On Tuesday, September 15, 2020, we will discuss parental alienation in terms DMM attachment theory. Alienation is one of the most difficult family issues. Courts, evaluators, and therapists struggle with identifying and managing it. “Experts” define it in various ways. Does the DMM model of attachment theory provide a functional definition of at least some alienation cases, and offer insight into solutions?
The DMM defines the sensitive attachment relationship between a child and parent as involving the child’s need for protection from danger and receipt of comfort, a parent who can provide protection and comfort, and the neurobiological effects the how the parent-child relations plays out.
A description of DMM attachment theory and it’s application for lawyers is available here.
DMM-attachment relevant questions about alienation
Is it the situation that many cases of alienation involve one parent causing the child to feel the other parent cannot protect them or provide comfort, or even makes the other parent seem unsafe to the child?
Are there typical DMM attachment patterns associated with the parents and children?
What techniques can be used to prevent parental fear and attachment-harming behaviors from blooming into full blown alienation?
Once alienation has taken root, what can be done? What techniques can work? When is a parentectomy worth considering?
Is it the case that lawyers are in a good position to see alienation risks early? How frequently does alienation begin around the same time divorce or custody litigation begins? How frequently does it begin before litigation, and how far before? Is it possible to train lawyers how to recognize the beginning signs and related attachment patterns?
Parental alienation was the focus of the April 2020 edition of Family Court Review, the journal of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC). That issue included over 30 articles which included defining the problem, and an exploration of whether lawyer’s can take a proactive role to improve outcomes. A few articles in the issue took a stab at solutions. One article, Trauma informed interventions in parent-child contact cases offered a nice overview. It wasn’t in terms of attachment theory, but it touched on many of the core concepts in DMM attachment theory.
The April 2020 FCR edition table of contents is available here, and is free to access for AFCC members: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/toc/17441617/2020/58/2
Please join us to share your thoughts, experiences and concerns.
Date: Tuesday, September 15, 2020 (live, not recorded)
(PLEASE NOTE: this session will not be held on Thursday September 17. We can host this session on Thursday in a different week. Thursday, September 17, will be DMM CH Session #24, using the DMM to talk to parents in therapy)
Length: 60 minutes
Host/Facilitator: group discussion facilitated by Mark Baumann, J.D.
Platform: Zoom meeting
Sponsor: Conflict Science Institute
Session time: Times listed below, PLEASE NOTE, some computer calendars do not automatically handle the time zone conversion correctly.
Tuesday Session (live, not recorded) Tuesday, September 15, 2020, 9:00 a.m. Seattle (UTC -7) (12 noon Miami, and 5:00 p.m. London time, 6:00 p.m. Stockholm/E.U. time.)