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Archive for November, 2010


Rights For Mothers

In light of Dr. Richard Warshak continuing to censor most comments that oppose him or question him in any way, discussion must continue on the many other websites that have been covering this issue that the Huffington Postcontinues to ignore.  Here is an interesting article to read, especially since I have been reading Warshak is denying any involvement in a “treatment” center.

Speaker’s Corner: Does the Warshak workshop work?

By Jan Weir | Law Times Publication Date: Monday, 19 April 2010

It can be put no better than the oft-reported quote of Dr. Sol Goldstein, who talked about the “scourge” of parental alienation in Canada.

Some commentators call it the “20/80” of the court, referring to the 20 per cent of the cases that take up 80 per cent of the time. There seems to be no effective solution.

Dr. Richard Gardner, a New York psychiatrist, proposed a theory in the early 1980s that some alienation was irrational in that the accepted parent had brainwashed the children to the extent that the cure was to deprogram them of their rejection of the other parent.

Enter Richard Warshak into the Ontario court system. He’s a psychologist from Texas who claims to have developed a four-day workshop at a cost of up to $20,000 to cure the irrational brainwashing type of alienation.

Only a handful of psychologists have training in the techniques. In some cases, the courts will order children into the custody of the rejected parent, who will then have them take the program. Sometimes, the court suspends contact with the accepted parent for a period of time.

One criticism of this theory is that it gives a tremendous amount of power to the health professional in that a misdiagnosis takes away the children’s right to object to certain parental behaviour and subjects them to an intimidating experience. The risk of that scenario increases when one parent is wealthy and the other is unable to retain an expert.

But how successful is the workshop? While it’s been around for 17 years, there hasn’t been an independent study to decide the criteria for evaluating success, monitor the cases, and compile the data.

The courts have developed rules of evidence on expert opinions because judges are intelligent amateurs who don’t want to pass judgment on the validity of scientific theories.  Thus, they are gatekeepers. For the first test of admissibility, they rely on the scientific community to determine whether the theory or technique is generally acceptable. There is no such evidence for the Warshak workshop.

Additionally, because there is a recognition that a novel theory or technique may not have been in existence long enough, the courts have developed four criteria to admit such evidence. The Warshak workshop doesn’t meet the criteria for novelty because it has been around for more than 17 years.

However, even if it were novel, the reliability of the evidence on its validity wouldn’t meet the four-part test. That’s because the first element is that it’s capable of being and in fact has been tested. Here, while the data is available for an independent test, none has taken place according to generally accepted scientific principles.

Warshak has recently published a study he did himself claiming the workshop is highly effective. But this work doesn’t meet generally accepted principles for a valid scientific study.

The guarantee of validity is independent confirmation or repeatability by other scientists. The history of science is replete with examples of very intelligent and respected scientists who have made claims that, after review by other experts, have proven unreliable.

There is enough data for short- and long-term evaluation of the Warshak workshop. One of the concerns is whether, even if the data confirms the claims, the workshop works for the right reasons.

The procedure may be so intimidating that it may frighten the children into submission. Some of them are now old enough to give feedback on such concerns.

I know of the results of just two orders from Ontario judges sending children to the Warshak workshop. One is J.K.L. v. N.C.S. The other is a case widely reported in the media in which an older brother sought to intervene to get custody of his brothers after an associate of Warshak sent them to a hospital psychiatric department alleging they had mental health issues.

The report in The Globe and Mail on the case noted that the psychiatrist at the hospital said there was nothing wrong with the boys.

Judges appear to be ignoring the Mohan general acceptance test out of desperation for a solution to this seemingly unsolvable problem. But will this prove justified?

Given that judges are making these orders and there is now local data, a study could keep track of these cases. It’s an important issue for which a research grant would likely be available.

Warshak may also reach into his altruism to make his techniques known to the health profession at large. Although it would entail a significant financial sacrifice, doing so would bring the benefit of these methods to people of more modest means and permit evaluation of them according to the usual cautionary measures of science.

The idea isn’t to deny that the workshop is effective. Warshak’s claims may in fact be correct. What’s missing is the proper scientific basis to support them and hence their admissibility in court.

There is no doubt in my mind that Warshak believes in his theory and techniques. However, as Ontario’s recent experience has shown, belief in a beneficial theory can be harmful. The only safe control on such good intentions is an independent review by the scientific community.

