To: PAS Network-2
From: Richard Gardner
As most of you are aware, Parental Alienation Syndrome is not listed in the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV). Critics of PAS are quick to point this out and consider its absence to support arguments that PAS doesn't exist. The facts are that DSM-IV was published in 1994. When committees were meeting in the early 1990s, there were too few articles in peer-review journals, and too few legal rulings in courts of law that had recognized PAS, to warrant a submission. Accordingly, I did not submit a proposal at that time. Nor, to the best of my knowledge, did anyone else do so.
DSM-V committees are scheduled to start meeting in 2006 and the projected date of publication of DSM-V is 2010.
At this point, there are at least 143 articles in peer-review journals on the PAS http://www.rgardner.com/refs/pas_peerreviewarticles.html Many countries are represented.
In addition, there are at least 72 rulings in courts of law that have recognized the PAS http://www.rgardner.com/refs/pas_legalcites.html Again, many countries are represented. These rulings include two successful Frye hearings (U.S.) and one successful Mohan hearing (Canada)
There is good reason to believe that these lists will be even longer by 2006.
The DSM-V program coordinator at the American Psychiatric Association has informed me that a PAS file has been set up. This, of course, is good news in that it indicates that the APA is taking PAS seriously. The bad news is that the file includes biased submissions, and even sensational newspaper articles that do not provide a balanced view of PAS I have good reason to believe that critics of PAS have been much more active that the supporters in sending submissions to that file.
Accordingly, I am suggesting that therapists who have seen PAS patients write the APA now describing their experiences with such patients, with particular focus on the number of patients they have seen who exhibit specific symptoms of the syndrome, e.g., campaign of denigration, frivolous excuses, lack of ambivalence etc.
I am suggesting that alienated parents also write now, again with particular focus on the specific syndrome symptoms they have observed in their children.
Lawyers who represent alienated parents should also write. If PAS is not accepted into DSM-V, their position in courts of law will be seriously weakened.
I am suggesting also that other interested parties also write now, people such as relatives of PAS families and older children who subsequently came to appreciate that they had been programmed to become PAS children. Anyone who asks what she (he) can do to help PAS families should be advised to write the APA. All those who write should focus on the specific syndrome symptoms that manifested themselves.
All those who write should keep in mind that the primary purpose of their letter is to help the committee make a decision as to whether the syndrome exists and hence justifies consideration for inclusion in DSM-V.
Although the committee will not meet until 2006, it is important that the members have input from both sides of the PAS controversy. The critics are sending in their criticisms now and I suspect will continue to do so. Those who recognize the PAS must similarly write now, and there must be continuing letters over the next 4 years if the committees are to have balanced input.
Send your letters to:
American Psychiatric Association
1400 K Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20005
Request that your letter be put in the PAS file.
Last, I suggest that people in the PAS Network give this latter the widest possible circulation.
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