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Q & A – what are evidence based interventions for parental alienation?

Evidence-based interventions for parental alienation refer to interventions that have been scientifically tested and shown to be effective in addressing the issues related to parental alienation. Here are some examples of evidence-based interventions for parental alienation:

  1. Family therapy: Family therapy is an evidence-based intervention that can help children and parents work through the emotional challenges associated with parental alienation. Family therapy can help rebuild relationships, improve communication, and develop coping strategies.
  2. Co-parenting therapy: Co-parenting therapy is an evidence-based intervention that can help parents improve their ability to co-parent effectively. This therapy helps parents learn how to communicate, make decisions, and resolve conflicts in a way that prioritizes the child’s well-being.
  3. Parent-child interaction therapy: Parent-child interaction therapy (PCIT) is an evidence-based intervention that focuses on improving the quality of parent-child interactions. This intervention teaches parents how to provide positive reinforcement, set appropriate limits, and communicate effectively with their child.
  4. Multisystemic therapy: Multisystemic therapy (MST) is an evidence-based intervention that targets multiple systems in a child’s life, including the family, school, and community. MST aims to improve the child’s overall functioning and reduce problematic behaviors.
  5. Cognitive-behavioral therapy: Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based intervention that focuses on changing negative thought patterns and behaviors. CBT can be helpful for children who are experiencing anxiety, depression, or other emotional difficulties as a result of parental alienation.

It is important to work with a qualified mental health professional who can provide evidence-based interventions that are tailored to the specific needs of your family. The choice of intervention will depend on the severity and complexity of the parental alienation and the specific needs of the child and parents involved.

©Linda Turner 2023

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy EMDR THERAPY

Q & A – What are what are emotional flashbacks?

Emotional flashbacks are a type of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptom in which a person experiences intense emotions from a traumatic event as if it were happening in the present. These emotions can be overwhelming and can cause physical reactions such as sweating, trembling, and difficulty breathing. People may also experience intrusive thoughts, images, and memories related to the traumatic event.

What treatments are available for emotional flashbacks?

1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT is a type of psychotherapy that helps people identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors that are contributing to their emotional flashbacks.

2. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR): EMDR is a type of psychotherapy that uses eye movements to help people process traumatic memories and reduce the intensity of their emotional flashbacks.

3. Medication: Certain medications, such as antidepressants.


©Linda Turner 2023

Alienation Cognitive Behavioral Therapy THERAPY

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)? A Psychologist Explains

What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy? 5 Definitions

Before we begin discussing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, it is a good idea to define it first. Here are a few definitions of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy from some different psychology organizations, and one traditional dictionary definition. The following definitions of CBT are in no particular order.

  1. According to the Mayo Clinic, CBT is “a common type of talk therapy (psychotherapy). You work with a mental health counselor (psychotherapist or therapist) in a structured way, attending a limited number of sessions. CBT helps you become aware of inaccurate or negative thinking so you can view challenging situations more clearly and respond to them in a more effective way.”
  2. According to the Beck Institute, CBT is “a time-sensitive, structured, present-oriented psychotherapy directed toward solving current problems and teaching clients skills to modify dysfunctional thinking and behavior.”
  3. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) says that “Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) focuses on exploring relationships among a person’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. During CBT a therapist will actively work with a person to uncover unhealthy patterns of thought and how they may be causing self-destructive behaviors and beliefs.”
  4. According to the National Health Service (NHS) of England, “CBT is based on the concept that your thoughts, feelings, physical sensations and actions are interconnected, and that negative thoughts and feelings can trap you in a vicious cycle. CBT aims to help you deal with overwhelming problems in a more positive way by breaking them down into smaller parts. You’re shown how to change these negative patterns to improve the way you feel. Unlike some other talking treatments, CBT deals with your current problems, rather than focusing on issues from your past. It looks for practical ways to improve your state of mind on a daily basis.”
  5. Finally, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, CBT is “psychotherapy that combines cognitive therapy with behavior therapy by identifying faulty or maladaptive patterns of thinking, emotional response, or behavior and substituting them with desirable patterns of thinking, emotional response, or behavior.”

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How is CBT effective for the alienated parent as well as the alienator?

