1st Edition

Understanding and Managing Parental Alienation A Guide to Assessment and Intervention

    372 Pages
    by Routledge

    372 Pages
    by Routledge

    In Understanding and Managing Parental Alienation: A Guide to Assessment and Intervention, Janet Haines, Mandy Matthewson and Marcus Turnbull offer a comprehensive analysis of contemporary understanding of parental alienation. Grounded in recent scientific advances, this is the first book of its kind providing resources on how to identify parental alienation and a guide to evidence-based intervention.

    Parental alienation is a process in which one parent manipulates their child to negatively perceive and reject the other parent. Recognising this phenomenon and knowing when to intervene is often the biggest challenge faced by practitioners and this book provides a guide to this process. Divided into six parts, it examines what parental alienation is and how it is caused, how it affects each family member as a mental health concern and form of violence, and how to assess, identify and intervene successfully from a legal and therapy standpoint. Taking on a gender-neutral approach, the book is filled with contemporary case examples from male and female perspectives, cutting-edge research, practitioner-client dialogues, and practitioners’ reflections to show the difficult realities of parental alienation.

    Practical and accessible, this is an essential resource for mental health professionals working with families experiencing parental alienation, as well as postgraduate students of clinical psychology, counselling, family therapy, social work, and child and family psychology. This book will also be of immense interest to family lawyers and mediators due to its multidisciplinary approach.

    List of tables


    Part One: The nature of parental alienation 

    1. What is parental alienation?  

    2. The great syndrome debate  

    3. Processes underlying parental alienation  

    4. Parental alienation as a mental disorder  

    5. Parental alienation as a form of family violence 

    Part Two: The alienated family  

    6. Alienating parents  

    7. Targeted parents  

    8. Alienated children  

    9. Other family members  

    10. Outside forces 

    Part Three: Assessment of parental alienation  

    11. Assessing alienating parents  

    12. Assessing targeted parents  

    13. Assessing alienated children  

    14. Assessing dysfunctional family interaction patterns 

    Part Four: The alienated family: A legal perspective  

    15. Parental alienation in the courts  

    16. Parental alienation and parenting dispute evaluations 

    Part Five: Intervention with alienated families  

    17. The need for intervention  

    18. Family therapy and beyond  

    19. Individual therapy with each family member 

    Part Six: Identifying parental alienation  

    20. A decision-making process 

    21. Where to from here?



    Janet Haines is a psychologist with over 20 years’ experience in private clinical practice. She has extensive experience in matters involving psychology and family law, including acting as a single expert for the Family Law Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Court.

    Mandy Matthewson is a senior lecturer in psychology at the University of Tasmania (UTAS) and a clinical psychologist in private practice. She is the lead researcher in the Family and Interpersonal Relationships Research Lab at UTAS and Chair of the Parental Alienation Study Group’s Research Committee.

    Marcus Turnbull is a senior partner specialising in family law, including child support and de facto relationship matters. Marcus is a child representative in the child protection jurisdiction and an independent children’s lawyer in the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court of Australia. Currently, Marcus is the Tasmanian representative of the Family Law Section of the Law Council of Australia, the Chair of the Family Law Practitioners’ Association of Tasmania, and member of the executive of the Australian Institute of Family Lawyers and Mediators.

    "Matthewson, Haines and Turnbull have authored a deeply researched and compassionately written work on a pernicious form of family violence - Parental Alienation. Calling on their decades of experience in clinical psychology and family law, these experts give us a comprehensive look at how Parental Alienation begins, develops and resists attempts at intervention. Using the literature of family and clinical psychology, the authors provide a methodology for assessment and intervention. Drawing on their experience in forensic psychology and law, the authors provide immediately practical guidance to help legal professionals craft lasting remedies." - Demosthenes Lorandos, PhD, J.D, Licensed Psychologist and Attorney at Law, PsychLaw, USA