The Five Books of Moses Lapinsky
For the purposes of this article, only a brief summary is warranted. Elsewhere, I have presented full descriptions of these three levels Gardner, , Other forms of acting-out may be present, acting-out that is designed to inflict ongoing grief upon the parent who is being visited. The evaluator should also assess, to the degree possible, such areas as the frequency of the programming process, the frequency of exclusionary maneuvers, and the frequency of the violation of court orders.
An assessment should be made of the successes the alienator has had in manipulating the legal system to enhance the programming. This is not usually difficult to do, because the alienator can predictably rely on court delays, court reluctance, and even court refusal to penalize the alienator via such measures as posting a bond, fines, community service, probation, house arrest, incarceration and custodial transfer that would prevent or interrupt further alienation.
Last, the evaluator should assess the risk of intensification of programming if the alienator has gained primary custody.
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When courts and mental health professionals work together, there is a high likelihood of success when dealing with PAS families. In contrast, if either attempts to deal with these families separately their efforts are almost always doomed to failure. The therapist does not have the power of the court, and the court does not have the expertise of the mental health professional nor the opportunity to work in depth on an ongoing basis with PAS families.
The judge in the courthouse is not available to reach out and deal with the details that are crucial to attend to if one is to be helpful to PAS families. Mental health professionals are basically impotent when it comes to requiring their patients to do anything. They can analyze, help people gain insight, suggest and recommend, but they have little if any power over their patients. Judges are quick to refer PAS families into treatment.
Therapy has been oversold to the public and is far less efficient and effective than purported by most mental health professionals. Similarly, I suspect that most judges do not really have the respect for therapy that they profess in the courtroom, but it can serve as an ostensible if not expedient solution to the case. By ordering everyone into therapy, judges can make a quick decision and then move on to the next case.
Most PAS indoctrinators are not candidates for therapy. PAS indoctrinators do not generally consider the programming of their children to be a manifestation of a psychiatric problem. They do not appreciate that poisoning a child against a loving parent is very much a form of emotional abuse—especially because it can result in the destruction of a strong bond between a child and a loving parent.
PAS indoctrinators do not satisfy the first proviso. Furthermore, without insight into the fact that they have a psychiatric problem, they do not have the motivation to change anything—especially in the realm of the PAS indoctrinational process.
Accordingly, the second proviso is also not satisfied. I believe that judges often lose sight of the fact that there are certain limits to what they can accomplish with their orders. Accordingly, they recognize that they can ignore such an order with impunity. What happens then is that the PAS indoctrinator continues to program the children, and the PAS becomes more deeply entrenched in them. The high incidence of PAS families returning to court should impress judges that court-ordered therapy for PAS indoctrinators just will not work. There must be some judges who appreciate that therapy is at best a very soft science, and that the evidence is very weak that most forms of psychotherapy are of any value at all.
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One of the reasons for such blind commitment is clear. Table 3 provides what I consider to be the optimum guidelines for the judiciary to follow in PAS cases.
It is to be noted that the legal approaches take up much more space than the therapeutic. The reason for this is that the legal approaches in Table 3 serve as the foundation for the therapeutic. In Plan A, primary custody can still remain with the alienating parent. In Table 3 are six levels a. In Plan B, the alienator is so relentless that the children must be transferred to the home of the alienated parent if there is to be any hope for alleviation of PAS symtoms. Here, the alienator is usually in the severe category and there is no evidence that they will cease and decist from their exclusionary maneuvers following the trial.
The children, here are generally in the moderate level, but moving rapidly down the track to the severe category. Again the court does well to appoint a therapist knowledgable about the special techniques necessary for the treatment of PAS families. This therapist must monitor an extremely restrictive visitation program, contracted or expanded depending upon the relentlessnness of the alienator.
In such cases, the children may not be able to visit with the alienated parent, so hostile are they. In fact, they might even be dangerous to his her physical well-being. Accordingly, a transitional site program must be implemented. I have been testifying in PAS cases since the early s.
I have made recommendations along these lines in many cases. But not once has a court gone along with my recommendation to implement any of these six sanctions. Alienating parents know well that courts are not likely to come down heavily upon them for violating a court-ordered visitation schedule. Without such consequences, they continue to program the children. They recognize that the courts are slow, and that time is on their side. The longer they have access to the children, the more deeply entrenched will become their PAS symptoms. This is the sequence I have repeatedly seen: The PAS indoctrinator successfully alienates the children.
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The alienated parent goes to court the time gap between the onset of the alienation and the court hearing may be as long as a year. The trial drags on over a span of a few weeks or even a few months. The evaluation takes four-to-five months. And the therapists may know nothing about PAS either.
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The alienator does not go, nor does the alienator bring the children. The alienated parent, in desperation, decides to bring the case back to court. By this time another six-to-nine months may have elapsed. Another hearing is scheduled six months to a year later. Back in court, the judge decides that the original evaluation is too old and orders a new evaluation. Sometimes this may be an update of the earlier one, and sometimes a new evaluator is brought in.
The Five Books of Moses Lapinsky
In either case, the judge may take the position that any evaluator will do and is not concerned with whether the evaluator has any knowledge at all of the PAS. This takes another six months to a year. After the third or fourth round, the children are in their teens, and the judge by this time the fourth or fifth one throws up his her hands, claiming that there is nothing that can be done with teenagers. At that point, the children have become permanently alienated, and the judiciary has basically joined forces with the alienating parent in bringing about this all too common tragic result.
In those cases in which the court saw fit to transfer custody from the alienating to the alienated parent there was percent success rate regarding alleviation, if not complete evaporation of PAS symptoms. In contrast, when the court chose to allow PAS children to remain with the indoctrinating parent, there was a 91 percent rate of permanent alienation from the targeted parent.
At any point in this tragic sequence, had the court seen fit to impose the aforementioned sanctions program, it is highly likely that the PAS would have been prevented in the early stages and reversed in the moderate forms, and even in some of the severe forms. This tragedy is being played out daily in courts of law throughout the United States, Canada, and many countries abroad.
I have often said that over 95 percent of PAS indoctrinators would be cured and I do not hesitate to use that word in this situation by a weekend in jail.
I really believe that this would work. However, as mentioned, I have personally not once seen a case in which a judge has even threatened to do this. They parrot the oath before testifying because they recognize that they have to swear to tell the truth in order to be allowed to then promulgate their strings of lies. They know well that the likelihood of the judge penalizing them for perjuring themselves on the witness stand is just about zero. I have been testifying in custody cases almost 40 years.
Not once have I ever seen a judge penalize a parent for perjuring himself herself on a witness stand.
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I recognize that the judge may appreciate that the witness is lying and that the lies affect the decision. However, I have never seen a case in which the judge has identified the perjury per se and penalized the witness for it. This failure to take action against perjurers provides support for PAS indoctrinators, and it is another way in which they make a mockery of the judicial process. Poisoning a child to hate a loving and dedicated parent is a form of emotional abuse per se.
It is important to note that courts have been very eager to impose the same sanctions on parents usually fathers who renege on their financial commitments to their spouses and children. However, the same sanctions are rarely imposed when courts deal with PAS alienators. In some cases, courts have indeed implemented Plan B and transferred custody to the home of the alienated parent.
Often, a traditional visitation schedule is ordered for the alienating parent. Under such circumstances, the children continue to be programmed and so continue to victimize the target parent. Courts do well to view PAS alienators like other kinds of abusers who require very restricted time frames of access, sometimes with supervision.