Parental Alienation: How to Detect, Prevent, and Overcome Its Effects

parental alienation

Faculty Member: Dr. Benjamin Garber, licensed psychologist, former Guardian ad litem, and parenting coordinator

Facilitator: Diana Shepherd, CDFA®, Editorial Director and Co-Founder of Divorce Magazine

When the other parent intentionally turns the children against you, it becomes difficult – if not impossible – to have a successful co-parenting relationship. Knowing what symptoms and behaviors to watch out for in your children will help you determine whether or not parental alienation is occurring, and which steps to take to mitigate the effects. More


Benjamin Garber, Ph.D. works with the courts in several distinct roles to educate, evaluate, and intervene in the best interests of children. Dr. Garber has served as an expert witness in a number of states, and his experience includes international Hague Convention matters, Daubert arguments against “parental alienation syndrome,” the critique and review of Guardian ad litem, and as a custody evaluator.


What you will learn from this podcast: “Parental Alienation: How to Detect, Prevent, and Overcome Its Effects”

parental alienationThis session will:

  • explore parental alienation and how it can occur
  • discuss the warning signs and symptoms to watch out for in your children
  • address how to raise your concerns with the other parent
  • examine how to tell the difference between your child’s normal anger and grief and negative emotions fueled by the other parent
  • describe the long-term negative effects parental alienation can have on children
  • explain how to prevent or recover from parental alienation.

Links to the Reconciliation Camps and Workshops Dr. Garber refers to in this podcast are:

  1. Overcoming Barriers – www.overcomingbarriers.org
  2. Family Bridges – www.warshak.com/services/family-bridges.html
3 Comments
  • Susan
    Posted at 19:12h, 24 April Reply

    All scientific evidence goes to show that it is never natural for a child to reject their parent, even when truly abused. Oftentimes the child will align with the abuser for their own safety and conditional loved needs. Contrary to Dr. Garber’s statements, there are clear diagnostic criteria, signs and symptoms to “alienation.” I suggest reviewing Dr. Craig Childress’ work along with Dr. Robert Simon’s on hostile-aggressive parenting, Domestic Violence by Proxy, Aligned vs Rejected parenting, etc. Dr. Childress has incredible publications on how mental health professionals can not only affirm “parental alienation” is occurring but can identify the pathogenic parent who is one who is emotionally abusing the child, often for custodial advantage and success in court. It is imperative that a temporary protective order be put in place to reunite the alienated child with the rejected parent, along with qualified, trained psycho-educational orders for the entire family. Our courts are neither trained nor helpful in a great deal of these situations and oftentimes contribute to the alienation scenarios making the situation worse for the child and the rejected parent. Sadly most therapists are not either and can exacerbate the situation (see Leslie Drozd’s publications on this subject). We see time and time again, false allegations of alienation by aggressor parents are believed without evidence while true abusive alienation by the aggressor parent is allowed to continue and seemingly awarded by the court. The APA needs to create a diagnostic criteria for parents who coerce a child into rejecting a good parent and this needs to be identified as a form of serious emotional abuse. It is always done by the parent with a clear and present pathology such as narcissist or borderline personality traits. There is almost always a long standing pattern of restrictive gatekeeping and coercive control during marriage and separation. Thank you Dr. Garber and the Divorce School for speaking out to this serious issue, which is oftentimes gone ignored or mishandled by the courts.

  • Ilana Tamari
    Posted at 11:24h, 26 May Reply

    I prefer to set aside the A word for Alianation. Rather I prefer the term Gatekeeping- such as adaptive Gatekeeping versus Maladaptive Gatekeeping. Dr Drodz authors and lectures quite a bit on this. Alienation has become overly used label that may not fully explain complex family system dynamics.

  • Iris G.
    Posted at 11:26h, 09 October Reply

    i am a mommy that has had my 11yr old twin daughters removed from my custody by TDHS CPS 2 yrs ago because i was falsely accused by my mother-in-law of hitting her. at that time my twins and i were already remanded to the local battered women and childrens shelter because of the emotional and physical abuse that their father began towards me several years before. as well as the continued destruction of our home, vehicle, and property also the violent abuse to me and even our pets. threats of violence, belittling/name calling/beatings of me, outbursts, profanity, changing channels, throwing our dinner out was done in front of our twins. also withholding of support and leaving his twins at the door all night waiting for him because he had told him he was taking them out for the evening all this they saw with their own eyes and still recall including an incident that involved my grandbaby that i held in my arms. due to my emotional state, physical impairment, personal tragedies, and deaths that befallen me from 2013 thru 2015 a Tx CPS Judge awarded our abuser ‘Sole Managing Conservator’ while not only naming me ‘Possessory Conservator’ but ordering that i am to be supervised every 2nd and 4th Saturday of each month a 4 hour visit (something i was coerced into agreeing by

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