Jan Weir is a Toronto lawyer who was involved in S.G.B. v. S.J.L., a case in which a judge overturned an arbitrator’s award ordering participation in Warshak’s program. That matter is to go back to court for a new trial.

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Ms.Magazine—The Huffington Post Censors Mothers’ Rights Activists

Please go to the site and leave your comment while freedom of speech is still free —http://msmagazine.com/blog/blog/2010/11/11/huffington-post-censors-criticism-of-feminist-commenters/#idc-cover

November 11, 2010 by Elizabeth Black · This week, Arianna Huffington announced the Huffington Post’s latest section: HuffPost Divorce. Her plug: “Breaking up is hard to do… but reading about it isn’t.” Upon Monday’s launch, however, there appeared a column that women’s rights advocates took very hard: a piece by Dr. Richard Warshak promoting the discredited “Parental Alienation Syndrome,” or PAS.

Parental alienation is a dangerous custody-battle concept that has been used primarily against mothers–and in particular, mothers trying to protect themselves and their children from hostile or abusive ex-partners and fathers. As R. Dianne Bartlow explained in her Summer 2010 Ms.article, “There’s Nothing Friendly About Abuse”:

PAS theorizes that most accusations of child abuse (especially sexual abuse) made during a custody battle are actually fraudulent. Not only are the charges false, says the theory, but they are deliberately undertaken by one parent (in most cases, the mother) to “alienate” the child from the other parent (generally, the father).

Frighteningly, PAS has allowed abusive or otherwise hostile fathers to gain custody of their children and then forbid the children contact with their mothers.

Yet parental alienation is not accepted as a valid theory by the American Psychological Association, and was rejected from the DSM-V. Without a real psychological definition, it has devolved over the years into a label for any negative testimony about the father by the mother (even if it’s true). It’s also now promoted as gender-neutral, but the parent most often labeled the “alienator” remains the mother. It’s also one hell of a cash cow for psychologists who make a living from it.

In keeping with all this, Warshak’s post, “Stop Divorce Poison”, gives an overly simplified description of “alienation” that could describe nearly any hostile or cantankerous relationship: “persistent bad-mouthing, lies, exaggerations, overlooking positives, and drum-beating negatives.”

A half dozen domestic violence and motherhood activists, including myself, descended upon Warshak’s column to leave comments describing how discredited PAS really is. But, as I witnessed and others report, by the evening of November 9, most of the comments (nearly a dozen) posted by critics had been deleted in the space of five minutes. According to those I’ve spoken with, deleted comments contained valid source material from professional organizations citing:

  • how discredited parental alienation really is
  • how parental alienation did not make it into the DSM-V
  • how it is used primarily as a weapon by abusive fathers against protective mothers

Here is an example of a comment that was removed:

Another activist and I wrote to David Flumenbaum and Arianna Huffington to inform them about the censorship of opposing, critical views. Both of us received an email in return from Social News Editor Adam Clark Estes, who wrote:

I’ve double-checked the comments and all of those missing were removed in accordance with HuffPost’s commenting guidelines. You can read more about those here:


That said, we’re in touch with Dr. Warshak about his comments and will do our best to keep the conversation flowing in the future.

When considering the above screenshots (pure facts devoid of non-objective commentary) it’s unclear which part of these guidelines apply:

(I) The Huffington Post welcomes all users to join our community and to comment and treats all members of the community equally.

(II) We want the Huffington Post to be home to open, transparent conversations in which people connect, discuss, share ideas, and debate the issues.

(III) We are also committed to maintaining a non-toxic atmosphere.

(IV) In order to preserve a functional and civil conversation, we do not allow trolls, trollish behavior, or stalking.

(V) Members of the HuffPost community deserve to be free from spam, and we do not allow posting the same comment multiple times within one thread or on multiple threads.

It’s frustrating that the supposedly progressive HuffPost has given a platform to Dr. Richard Warshak, one of parental alienation’s most fervent supporters, but won’t give the same platform to its commenters.

On November 10, activists returned to the article to comment; it remains to be seen if their comments will be deleted–or whether they’ll fall victim to HuffPost-moderation’s thin skin. If a blog can delete comments opposing their viewpoint, then what’s the point of comments? You might as well change the name to “compliments.”

Censored Venus Photo via Wikimedia Commons user Durova under Creative Commons 3.0.

