The Problem of Diagnosing Parental Alienation

Lee Serpa Azevado

Courts and professionals admit and acknowledge that the problem of one parent alienating children against the other parent is common and damaging to the well-being of the effected children. However it is rarely acted upon by the courts due to it currently not being recognised by any government authority in the UK. Professionals continue to see such conflict as a child custody issue, as opposed to a child protection issue. Professionals do not view parental alienation as a mental health issue. Herein lies the problem.

However a small but significant change has recently taken place. Parental alienation is now included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). The DSM serves as a universal authority for psychiatric diagnoses.

DSM-5 authors Dr. Narrow and Dr. Wamboldt state in a scientific paper in 2016 that parental alienation may be diagnosed as Child Affected by Parental Alienation Distress (V61.29)…

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