Dr. Richard A. Warshak has accumulated great honor in his field of expertise as a clinical, research and consulting psychologist in private practice and as a clinical professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.
In his book, "Divorce Poison," Dr. Warshak describes the alienating process in great detail. For those of us who still have contact with our kids, this information is indispensible. The book describes the various degrees of Parental Alienation from the occasional "badmouthing" that nearly every parent--divorced, separated, married or never married--engages in. Yes, we are all guilty of saying something bad about our partner, either directly to the children or within earshot.
Dr. Warshak describes the difference between the occasional peccadillo and the consistent campaign of "bashing." A parent who engages in continuous badmouthing of the other parent is doing far more harm than he or she realizes. Each time that the parent says some denigrating thing about the child, they are critisizing the child themselves.
The worst behavior is "brainwashing." A parent who continously bashes and successfully solicits the child to engage in the bashing is a parent who brainwashes. Children who suffer from the most severe forms of alienation can be said to be suffering from Parental Alienation Syndrome. The child does not stand a chance and the consequences are, not only the loss of a loving parent, but lifelong problems with personal relationships.
With detail and practical advice to counter the destructive effects of Parental Alienation, Dr. Warshak takes the reader through a self-reflective excercise with his examples. He describes what goes on in the mind of the child and the alienating parent, what environmental elements are necessary for alienation to work, and how the child's perception of reality can be completely corrupted by a determined and angry ex.
The best part of Dr. Warshak's book is the chapter entitled, "Poison Control." These are skills that we could all use in our daily lives with each other, but they are critical to empowering an alienated child to break free from the alienating influences of the other parent while still accepting that parent. Dr. Warshak, like every therapist who understands PA well, advocates that children need both parents.
Give yourself the strength to understand and deal with Parental Alienation by reading this book. Don't just accuse the other parent. Get familiar with the tenets of this book, look at your own faults, and help your kids.