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20 November, 2020

Dynamics, Not Diagnoses:
Assessing and responding to the best interests of the
polarized child


(c) Benjamin D. Garber, Ph.D.

This presentation will be conducted entirely via video conference.
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These materials are provided for educational purposes only.
Please do not distribute or allow persons not enrolled in the seminar to access this page.

This presentation is drawn from Dr. Garber's Family Court Review 2020 paper:

Garber, B.D. (2020). Sherlock Holmes and the case of resist/refuse dynamics:
Confirmatory bias and abductive inference in family law. Family Court Review, 58 (2)

Read more here



Resources and citations  in order of appearance
(use CNTRL + F to search this page for keywords)


Pickar, D. B. (2007). On being a child custody evaluator: Professional and personal challenges, risks, and rewards. Family Court Review, 45(1), 103-115.

Gould , J. W. Martindale , D. A. (2007). The art and science of child custody evaluations. New York: Wiley

Kassin, S. M., Dror, I. E., & Kukucka, J. (2013). The forensic confirmation bias:
Problems, perspectives, and proposed solutions. Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, 2(1), 42-52

Wittman, J. (March, 2017). Bias in custody evaluations.
The Matrimonial Strategist. Accessed 12.27.2018

Drozd, L. M., & Olesen, N. W. (2004). Is It Abuse, Alienation, and/or Estrangement? A Decision Tree. Journal of Child Custody: Research, Issues, and Practices, 1(3), 65-106.

Miller, S. G. (2013). Clinical reasoning and decision-making in cases of child alignment: Diagnostic and therapeutic issues. In A. J. L. Baker & S. R. Sauber (Eds.), Working with alienated children and families: A clinical guidebook (pp. 8-46). New York, NY, US: Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group

The State v. Michaels (642 A.2d 1372, N.J. 1994)

Klein J. G. (2005). Five pitfalls in decisions about diagnosis and prescribing. British Medical Journal (Clinical research ed.), 330(7494), 781-3.

Gottlieb, L. J. (2019). Reunification Therapy for Severe Parental Alienation or for an Unreasonably Disrupted Parent-Child Relationship. Online program description access 20 February, 2020, at http://endparentalalienation.weebly.com/uploads/3/1/0/9/31091731/12-22-2019_tpff_treatment_protocol_x_4_6_18_ent_protocol_for_severe_alieantion_rejection.pdf.

Kelly , J. B. and Johnston , J. R. (2001). The alienated child: A reformulation of Parental Alienation Syndrome. Family Court Review, 39(3), p. 250


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Ludolph, P. S., & Bow, J. N. (2012). Complex alienation dynamics and very young children. Journal of Child Custody: Research, Issues, and Practices, 9(3), p. 173

Walters, M.G. and Friedlander, S. (2016), When a Child Rejects a Parent: Working With the Intractable Resist/Refuse Dynamic. Family Court Review, 54: 424-445

Johnston, J. R., Walters, M. G., & Olesen, N. W. (2005). Is it alienating parenting, role reversal, or child abuse? A study of children's rejection of a parent in child custody disputes.  Journal of Emotional Abuse, 5(4), p. 191.

Kelly, J., & Johnston, J. (2001). The alienated child:
A reformulation of parental alienation syndrome. Family Court Review, 39)

Garber, Benjamin D. (2014). The chameleon child: Children as actors in the high conflict divorce drama. Journal of Child Custody, 11, 1-16.

Smart, C. (2002). From children’s shoes to children’s voices. Family Court Review, 40, 297-306
Drozd, L. M., & Olesen, N. W. (2004). Is It Abuse, Alienation, and/or Estrangement? A Decision Tree. Journal of Child Custody: Research, Issues, and Practices, 1(3), 65-106.

Jordana v. Corley, 220 N.W.2d 515, North Dakota, 1974
Polak, S., & Saini, M. (2015). Children resisting contact with a parent postseparation: Assessing this phenomenon using an ecological systems framework. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 56(3), p. 237

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                of page FLC home

Valleau, P. M., Raymond, M. B., & Horton, C. B. (1995). Parentification and caretaker syndrome:  An empirical investigation. Family Therapy, 22, 157–164

Jacobvitz, D., Riggs, S., & Johnson, E. (1999). Cross-sex and same-sex family alliances: Immediate and long-term effects on sons and daughters. In N. D. Chase (Ed.), Burdened children: Theory, research, and treatment of parentification  (pp. 34–55). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Peris, T. S., & Emery, R. E. (2005). Redefining the parent-child relationship following divorce: Examining the risk for boundary dissolution. Journal of Emotional Abuse, 5(4), 169-189.

