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Adult Children of Parental Alienation Syndrome: Breaking the Ties That Bind
Baker, Amy J.L.
Norton Professional Books / Hardcover / 2007-03-01 / 0393705196
Family Mediation / Infant, Child & Adolescent
reg price: $50.00 our price: $ 45.00 (may be subject to change)
320 pages
Not in stock - ships in one week.

Parental alienation syndrome (PAS) occurs when one parent, often in response to divorce or separation, successfully manipulates a child to turn against the other parent. In its most extreme form, children report that they despise or are frightened of the targeted parent, and refuse to have any relationship with him or her. Researchers are just beginning to study the ramifications of PAS on the child victims. In this groundbreaking book, Baker describes the long-term impact of PAS, which may include depression, divorce, substance abuse, trust issues, and alienation from a victim's own children well into adulthood.

Based on a series of confidential research interviews with individuals who believe that they were child victims of PAS, the book provides an adult's perspective and voice to the experience of being manipulated as a child by one parent to turn against the other. Explaining the process and the meaning of the alienation for them, the interview subjects take the reader inside the world of PAS and demonstrate its life-long impact.

In the first part of the book, Baker identifies and describes three patterns of parental alienation syndrome, debunking the myth that it is only perpetrated by mothers against fathers in response to post-divorce custody litigation. Drawing on attachment theory, the author describes the strategies that parents use to effectuate PAS. Baker also highlights parallels between the tactics of cult leaders and the means by which alienating parents drive a wedge between the child and the other parent (such as demands for excessive devotion, and emotional manipulation and persuasion to heighten dependency).

Next, Baker guides the reader through the process of realization that one has been a victim of PAS, as experienced by the adult children of PAS interviewed for the book. This information should help readers (adult children, targeted parents, and clinicians) understand how to recognize PAS and the many pathways to recovery. Brief vignettes about what the targeted parents did and should have done, from the perspective of the adult children, should help parents currently alienated from a child to "hang in there" despite the intense rejection directed towards them.

The final three chapters of the book present clinical implications and suggestions for mental health professionals working with three related populations: (1) adults who were alienated from a parent as a child due to PAS, (2) children currently alienated from a parent due to PAS, and (3) parents who are currently targeted for alienation. Many of the suggestions offered could also be of use to individuals outside the context of formal therapeutic work.

Adult Children of Parental Alienation Syndrome is a much-needed examination of this little-understood syndrome. With practical advice for the therapist and consumer, and illuminating case studies of adult children of PAS, Baker's book is a timely and thought-provoking treatise on parental alienation syndrome.

About the Author:

Amy J. L. Baker has a Ph.D. in developmental psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University. She has over 15 years experience conducting research in parent-child relationships and children's well-being. She is the author of one book and over 45 peer-review publications.

“[W]ill become a classic....it is a milestone in the field.”
—Stop Parental Alienation of Children (SPAC), Jayne A. Major, Ph.D.

"It should be mandatory reading for any custody evaluator or attorney involved in high conflict divorces where parental alienation is present."
—Margarethe S. Smith, M.A.

"Dr. Baker's book is a core text in the clinical and academic fields on parental alienation syndrome (PAS). Her unique presentation offers readers an advanced understanding of the topic. Baker uses case study examples along with concepts and therapeutic techniques that are practical and can be replicated with most PAS families. She has put PAS on the map as a significant form of emotional abuse afflicting adults long after they leave their childhood years behind. This is a book worth reading, assigning to students, and keeping as a reference."
—S. Richard Sauber, Ph.D., coauthor (with Richard Gardner and Demosthenes Lorandos) of International Handbook of Parental Alienation Syndrome and Editor of American Journal of Family Therapy

"This book provides a unique perspective-that of people who experienced first hand what it was like to be turned by one parent against the other when they were children. The ready response Baker received when she put out her call for subjects speaks volumes about the magnitude of the problem. Their graphic accounts give insight into just how powerful the alienating parent was, and show us the long and painful process by which these adult children came to realize how their feelings about the target parent had been manipulated."
—Deirdre C. Rand, Ph.D., author of key articles in the field, including "The Spectrum of Parental Alienation Syndrome" and "Factors Affecting Reconciliation Between the Child and Target Parent" (published in The International Handbook of Parental Alienation Syndrome)

“[W]ill become a classic....it is a milestone in the field.”

—Stop Parental Alienation of Children (SPAC), Jayne A. Major, Ph.D.

"It should be mandatory reading for any custody evaluator or attorney involved in high conflict divorces where parental alienation is present."

—Margarethe S. Smith, M.A.

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Baker, Amy J L
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Infant, Child & Adolescent
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Parental Alienation Syndrome