-conflict divorce – allies himself or herself with one parent (the preferred parent) and rejects a relationship with the other parent (the alienated parent) without legitimate justification.”

Douglas Darnall, Ph.D.
Presentation: The Psychosocial Treatment of Parental Alienation
Parental Alienation Disorder has been observed for years by parents, mental health professionals, attorneys, and the courts. The concept of it as “brainwashing” has grown in public awareness and has become controversial, yet with much being written now about how to identify it, little has been discussed about what occurs in therapy to unify the alienated families. Dr. Darnall’s presentation helped to close that gap by sharing the process of reunification, with a psychosocial and cognitive intervention. He is the author of Divorce Casualties: Understanding Parental Alienation (second edition) and Beyond Divorce Casualties: Reunifying the Alienated Family.

Terence W. Campbell, Ph.D.
Presentation: Reducing Parental Conflicts Between Divorced Spouses; Recommendations for Mild to Moderate Alienation
For more information on his work, see:

Richard Sauber, Ph.D.
Presentation: Alienation, Estrangement and Bona Fide Abuse: The Differentiating Criteria for the Development of the Reunification Plan. His most recent book with Richard Gardner, M.D., and Demosthenes Lorandos, J.D., Ph.D. is entitled The International Handbook of PAS; Conceptual, Clinical and Legal Considerations (2006) and is now being written in its second edition with Demosthenes Lorandos, J.D., Ph.D., William Bernet, M.D. and S. Richard Sauber, Ph.D., entitled The Handbook of Parental Alienation for Mental Health and Legal Professionals.

Abraham Worenklein, Ph.D.
Presentation: Cutting the Suit to Fit the Alienated Child: Individualizing the Nature and Modalities of Intervention. As well as being a clinical and forensic psychologist in private practice in Montreal, for many years, he is also a professor at Dawson College and on the International Board of the American Journal of Family Therapy.

Glen Ross Caddy, Ph.D. , the Conference Moderator, is also a Clinical and Forensic Psychologist licensed in the State of Florida and in Australia.

Joseph Goldberg, is the Founder of the Canadian Symposium for Parental Alienation Syndrome.

Sharon Shenker, is the Founder of Divorce Support Plus, author of My Family Has Two Houses (workshop in a workbook), and LifeCoach who has helped hundreds of couples and families to either remain together because their relationship is better than it was with their own old relationship skills, and she has also helped hundreds more go through a family reconstruction with as little damage and baggage as possible – reconstructing the family rather than destructing lives. As a Family Life Educator, trained and qualified in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, the Satir Family Therapy and Reunification Therapy models, she is The Coach to go to if you want your relationships to thrive!

Aside from the speakers at the symposium, I would also like to mention Dr. Richard A Warshak, author of Divorce Poison, who has posted information about a survey that was recently released showing a “near unanimous agreement among professionals that children can be manipulated by one parent to turn against the other parent. The survey was taken at the annual International Conference of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts. Approximately 1000 legal and mental health professionals attended a debate about whether parental alienation should be included in the future edition of the manual of official psychiatric diagnoses, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association – Fifth Edition, commonly known as the DSM-5. About 300 people responded to the survey with nearly every respondent, 98%, responding ‘Yes’ to the question: “Do you think that some children are manipulated by one parent to irrationally and unjustifiably reject the other parent?”

So, despite contrasting opinions on the issue of whether the DSM-5 should include parental alienation, the debate panel agreed: “The survey results were overwhelming in support of the basic tenet of parental alienation: children can be manipulated by one parent to reject the other parent who does not deserve to be rejected.”

The roots of alienation differ among children. Any child who refuses to see one of their parents can be doing so for many, many different reasons, and it truly must be looked into for the sake of the child, the parent and the whole family system, including the aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents who are also so often devastated by the loss of contact with their loved ones.

Do you believe there are some cases in which a rejected parent’s behavior has contributed to the child’s rejection?

How often do you believe a parent has done nothing to warrant losing contact with their child?

If you are struggling through PAS, PA, or Estrangement, please remember these words by Winston Churchill:
"Never, never, never, never give up.”

Sharon Shenker, Family Life Coach
For further information, phone: 514.804.3585 or