Peris, T.S.; Goeke-Morey, M.C.; Cummings, E.M. & Emery, R.E. (2008). Marital conflict and support seeking by parents in adolescence: Empirical support for the parentification construct. Journal of Family Psychology, 22(4), 633-642.

Wells, M., Glickauf-Hughes, C., & Jones, R. 1999. Codependency: A grass roots construct's relationship to shame-proneness, low self-esteem, and childhood parentification. American Journal of Family Therapy, 27: 63-71.

Boyd-Franklin, N. (1989). Black families in therapy: A multisystems approach. New York: Guilford Press

Oznobishin, Olga and Kurman, Jenny (2009). Parent–child role reversal and psychological adjustment among immigrant youth in Israel. Journal of Family Psychology, 23(3), 405-415.

McMahon, T. J., & Luthar, S. S. (2007). Defining characteristics and potential consequences of caretaking burden among children living in poverty. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 77, 267-281.

Grollman, E.A. & Sweder, G. (1986). The working parent dilemma. Boston: Beacon.

Duryea, M. M. (2007). Mothers with chronic physical illness and the parentification of their children. Retrieved 12.21.2009 from https://repository.unm.edu/dspace/bitstream/1928/3608/1/Duryea_Dissertation.pdf

Tompkins, T. L. (2007). Parentification and maternal HIV infection: Beneficial role or pathological burden? Journal of Child and Family Studies, 16, 113-125.

Wells, M., Glickauf-Hughes, C., & Jones, R. 1999. Codependency: A grass roots construct's relationship to shame-proneness, low self-esteem, and childhood parentification. American Journal of Family Therapy, 27: 63-71.

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                of page FLC home

Fitzgerald, Monica M.; Schneider, Renee A.; Salstrom, Seoka; Zinzow, Heidi M.; Jackson, Joan & Fossel, Rebecca V. (2008). Child sexual abuse, early family risk, and childhood parentification: Pathways to current psychosocial adjustment. Journal of Family Psychology, 22(2), 320-324.

Boyd-Franklin, N. (1989). Black families in therapy: A multisystems approach. New York: Guilford Press, p. 623.

Jurkovic, G. (1997). Lost childhood: The plight of the parentified child. New York: Brunner/Mazel, p. xiv

Walters, M.G. and Friedlander, S. (2016), When a Child Rejects a Parent: Working With the Intractable Resist/Refuse Dynamic. Family Court Review, 54: 424-445.

Garber, B. (1996, March). Alternatives to parental alienation: Acknowledging the broader scope of children's emotional difficulties during parental separation and divorce. New Hampshire Bar Journal, 51-54.

Garber, B.D. and Prescott, D. (2020). On the Value of Teddy Bears and Barbie Dolls: The Place of Children’s Transitional Objects in Family Law. Southwestern Law Review.

Garber, B.D. (2019) For the Love of Fluffy: Respecting, Protecting, and Empowering Transitional Objects in the Context of High-Conflict Divorce, Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 60:7, 552-565.

Garber, B.D. (2020). Sherlock Holmes and the case of resist/refuse dynamics: Confirmatory bias and abductive inference in family law. Family Court Review, 58 (2)

Saunders, D. G., Faller, K. C., & Tolman, R. M. (2016). Beliefs and recommendations regarding child custody and visitation in cases involving domestic violence: A comparison of professionals in different roles. Violence Against Women, 22(6), 722-744.

Garber, Benjamin D. (2015).  Cognitive-behavioral methods in high conflict divorce: Systematic desensitization adapted to parent-child reunification interventions. Family Court Review, 53(1), 96-112.

W.C. v. C.E., 2010 ONSC 3575

Garber, Benjamin D. (forthcoming Spring, 2020). Mending Fences: A collaborative, cognitive-behavioral “reunification” protocol serving the best interests of the post-divorce, polarized child. UnhookedMedia.

Coming soon!

Applying empirically-valid, established and clinically-proven
cognitive behavioral methods to "reunification" therapies.




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