« Reveal

Bitter Custody

2019-03-09 | 🔗

A controversial theory about child abuse is swaying family court judges to award custody to parents accused of harming kids. We trace the origins of “parental alienation.”

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Hey. It is your favorite host in all of pod custom. Now for the rest of the year, I'm gonna be asking you to join us by becoming a member of reveal reveal is all about going deep, pulling on threads telling stories that matter for more than three years now reveal has been fighting a lawsuit. That's been jeopardizing our very existence of restore, we about an organization called planet aid. Our story raises serious questions about whether international aid was actually reaching the people. It was intended to help and what's more, our story was truthful and we stand by it. We believe it is our duty to fight attacks like this, but fighting a lawsuit comes at a huge costs, are legal fees alone totalled more than seven million dollars? Luckily, we have pro bono legal support to help our in house counsel, but it still takes significant resources, resources that should be used to do more public service journalists. This kind of investigative
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when she learned your parents were splitting up. She, the surprise and there like. How did you now? Why don't I just cite fatter? Dealing at a guy news coming and I wasn't upset things at home had been rocky for a long time and Anna Father divorce might be her ticket out of a bad situation. As like honest exercising, I think this is better for always having realised turn into what, indeed, by I thought valid. Yet we'll just better for everyone is. Twenty now appears first separate She and her brother Alex lived, have with your mom and have time with your dad small, the losers in town, temporary arrangement, while the parents fought for custody and family court us go on. Record. We are recording. And we are recording in the matter of doktor, relaxing Anna Lindh dog dry and ask you docket number of em twenty those doctors, the judgment
and his parents, Adrian Maria, both born Romania. Their case big. An ordeal they dragged on for the next five years. The kids told us David ice him. They had a close relationship with their dad I lived there mom because she was abusive. They said she didn't. He them regularly. She screamed alive ass. She destroyed their stuff She was mad and they talk about the night. They say she choked Anna for texting embed. My mom is not saying not stable, not loving letter abusive and his mom denied abusing our kids, and she said their father had turned the children against her. She declined to us on the record for the show, but she read a statement to the court a hundred and eighty degrees turned in my relationship with our children is a result.
The manner in which defendant has betrayed me in the eyes of our innocent children defended these teaching our children to hate me. It appeared to judge Iceman that the dead was under pending the mom, but he also saw enough blame to go around. You said the moms parenting star was harsh and that the kids were trying to get along with her. So he sent everyone a family fair, be retreat and gave assignments for the kids in their mom to cook and begged together. Ok, Did you and your mom bake the chocolate chip, cookies and brownies I'm gonna come down and take some the kid say they were through all the motions with their mom, but still insisted to the judge that at home she was not the nice person. She seemed like in court which all them in our
Let it be said she wouldn't feel safe and we like told them all these things and on the surface is he was ok. I hear you like, you are taking notes. Whatever is Judge Iceman struggled with what to do. He appointed a psychologist called a custody evaluated to help figure it out I'm gonna, ask doktor more inclined to resume this hand. The psychologist a boar incline interview. Both parents and the kids then testified in court he is answering a question from the lawyer representing the kids. Will you Tiffany that Alex and Anna completely believe that this point that Dr Alexianu tried to strangle Adam. Yes, I do whether there
She tried to strangle the grand inquisitor open, so Doktor Warren Glide acknowledges the kids are afraid of their mom. But then he throws a curveball by raising doubts over whether the abuse really happened in saying the kids dad encouraged them to think the worst about their mom, I'm speaking about phenomenon of parental alienation and I believe that nobody denies the fact that parental alienation does exist. It has always existed since the beginning of custody disputes parental alienation. It's a controversial fear it typically points to one parent using psychological manipulation to turn their kid against the other parent. When anniversaries, she felt her accusations. Again.
Against your dad. I don't know the exact time I heard the word, but when I heard only just google it I don't know what it is, and I think that up- and I was like here- you ve gotta- be kidding me like. I think they think that our dad alienate ass for my mom, the ideal, It has for my mom. The idea of parental alienation was starting to make sense to judge icy meant. He ordered the kids to be nicer to their mark. His Anna's brother, Alex at fourteen years old, telling the judge that he was really trying to get along with his mother, which I trust we try? I don't believe you I didn't you. I don't they. Let me really have tried on board at all. Well, that's what I think on today. Show reveals tray, Bundy looks it why judges sometimes force kids devolution ships with parents, they say abused, he'll, take us inside family courts to learn how to read
Take us inside family courts to learn how parental alienation became such a powerful factor in child custody, bouts any invest. Like any headway here yet, and his case is what the family court system calls a high conflict custody dispute. We looked at a bunch of them for the story in their mess. We looked at a bunch of them for the story in their master report on because emotions are high, the stakes are high. You have opposing sides, sing awful things about each other and you're, just trying to figure out who is telling the truth and whose lying add to that. The parade of psychologists, testifying new case after case were all that noise just drowns out the testimony of the kids like an image, I am the figure out whether Anna and Alex had been alienated from their mom. How did he do that will judge Iceland in wooden speeches for the show, so we look through transcripts of the trial, see what he did he heard from both parents and several psychologists, but he also talked with the kids a bunch of times he usually told them to be met.
