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In all these cases, social workers may formulate a hypothesis that one parent has engineered the child’s rejection of the other parent.
However, unless the social worker is familiar with parental alienation and parental alienation syndrome, he or she is missing a useful conceptual framework for understanding how one parent is able to poison a child’s relationship with the other parent in the absence of just cause.
Intact families, as well as recently separated and long-divorced couples, will have occasion for disagreement and conflict.
In all cases, the alienated child will side with the alienating parent, regardless of how absurd or baseless that parent’s position may be.
Not only is the targeted parent denigrated, despised, and avoided but so are his or her extended family.
For example, clients may enter individual therapy presenting with anxiety, depression, or relationship problems and later reveal that they have been cut off from one parent by another parent.
Such parents will be desperate for advice and guidance about how to cope with the chronic provocation of the other parent.