The new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM 5) helps our children!
Bill Bernet, lead a group of interested professionals in encouraging
the DSM 5 editing group to include Parental Alienation Disorder. The new
DSM % was published on May 18, 2013 and is the reference book for
psychiatrists, psychologists and other mental health providers Here is
Dr. Bernet's unedited analysis of the result.
DSM-5 was published today. The DSM-5 Task Force told us 2 or 3 years
ago that they did not want parental alienation to be a separate
diagnosis in DSM-5, but they thought that parental alienation could be
considered an example of other diagnoses that are in DSM-5.
actual words "parental alienation" are not in DSM-5, but there are
several diagnoses that can be used in these cases. I would say the
"spirit" of parental alienation is in DSM-5, even if the words are not.
Parent-child relational problem now
has a discussion in DSM-5, not just a label. The discussion explains
that cognitive problems in parent-child relational problem "may include
negative attributions of the other's intentions, hostility toward or
scapegoating of the other, and unwarranted feelings of estrangement."
That is a pretty good description of a child's view of the alienated
parent, although it is an unfortunate use of the word "estrangement."
Child psychological abuse is
a new diagnosis in DSM-5. It is defined as "nonaccidental verbal or
symbolic acts by a child's parent or caregiver that result, or have
reasonable potential to result, in significant psychological harm to the
child." In many instances, the behavior of the alienating parent
constitutes child psychological abuse.
Child affected by parental relationship distress is
another new diagnosis in DSM-5. It should be used "when the focus of
clinical attention if the negative effects of parental relationship
discord (e.g., high levels of conflict, distress, or disparagement) on a
child in the family, including effects on the child's mental or other
physical disorders." That is also a good description of how parental
alienation comes about.
Factitious disorder imposed on another is
the DSM-5 terminology for factitious disorder by proxy or Munchausen
disorder by proxy. Its definition is "falsification of physical or
psychological signs or symptoms, or induction of injury or disease, in
another, associated with identified deception." In some cases, that
would describe the behavior of the alienating parent.
Delusional symptoms in partner of individual with delusional disorder is
the DSM-5 terminology for shared psychotic disorder or folie a deux.
The definition is: "In the context of a relationship, the delusional
material from the dominant partner provides content for delusional
belief by the individual who may not otherwise entirely meet criteria
for delusional disorder."
discussing this topic, I would say that the concept of parental
alienation is clearly in DSM-5, although the actual words are not. This
is a great improvement over DSM-IV-TR, especially with the addition of
the new diagnoses, child psychological abuse and child affected by
parental relationship distress.
Bernet is currently working with PAAO to present a webinar on this subject in the next 2 - 3 weeks. We will notify you of the details
Parental Alienation Awareness Organization Newsletter May 2013