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Brainwashing children — a new custody controversy 


From the Edmonton Journal, February 15 or 16, 1997, (unknown section and page)

Brainwashing children — a new custody controversy

ANDREW DUFFY
Southam Newspapers
                 … Ottawa

  For years. Richard Fortin has felt helpless as his relationship with his daughter ebbed toward estrangement.
  Fortin, 42, a land surveyor living in Wakefield, Que., north of Ottawa was divorced in 1985 after nine years of marriage.  He has struggled ever since to keep in contact with his daughter, now 15, who has told court officials she doesn’t want to see him.
   Fortin recently asked a judge to order his daughter into therapy contending she suffers from a form of brainwashing described by an American psychiatrist as parental alienation syndrome [PAS].
   The judge turned down his request, but Fortin will ask the Ontario Court of Appeal in June to rule on his case—and the merits of the controversial syndrome.
   “How would you feel losing your daughter” replies Fortin when asked what motivates him to pursue the appeal.
   “I’m doing it for me, but for all the other fathers, too.  It has to change, this situation, since clearly we’re being exploited.  We don’t have any say in the rearing of our children except to pay support.”
   Parental alienation syndrome has generated considerable controversy across North America—opponents call it junk psychology—while gaining influence with family court judges.
   In Alberta, a judge transferred custody of a four-year-old to a woman who complained her ex-husband and his mother had turned the boy against her and “alienated” the child.
   In B.C., a woman who cut off her husband’s access for two years lost custody of a nine-year-old girl, who called her father “the devil.”
   Parental alienation syndrome is a theory developed by Dr. Richard Gardner, a Columbia University psychiatrist.
   He says children can be brainwashed by a custodial parent into developing an irrational hatred for the other parent.  Women, Gardner claims, are responsible for 90 per cent of the serious alienation cases.
   Access disputes, already among the most difficult cases faced by family courts, have been made more complicated by the syndrome.
   Judges are now being asked to decide if children who don’t want to visit their father or mother suffer from “clinical alienation” or if they’re simply expressing a reasonable desire to avoid contact.
   The growing influence of the alienation theory has raised concern among lawyers like Dan Goldberg, senior counsel with the Office of the Children’s Lawyers of Ontario.  The office represents the interests of children who are the subject of custody battles.
   “He (Gardner) attaches the label of syndrome to something that has not had a lot of empirical research associated with it,” says Goldberg “And as a result, some lawyers and some judges attach greater weigh to it than it perhaps deserves.”
   Gardner recommends that courts take strong action when confronted with an alienated child.  He equates the syndrome with child abuse and contends that affected children will suffer long-term psychological damage unless they’re “de-programmed.”  He says judges should change custody orders, put children into a neutral home or force them into therapy.
   “That makes me uncomfortable,” says Goldberg, “because some 14 year-olds, genuinely, for their own reasons, don’t want any contact with a non-custodial parent.”
   In Fortin’s case, Ontario Court Judge Robert Desmarais concluded there was not enough evidence to support the notion that the man’s daughter suffers from parental alienation syndrome.
   The judge was presented with conflicting evidence.  A court appointed psychologist’s report said the girl was not brainwashed, but Gardner, called as an expert witness by Fortin, testified that the case presented all the symptoms of PAS.
   In his decision last October, the judge noted the 15-year-old girl is a well-balanced child who excels in school, athletics and music.
   “Given time and pause in the adversarial system in which she has been thrust?  A reconciliation may well take place,”  Desmarais said. “I am firmly convinced that if both parents truly have her best interests in mind, then they will set aside the negative feelings they have with regards to each other and do whatever is necessary to encourage reconciliation between her and her father.”
   Fortin was unsatisfied with the judgment.  He says the law has to progress and actively support a father’s right to foster a relationship with his children.
   Fortin, who has remarried and has two young sons, pays $725 a month in child support.  He says "there’s something wrong” with a daughter who doesn’t return his calls or thank him for presents or want to see her half-brothers.  He wants her in therapy.
   “This is not finished.  It may last years, but I don’t care.”
