Family Re-Organisation


  • Dr Richard Gardener was the primary proponent of a model known as Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS)
  • More recent trends have focused o the child and consider family system dynamics, child development and individual and situational factors.
  • Recent thinking also includes the idea that one parent can alienate the child from the other parent by focusing on faults that are real and evident.
  • This is further complicated by high conflict situations. Alliances may have already formed with constant litigation. Families become divided into two camps.
  • The long-term effects of alienation may lead to poor mental health outcomes including problems in forming intimate relationships, problematic tolerance for relational conflict, conflictual relationships with those in authority and symptoms of a psycho-somatic nature.
  • The level of severity is dependent of the duration of the alienation and how strongly the attempts have taken hold. There are however other major factors age, support network, the child’s prior relationship with the alienated parent and the child’s level of enmeshment with the alienating parent that all will play an important part.
  • A child's rejection of a parent may be because of alienation however it may also be because of other factors such as age -related separation anxiety, manipulation of parents or feeling responsible for the absent parent’s well-being.
  • Parental alienation is a complex phenomenon and needs to be dealt with by an appropriate psychological investigation by an adequately trained psychologist.
  • Encourage children to love and respect both parents. Respecting children's right to have a relationship with both parents and knowing the long- term harmful effects that parental alienation can result in should encourage all parents not to become alienators.
  • This is regarded as a serious family problem and you need to seek the relevant professional assistance.


Gardner, R. (1985). Recent trends in divorce and custody litigation. The academy forum, 29(2)3-7. New York: The Academy of Psychoanalysis.

Rand, D.C. (1997). The Spectrum of Parental Alienation Syndrome (Part 1). American Journal of Forensic Psychology, 15 (3): 23-39.

Rand, D.C. (1997). The Spectrum of Parental Alienation Syndrome (Part 2) . American Journal of Forensic Psychology, 15 (4): 61-70.

Ribicki, D.J. (2001). Parental Alienation and Enmeshment in child custody cases.

Thayer, E.S., & Zimmerman, J. (2001). The Co-Parenting Survival Guide. U.S.A: New Harbinger Publications, Inc.

Vestal, A. (1997). Perspectives on Parental Alienation, Child custody, and Dispute resolution systems. American Bar Association.