Identifying Pathology

Dr. Craig Childress: Attachment Based "Parental Alienation" (AB-PA)

I recently heard (secondhand) a critique by a mental health professional about an attachment-based model of “parental alienation.”  This mental health professional was apparently concerned about “labeling” the alienating parent’s pathology as being related to personality disorder processes (“Why do we need to “label” the parent as having a personality disorder?”)

I wish to take this opportunity to address this concern for “labeling” the pathology of the allied and supposedly favored parent.


Identifying pathology is the central and primary function of mental health professionals.

To say that we shouldn’t identify the nature and severity of psychological pathology is like saying the legal system shouldn’t identify the nature and severity of the violations of the law.

Judge: “I really feel uncomfortable labeling someone as a murderer. Can’t we just say they’re a doer of bad things?”

Psychologist: “I know the person has prominent hallucinations, delusions, and conceptual disorganization, but why do…

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