Titolo: Denial of Ambivalence as a Hallmark of Parental Alienation
A cura di: Alan M. Jaffe, Melanie J. Thakkar and Pascale Piron
Abstract: Parental alienation is a construct which describes a campaign of disenfranchisement
from children on the part of one parent against another, particularly during
divorce. It has been at the forefront of child custody research aimed at explaining its
short- and long-term effects on the children affected by it. During a time when tension
between parents is at its highest and conflict regarding parenting responsibilities
and parenting time arises, parents resort to parental alienation in an effort to control
and hinder the emotional relationship the children would otherwise forge with the
other parent. This paper is a review and integration of established ambivalence and
parental alienation theory incorporating clinical examples. The clinical examples are
cited from real interviews conducted by the authors from 2010 to 2016. The purpose
and diagnostic utility of the examination of this subject matter is to exemplify the
need for making a fine grain clinical analysis of ambivalence in order to most accurately
assess the existence of parental alienation in a clinical situation with children.
Specifically, the expressed lack of ambivalence as manifested by the alienated child
serves as an observable defining characteristic of the presence of parental alienation.
The understanding of this phenomenon provides predictive criteria for clinicians and
forensic experts to establish or rule out the existence of parental alienation in clinical
and forensic settings with implications for treatment and custody recommendations.