Given that Dr Childress wrote openly to me on his blog yesterday I thought my readers would be interested to know that I responded with this comment on his blog in response. As far as I am aware Dr Childress has not allowed the comment through and so, in the spirit of synthesis, which he himself argues so powerfully for, here is my response to his challenge to me.
Dear Craig, I would be happy to talk, I am not a Gardenarian and I don’t know what that means even but I would be happy to talk. But wouldn’t you and I be better talking together than arguing in public over what is right and wrong? The people who depend on us to help them want us to talk, they want us to work together and I am sure that we can, even though I cannot advocate the approach you are setting out because I am too acutely aware of the issues in the UK which cause parents to be at such risk of losing their children for good. We have a deeply problematic system here, rigid with judgement and subjectivity, our mental health community hasn’t even begun to grasp the basics of alienation awareness yet. I take an approach which is eclectic and integrative, whatever works to free the child is what we do at the Clinic, yes it is hand to hand combat but it is building an evidence base for our judiciary to show them the truth of alienation and how removal can liberate the child.
I did not write the critique of Foundations to undermine your fine work, I wrote it because I wanted to set out work in the UK out to show the PASG that there is much that chimes with us in your work but some of it which doesn’t because of structural problems. And I still do not believe that those structural problems can be resolved using your approach. But I didn’t write on my blog because I have far too much respect for you to want to critique your work publicly.
But look, I am 53 years old and I too want to see an end to this scourge in my lifetime. You and I are of similar character, we are both fighters, why don’t we fight together, finding the strengths in our similarities and the power of our differences to forge ahead. I believe this field could benefit from such an alliance, showing that even though we may not completely agree on everything, we can still work together for change. Better to be aligned around our strengths than alienated from each other I say. What do you say? Shall we give it a go?
On behalf of all of the families we work so hard for I hope that this can be the end of the matter. I feel that arguments of this nature help no-one and I did not ever intend there to be this outcome when I wrote for the PASG newsletter.
The work of the Parental Alienation Studies Group is very important across the world and brings together people with skills and expertise who are working incredibly hard to further understanding and better outcomes for everyone who is affected by this horrible problem. I see no purpose whatsoever in a battle amongst experts who are already under immense pressure and attack for their work in the field of parental alienation. Neither do I see any purpose in throwing out decades of excellent work to further new constructs. All ways of working with alienated families, all ways of bringing relief from suffering and all ways of liberating children should be made available to as many practitioners across the world as possible.
I never stop drawing on the best practice I can find. Dr Childress’s work is amongst that best practice. I welcome debate and the PASG is furthering that as well as research and support for experts in the field. It is incumbent, I believe, on all of us who know the truth of parental alienation and its toxic impact through the generations, to find our common strengths and build upon our ability to tolerate difference.
‘Whatever works’ should be our motto and liberating children should be our common goal.