Some women’s groups have denounced and denied the existence of Parental Alienation Syndrome, claiming it is a ploy by men to use against women.

The claim that PAS has not been accepted in U.S. courts of law is not true. Although there are judges who have not recognized Parental Alienation Syndrome, there is no question that some American and foreign courts are recognizing the condition.

The legal profession is aware of the difficulty in addressing Parental Alienation Syndrome. An excellent book, Children Held Hostage: Dealing with Programmed and Brainwashed Children, is published by the American Bar Association. One of the points made is that very commonly judges find the phenomenon too confusing and do not want to deal with it. They do not have mental health training and find it difficult to reconcile the disparate accounts of who is abusing whom. Legal and mental health professionals are often further taken in when they hear a successfully brainwashed child side with the covert but truly abusive parent.

Another argument is that Parental alienation is not currently listed as a mental disorder. This is true. However, other conditions have taken years to be recognized officially. Gille de La Tourette first described his syndrome in 1885. It was not until 1980, 95 years later, that TS found its way into the official diagnostic manual for mental disorders. Asperger first described his syndrome in 1957. It was not until 1994, 37 years later, that it was accepted into the diagnostic manual.

The American Psychological Association indirectly recognized Parental Alienation Syndrome in one of its official publications: Guidelines for Child-Custody Evaluations in Divorce Proceedings published in 1994. It cited 3 Parental Alienation Syndrome publications by Dr. Richard Gardner.

Currently, Parental Alienation Syndrome does, however, fall within the diagnostic manual’s V codes: conditions which are a focus of clinical attention:

1. V61.20 Parent-Child Relational Problem, a pattern of interaction between parent and child that is associated with clinically significant impairment in individual or family functioning.
2. V61.10 Partner Relational Problem
a pattern of interaction between spouses or partners that is associated with clinically significant impairment in individual or family functioning.

Even without Parental Alienation Syndrome being an officially recognized diagnosis, it is not required to be a mental disorder to be recognized in courts. Parental Alienation Syndrome involves behavior – analogous to other behaviors such as robbery and assault, which do not require a psychiatric diagnosis to be recognized in courts. Parental Alienation Syndrome is a form of child abuse.
It is also a form of adult abuse against the targeted parent, a variation of domestic violence.

Partly, Parental Alienation Syndrome is difficult for judges because the child also vilifies and denigrates the targeted parent, lending credence to the alienating parent. A successful campaign of alienation proceeds with erasing the positive loving history between the targeted parent and the now alienated child, who then no longer wishes to have anything to do with the formerly loved parent.

A successful alienation also hinges on the cooperation of allies – perhaps including others besides the child. These innocent bystanders can become surrogate alienators. Alienating parents can manipulate a therapist, a teacher, friends, family members. They can unwittingly become surrogate brain washers. Judges are often taken in by such a campaign.

Some argue that brainwashing a child is far-fetched. However, the FBI recognizes Stockholm Syndrome brainwashing even if Stockholm, too, is not a psychiatric diagnosis

As an aid in understanding this difficult to comprehend and fascinating phenomenon, you may view my YouTube videos on the topic by visiting my website at

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Linet received his medical degree from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He is board certified in both adult and child psychiatry and has practiced for over 30 years. In the past, he held faculty positions as Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Cornell Medical College and also at the State University of New York, Health Sciences Center at Brooklyn. Dr. Linet completed his residency in psychiatry at the State University of New York, Health Sciences Center at Brooklyn, where he later also completed a fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry. Subsequently, Dr. Linet was in charge of medical student education in child psychiatry at the State University medical school and later worked as Medical and Psychiatric Director of a residential treatment center for severely disturbed children and adolescents. Dr. Linet is comfortable using psychotherapy and psychopharmacology. He has expertise treating anxiety, depression and disruptive/acting out behavior - whether caused by psychological problems, ADHD, bipolar or other mood disorders. He wrote "Bipolar Disorder without Mania" and "The Search for Stimulation: Understanding ADHD," links to which can be found at Dr. Linet appeared on television programs featuring OCD and Tourette Syndrome. Internet links to various of his webcasts can be found on He is one of approximately 2000 physicians with a federal waiver to prescribe buprenorphine for narcotic addiction. He also counsels families and patients in handling substance abuse.