The answer is CBT has been extensively used for treating depression; anxiety disorders such as panic disorder and agoraphobia, social phobia, post-traumatic stress, obsessivecompulsive disorder; eating disorders; addictive disorders; certain chronic illnesses; personality disorders; and some forms of psychoses. Many alienated parents experience one or more types of psychological distress such as grief, helplessness, hopelessness, depression, acute or chronic stress, anxiety, fear, worry, panic, low tolerance for frustrating and difficult situations, anger, post-traumatic stress, and addiction among other types. Emotion and behaviour are greatly influenced by cognition. CBT acts directly on the symptoms that create distress. Not only is there widespread recognition that distorted or maladaptive cognitions play a prominent role in the cause of psychological distress, but there is also widespread recognition that distorted or maladaptive cognitions play a prominent role in the perpetuation of psychological distress. The overwhelming body of literature reviews on the effectiveness of CBT as a therapeutic approach for treating various types of psychological distress, including relationship difficulties, lends support for treating not only alienating parents but alienated parents and children, too

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Child Focused CBT

The mental health professional responsible to implement a court-mandated, child-centered
reunification intervention may review a sheaf of documents, interview each parent and the child, and
still fail to understand why the child has allied with Parent A and rejected Parent B. In the typical case,
Parent A alleges that Parent B has been abusive or neglectful, absent or inappropriate and is, therefore,
deserving of the child’s rejection. Parent B, of course, minimizes or denies these allegations and
argues with equal conviction that Parent A has undermined the parent–child relationship
(Albertson-Kelly & Burkhard, 2013; Drozd & Olesen, 2004; Meier, 2010). Both may be credible and
both may be true. Police reports, child protective service investigations, psychological test reports, and
various mental health professionals will all weigh in on the matter, often without consensus or
conclusion. Thus, “[t]he child’s vehement expressed negative emotions and rejection [of Parent B]
may be as consistent with child alienation as well as a child who has been neglected and abused or
exposed to domestic violence” (Sullivan, Ward, & Deutsch, 2010, p. 117).
For better or worse, the reunification therapist is seldom charged with determining the causes of the
parent–child schism and may never know the truth of the matter. Instead, “this therapist aims to take
a neutral and even-handed position of deliberately not taking sides” (DeJong & Davies, 2012, p. 188)
so as to give the child the opportunity to enjoy a healthy relationship with both parents. This first
requires that the therapist establish a trusting rapport with the child. Weitzman (2013) captures this
idea concisely:


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Corrective Emotional Experience

Past hurts can influence your behaviors and relationships. Exploring your past can help how you react and behave in the future.

Some people don’t believe that rehashing past hurts help. You can’t change them, right?

How could reliving how your parents might have hurt you or how that ex might have treated you benefit you today? All it does is bring up painful memories. 

But the way you react or choose to do certain things might be connected to your past

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The CBTs in Later Life

Cognitive behavioral therapies (CBTs) and interventions have strong evidence of being effective for behavioral health conditions in diverse middle-aged and older adults. Not all aging individuals require adaptations of standard CBTs, yet some features of later life merit special attention. Culturally responsive CBTs include affirmation of personal strengths, along with consideration of modifications to improve clinical outcomes in later life. Stepped care approaches that utilize task shifting, along with innovative models of service delivery by video, telephone and the internet, can provide flexible methods to expand reach and enhance quality of life for aging populations across the globe.


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Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT)

  1. Master’s degree or above in a mental health discipline;
  2. Permanent professional license in home state, including having passed the state licensing exam in your mental health discipline;
  3. Completion of TF-CBTWeb;
  4. Participation in a live TF-CBT training (two days) conducted by a treatment developer or an approved national trainer (graduate of our TF-CBT Train-the-Trainer Program); or
    Live training in the context of an approved national, regional, or state TF-CBT Learning Collaborative of at least six months duration in which one of the treatment developers or a graduate of our TF-CBT Train-the-Trainer (TTT) Program has been a lead faculty member;
  5. Participation in follow-up consultation or supervision on a twice a month basis for at least six months or a once a month basis for at least twelve months. The candidate must participate in at least nine out of the twelve consultation or supervisory sessions. This consultation must be provided by one of the treatment developers or a graduate from our TTT program. Supervision may be provided by one of the treatment developers, a graduate of our TTT program, or a graduate of our TF-CBT Train-the-Supervisor (TTS) Program (In the latter instance, the supervisor must be employed at the same organization as the certification candidate);
    Active participation in at least nine of the required cluster/consultation calls in the context of an approved TF-CBT Learning Collaborative;
  6. Completion of three separate TF-CBT treatment cases with three children or adolescents with at least two of the cases including the active participation of caretakers or another designated third party (e.g., direct care staff member in a residential treatment facility)
  7. Use of at least one standardized instrument to assess TF-CBT treatment progress with each of the above cases;
  8. Taking and passing TF-CBT Therapist Certification Program Knowledge-Based Test.

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What to Look for in a Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapist

Look for a licensed mental health professional with specialized training and experience in cognitive behavioral therapy and family therapy as well as further training and supervised experience in trauma-focused therapy. In addition to these credentials, it is important to find a therapist with whom you and your child feel comfortable working.

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Cognitive Restructuring