ALTHOUGH THE NEWLY PUBLISHED DSM-5 DOES NOT SPECIFICALLY USE THE TERM PARENTAL ALIENATION, THE CONCEPT IS INCLUDED.   Leave a comment

The DSM 5 does not include parental alienation as a separate diagnosis, but parental alienation is described in examples within other diagnoses that are in DSM-5.

  • Parent-Child Relational Problem includes a description of the diagnosis, specifically that it may include “unwarranted feelings of estrangement.” Is that not a description of a child alienated from a parent?
  • The same diagnosis, Parent-Child Relational Problem, also “may include negative attributions of the other’s intentions, hostility toward or scapegoating of the other [parent]

Other diagnoses that contain the concept of parental alienation include the following:

  • Child Affected By Parental Relationship Distress can help explain that an alienating parent can affect a child.
  • Child Psychological Abuse is defined in DSM-5 as: “non accidental 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.” Now the DSM states that a parent’s verbal or symbolic acts can harm a child and that this can be child abuse.
  • Factitious Disorder Imposed On Another 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.”

Lawyers in family law courts will find it less easy to say that the concept of Parental Alienation is not in the diagnostic manual and, therefore, it must not exist.

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