Page 10 - Parental Alienation Conference 2018
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 Research Presentations
Identifying the characteristics of parental alienation
Presenter: Lilian Deeth
The term ‘parental alienation’ refers to the process by which one parent (alienating parent) negatively influences a child’s (targeted child) perception of the other parent (targeted parent), resulting in the targeted child rejecting the targeted parent. While there is a general consensus within the literature that parental alienation exists, it currently lacks a clear definition within clinical psychology. The aim of this study was to provide a detailed description of parental alienation as it presents in the alienating parent, targeted parent and targeted child. The results revealed the following: targeted children experience a range of negative psychological and psychosocial responses to parental alienation in adulthood; targeted parents experience emotional distress that is comparable to a grief reaction when alienated from a child; alienating parents are equally likely to be mother and fathers. Overall, the results revealed that further research is needed to better understand parental alienation, including psychopathology that may contribute to or manifest in the process of parental alienation. The systematic review provides recommendations for future research.
Understanding targeted parents of parental alienation
Presenter: Sau-Lyn Lee Maturana
A targeted parent of parental alienation is a parent who is alienated from their child/ ren (the targeted child/ren) as a result of an intervention by a third party who can be the other parent (known as alienating parent) or another member of the family. The targeted child/ren rejects a relationship or any type of contact with the targeted parent. Studies about targeted parents from their own perspective are scarce in the academic literature (Lee-Maturana, Matthewson, Dwan & Norris, 2018) and little is known about how they experience parental alienation. This study aims to explore and describe targeted parents’ experiences and coping strategies used by them to deal with the alienation. The results showed four emerging themes describing: similar patterns of the alienation experience and strategies used by the alienator; similar negative physical and psychological consequences as a result of the alienation; and similar emotions and coping mechanisms. All participants described a legal system and mental health services that appeared to provoke or aggravate the alienation. These findings provide useful insights and recommendations on how Australian legal and mental health practitioners can respond to families experiencing parental alienation.
Eeny Meeny Miney Mo Foundation

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