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VISTAS Counseling Families and Adults

VISTAS Online is an innovative publication produced for ACA by Dr. Garry R. Walz and Dr. Jeanne C. Bleuer of Counseling Outfitters, LLC. Its purpose is to provide a means of capturing the ideas, information and experiences generated by the annual ACA Conference and selected ACA Division Conferences. Papers on a program or practice that has been validated through research or experience may also be submitted. This digital collection of peer-reviewed articles is authored by counselors, for counselors. VISTAS Online contains the full text of over 900 proprietary counseling articles published from 2004 to 2017.

The Tug of War Child Counseling Children Involved

Ruth O. Moore, Ann Ordway, and Joshua Francis


An increasing number of children are involved in counseling due to high-conflict divorce and custody disputes (Baker & Andre, 2008; Ellis & Boyan, 2010). Parental alienation occurs when a parent repeatedly and intentionally denigrates the other parent to the child to impair the child’s relationship with the opposed parent (Ben-Ami & Baker, 2012). Counselors who are not familiar with the dynamics among high-conflict divorce cases can ultimately do harm to the clients involved, as well as be at risk for legal and ethical ramifications. Thus, counselors must be able to identify parental alienation among children and provide effective treatment to prevent further alienation with the opposed parent. This article will describe the complex emotional symptoms often experienced by alienated children, as well as treatment implications. Particular emphasis will be given to multidisciplinary collaboration and relevant legal and ethical guidelines.

Keywords: divorce, parental alienation, multidisciplinary collaboration

PDF, 334.08 KB

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