              — Southam News

~~~~~

The following is information pertaining to work done by Dr. Richard Gardner:

from <http://www.vix.com/men/books/false.html>
===<quote>===
Books on False Accusations

Gardner, Dr. Richard

  • The Parental Alienation Syndrome 1987 by Creative Therapeutics. copyright 1992, cost $30, $5.50 shipping, ISBN 0-933812-24-8; (another source claims: ISBN 0-933812-17-5, perhaps there are several editions.)

  • True and False Accusations of Child Sex Abuse, copyright 1992, cost $45, $7.25 shipping (if ordered from Creative Theraputics), ISBN 0-933812-25-6

  • Protocols for Sex-Abuse Evaluation, $45

His publications can be ordered through Creative Therapeutics at 1(800)544-6162, or through an online catalog.
===<End quote>===
 

A friend called Richard Fortin to find out about the effectiveness of Dr. Richard Gardner as an expert witness.  Richard Fortin said that Dr. Gardner charges $7,000 per case.

That is all well and good, but it brings to mind another issue, that of Manufacturing Victims and the interest that the psychology industry has in making a living.  Consider the following:

from http://scholefieldhouse.com/mv/

===<quote>===
It is not news to say that psychology has become an influential force in our culture, or that our society is becoming more and more filled with people who consider themselves victims of one sort or another.

No matter where we turn, we find the effects of a psychology industry.

    [The question here is: "How much of Dr. Gardner's popularity as an expert witness is deserved and how much of it is due to effective promotion in another niche of the potential market for the psychology industry?"  Selling goods, services and a "bill of goods" is as old as mankind.  Caveat emptor (buyer beware).  There is only one sure thing about such expert testimony: the expert gets paid, whether you win or lose, whether he works for or against you, and he/she/it gets paid well! —WHS]

Its influence extends into all aspects of our lives, telling us how to work, to live, to love and, even, to play.  We are confronted by psychologists expounding their theories on the endless list of programs from Oprah and Geraldo, to the news journals and tabloids, to the 're-caps' of the O. J. Simpson trial or a discussion of post traumatic stress disorders in Bosnia.

Meanwhile, people who are anxious, a bit unhappy or just bored are turning more and more to psychol-ogy services.  Some do this through weekly appointments; some do it by frequenting seminars and work-shops; some do it by endlessly buying books on 'abuse',  'adult children', 'trauma and stress', and 'recovery'; all in the pursuit of an elusive experience held out, like a carrot or a pot of gold, by the psychology industry.

What is news is that psychology is manufacturing most of these victims, that it is doing this with motives based on power and profit, and that the industry turns these people into dependent 'users' with no escape from their problems.

The Recovered Memory/False Memory controversy which now rages is only 'the tip of the iceberg' of a far larger business in fabricated victims.  While we have become used to hearing about all sorts of victims, from those of sexual harassment and verbal abuse, to those of 'dysfunctional families', divorce, academic discrimination, even vacation cancellation and home renovation, we have not yet paid attention to the psy-chological techniques which are being used to create and cater to these 'victims'.  Nor have we noticed how it is the psychologists who are benefiting in the end from this victim-making, while the industry grows in power and affluence, as it creates a market dependent on its services.

Psychologists present themselves as concerned and caring healers working for the good of their clients, but the effects are damaged people, divided families, distorted justice, destroyed companies, and a weakened nation.  This book describes the psychological industry; its sales and marketing, its public image and private motives, its power and weakness, as it manufactures victims.

Manufacturing Victims is a "must read" for anyone who is a 'victim'; a friend or relative of a 'victim'; someone blamed or accused by a 'victim'; or interested in or considering psychotherapy.  Find out what the Psychology Industry won't tell you and doesn't want you to know.

...............................................

AND NOW (a look at Dr. Tana Dineen's web site)

An Inside Look at the Psychology Industry (up-dated frequently):

"Some critics of "Manufacturing Victims" say that the book is only describing the fanatic fringe of "flaky and unethical therapists."
But in reality, the book is addressing the core of the Industry, the large professions and associations, as well as the private and unlicensed therapists and experts.
