University of Tasmania

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Recommendations for best evidence based practice responses for parental alienation : a psychological and legal perspective

posted on 2023-05-27, 11:45 authored by Templer, KM
Parental alienation occurs when a child is unreasonably influenced by a parent's unwarranted views of the other parent, leading to unnecessary refusal or resistance of a relationship with the targeted parent (Garber, 2011). The child will align themselves with the preferred parent without justification, with their behaviour often driven by false beliefs (Bernet & Baker, 2013). There is a current lack of literature regarding effective practice to aid psychologists and courts in terms of supporting the alienating parent, targeted parent, and child. A systematic literature review was undertaken which aimed to identify evidence based practices in response to parental alienation and to develop a set of best practice recommendations for professionals working with families affected by parental alienation with a psychological and a legal perspective. Medline, PsycInfo and Embase academic databases were searched from their inception until August 2015. The Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and conference abstracts were also searched. Articles published in English reporting outcomes relating to an intervention for parental alienation were included. A total of nine articles met criteria for the current review. Broadly, interventions fell into five different categories: change in custody and individual or family therapy/mediation; custodial transfer only; multi-modal family intervention; parallel group therapy; and reunification programs/ retreats/ workshops/ camps. Recommendations suggest that changes in custody to the targeted parent are effective in restoring relationships, and that where there is court involvement, a family therapy approach further helps to reduce distress and improve child-parent relationships.


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  • Unpublished

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Copyright 2015 the author Acknowledgements page removed at author's request

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