Please go to the site and leave your comment while freedom of speech is still free —http://msmagazine.com/blog/blog/2010/11/11/huffington-post-censors-criticism-of-feminist-commenters/#idc-cover

Comments by DV advocates on Dr. Richard Warshak and PAS have been censored by Huffington Post – Are they trying to silence the DV community? (via Media Misses)

Comments by DV advocates on Dr. Richard Warshak and PAS have been censored by Huffington Post – Are they trying to silence the DV community? (via Media Misses)

In domestic law on November 12, 2010 at 2:07 pm

Maybe this should come as no surprise. From what I’m learning, Huffington Post doesn’t care much about scientific facts or freedom of speech. Check this out on Digg. Richard Warshak now has a post up on divorce and parental alienation syndrome (PAS). A bunch of domestic violence advocates and domestic violence survivors have tried to post opposing viewpoints – to no avail. At least 5 of us have had our posts deleted. Many of these posts provided … Read More

via Media Misses

American Mothers Political Party Radio Show Today @ 5 PM CST 6 PM EST Call in Number:(347) 205-9977

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AMPP is a social movement seeking justice and accountability within the family court system which includes DHHS/CPS, psychologists and other so called experts.


We as mothers demand CITIZENSHIP and our Rights to our Children.

We demand that our children not be used as pawns by our abuser in a custody dispute.

We demand that Mothers and Children be equally protected against court ordered visitation with an abuser.

We demand that Mothers and Children be given the same rights, privileges and voice that the abuser gets in family courts!

We demand that our President take action now as can no longer afford to be silent and we won’t.

We demand the same "rights and freedoms" to which all humans are entitled.


Behind the closed doors of the dirty little secret of the family court system, thousands of women each year lose child custody to violent men who beat and abuse Mothers and Children. Family courts are not family-friendly and betray the best interests of the child.

Until Mothers and Children’s voices are heard we will never shut up, give up or go away!


Posted by Nancy Carroll





Rikki Dombrowski, as shown on Guardian ad Litem M. Jill Dyke’s Facebook page.


Rikki is often on my mind.  Granted, not as much as on her mother, Claudine Dombrowski’s, mind.  I was also a child victim of family courts, just as Rikki is.  Just as my children are now, although I don’t write about them at all (too traumatic).

Rikki was taken to talk to the judge (alone, no witnesses), Judge David Debenham, a couple of weeks ago, while her mother Claudine was in the midst of another judicial smackdown.  Although she had been given the right to see her daughter after years of no or limited (supervised) contact in the January 2010 hearing that I attended as a court watcher, daddy Hal Richardson did everything in his power to not allow the visits to take place.  He had 83 violations of the court order up to a point this fall…read about the case here.

Witnesses have told me that when daddy Hal Richardson brought Rikki to be interviewed by the judge, he was acting very sternly towards her, and she was crying just before going in. Knowing that the last time Rikki was “allowed” to call her mother this past spring to cancel her two hour Sunday visitation, daddy Hall Richardson was yelling at Rikki in the background and Rikki was uncontrollably crying while she was telling Claudine she couldn’t see her that day.  That was the last phone call to take place.

My point is Rikki is one of many children in a situation like this, threatened to follow the abuser’s script or face the consequences.  In Rikki’s case, there is a child’s coffin in Hal Richardson’s living room ready for use.  If the corrupt court officials in this case actually did their jobs, Richardson would be in prison and Rikki would be with her mother.  There is a movement now to disbar Rene NethertonM. Jill Dykes lunged at Claudine in the courthouse hallway, and had her husband call to threaten her…actions will be filed on this also.   Snorting Topeka attorney Jason P. Hoffman continues to lie in court about anything to help his abusive client Hal Richardson, including claiming Claudine Dombrowski is me when he knows she is not.   No, Rikki Dombrowski is a cash cow to them.

Children like this are often a big source of income to people like this.  Snorting Jason L. Hoffman used the term “parental alienation” so much during the January 2010 hearing, I lost count.  This term, and syndromes/disorders associated with it, were invented by people (like Dr. William Bernet) who make lots of money from it, using it to sell books and sell their “testimony.”  It is well known by judge’s associations as a tool for abusers to get custody of children.  It certainly worked in this case…imbecile Judge Debenham fell for it (or maybe was paid off).

When I think of Rikki getting threatened in the courthouse hallway and her crying, I get really mad.  This is what our children are going through.  When will it stop?  The White House addressed family court cases during it’s press conference somewhat due to this case (after all they have beenreading about it here), but when is something actually going to be done?