The following provides a current look inside these groups, what they are saying and what they are doing." (excerpts):

An Aggressive Industry

The Psychology Industry considers everyone to be a potential consumer of the industry's products. As How-ard Rome, Past President of the American Psychiatric Association stated:

"...actually, no less than the entire world is proper for present day psychiatry (and psychology), and psychiatry need not be appalled by the magnitude of the task... Our professional borders are virtually unlimited." (More Examples)

The American Psychological Association has launched an aggressive advertising campaign. In assessing its initial impact, Russ Newman, Executive Director of Practice wrote that:

"...data underscore that the campaign messages are effectively reaching a primary target audience — women ages 25 and 55.
...Perhaps the most striking result from the campaign so far is the increased number of referrals documented by the Colorado [?](up over 300%)...”

"Make-Work" projects

In identifying the problems that beset psychology, APA Past President Ronald Fox stated:

" There are the unrealistic and unfounded claims that some practitioners make regarding all manner of inter-personal problems, momentary fads, and problems that exist solely in the mids of TV talk show hosts. To listen to some of the "experts,' there seems to be no problem for which our profession does not have a solu-tion, no symptom that we cannot explain, no behavioral quirk for which we do not have a label, and no bi-zarre behavior that we have not treated by the thousands. New therapies are invented at the drop of the hat and put forth as legitimate professional practices."
...........................

Marketing Targets:

New areas which the Psychology Industry is targetting for its services.  This page provides some of the cur-rent activities and promotions of the Psychology Industry.  It is updated frequently and further information or comment is available from Dr. Tana Dineen.  Click on any topic for more information.

CHILDREN AS TARGETS:

  • PSYCHOLOGISTS ARE WARY OF SCHOOLING CHILDREN AT HOME

  • PERSONALITY ASSESSMENTS NEEDED AT THE KINDERGARTEN LEVEL

ADULTS AS TARGETS:

  • PSYCHOLOGIST TRACES THE PUTTING-IT-OFF SYNDROME BACK TO CHILDHOOD INJURIES

  • JOURNALISTS: REPORTERS CRY ALONE

  • CONCURRENT WOES PAYS MORE

  • NEW TELEVISION NETWORK INCREASES REFERRALS

  • TARGETING ADULT CAREGIVERS

THERAPISTS AS TARGETS:

  • THERAPISTS SUFFER FROM 'COMPASSION FATIGUE'

  • SOCIAL WORKERS TRAUMATIZED BY INVESTIGATION [This item provides an especially juicy plum.]

"Trauma teams get ready

The Gove inquiry report into the death of a five-year-old boy at the hands of his mother is considered so explosive the government has prepared trauma counselling for social workers once it is made public.
The teams will be assisted by counsellors specializing in conflict resolution, team building and trauma counselling. Even families of staff involved in the case will be eligible for support from the local response teams.

Times-Colonist, Nov. 28, 1996, p.1”

Suggestions and material with sources are invited.  Send items to:  mv@scholefieldhouse.com

How to Get a Copy of Manufacturing Victims

From the Bookstore:
Manufacturing Victims is available at better book stores through-out Canada and the United States.
If your book seller hasn't stocked it, ask them to order it.

Distributed in the U.S.A. by: General Distributing Services,
Suite 202, 85 River Rock Drive,
Buffalo, NY, 14287
1-800-805-1083

and in Canada by:                 General Distributing Services,
1-800-387-0172/1-800-387-0141/1-416-445-5967

For all other countries, order from the publisher at: <rdppub@vir.com>

ISBN 1-895854-58-X
===<end quotes>===

All of this reminds me of an item I read in Consumer Report about 35 years ago — when a tooth would be filled by the dentist for $5.00, and dental insurance was private or non-existent. The item — a quote from the American Dental Association — recommended that work scheduling should be done so that the resulting bill would reflect all of the work done in more palatable chunks. After all, it said in effect, why upset the customer with a bill for $250 for work completed in one session if you can ask him to come back three times to stretch the work out over a longer time frame and give him three separate bills for $150 each. (Have you ever wondered why they give you temporary fillings? Often, that’s why! That way they can make sure you come back for another bill when the filling falls out—that’s just in case you should forget.)

Maybe the judge in Fortin’s case knows about the manufacturing of victims and that’s why he did not accept Gardner’s testimony—in spite of it probably being true.


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________________
Updates:
2001 02 09 (format changes)
2002 03 05 (added link to Table of Contents)