Kids a bunch of times. He usually told them to be nicer to their mom and he would chastise them when they push back ass. I am not happy with your conduct. I think you know why You have not done what I asked you to do. You have not done. We discuss this I asked you relationship I have reports indicate that you have not been nice I at one. I don't think so. At one point the judge got frustrated and took an extreme step with Alex so. I'm gonna do something that your mother doesn't know. I'm going to do it is known. Go on all your mother and you know you are going to our attention.
Actually, I juvenile shopper you, leave here So I will tell you I can send you and you can cry. I can send you anywhere in this country and make you live anywhere. No father, no mother, no contact and you haven't done what I want you to do and you are now. I'm gonna have to rethink where you're going Alex spent that night in a juvenile shelter, but even that didn't scare him or is stir in wanting to live with their mom. A few months later, the psychologist, Doktor Warren Klein, suggested another strategy, a program called family bridges in California, they claims to fix parental alienation. He told you Jason been about it over the phone in court and it would deal with basically
when he the term very loosely deprogramming, some of the feeling that the children have about their mother. I wanted to ask Doktor Warren Klein about his recommendation, but he said he couldn't discuss the case publicly. Family bridges is one of a handful of programme. Around the country they claim to reunify families, they say are broken up by Purnell alienation. One of the programme psychologists was Richard WAR, Shack, Doktor WAR Shack. Would you approach and take the witness stand plates doctor, or Shack is a Dallas psychologist, and one of the leading voices on colonel alienation theories has written books on it. I'm one of the team leaders who conducts the family bridges workshop. Family bridges has a policy. It says they won't work with a family unless the judge gives custody to the parent. The kids want to get away from
It also has to order no contact for ninety days with apparent they want to be with Anna analysis. Therapists said that kind of arrangement could send the kids into a clinical depression judge ICE Admin, ass, Doktor Warren about that. We found that those risks in general or the research are over estimated that the children will suffer the bread. The spear and what is underestimated is the gratification. The children experience at the able to finally move beyond opposition in one of their parents. Could you tell me the cost of other programmes for this family? The pro Is twenty thousand dollars for the first segment of the programme, which we generally include? the children going through a workshop with the on favoured a rejected for day workshop,
So that's five thousand dollars a day, plus travel food and lodging judge. Eisen men tell the parents that if he decided to send the kids the family bridges, they would have to figure out how to pay for it. He suggested they sell off only property and told the dad to reach induce retirement account. After a two year, court battle Judge Eisen and gathered the family to tell them which parents would get custody and whether they were going to family bridges, and we like knew that this date is coming like we knew that power when he was gonna, make the decision. Finally, to judge brought an analogy induce chambers to tell them first. It was two days after Christmas. He told him he didn't want to ruin their holiday, but I have the You are going to go to California till a programme for five. With your mom. Then he said exactly what they didn't want to hear. When you get back from California,
You are going to live with your mom for a period of time. And during that period of time You will not be able to talk to foresee Bob I was born. At least ninety days. Now now we ve done why is it so? This is what I have decided to do, give you some tissues and says what happened. Next, really scared her dear to me. Your phones. Do me everything you have that enables you to communicate. Anna and Alex were stunned. We state with apparent we dont want stay, we were cut off, completely on the urgent that we don't really have not that's not help at all.
Actually, when you get to be psychologist and you have gone and done all the studying and all the research- and you want to come back and tell me that it's not healthy, you can do that. The judge told them they would suffer severe consequences later in life. If they didn't go to the and with their mom, whether we have now tonight. Eleven tonight you even tonight, you're gonna go for you tonight and that these two police officers, just like, opened the door and the job it was I go with them. The officers took an analogous to a waiting room and the judge walked back into the court to tell the parents he was giving custody to the mom. I'm sorry, satisfied that the two children Alex and Anna are alienated, as defined by aid were inclined. Who was the court appoint its expert when the hearing ended in an hour
His mother pick them up in the waiting room and took them to the airport they weren't allowed. Leipzig invited her dad, who was still sitting in the courtroom. The next morning, the kids in their more in northern California, driving a rental car to family bridges. It wasn't what an expected it was now make a hollow. And it was like below, but it wasn't like a motel either it was not now I had expected like I was expecting like an official leg, plays an office or the coverage image in a hotel, the kids in their mother checked into adjoining rooms. The family bridges sessions took place in a conference room for four days. They only left the hotel for meals. Captive is a good way to describe that. I felt watched all the time. I felt that I,
Like trapped, family bridges was started under a different name in the early nineties by psychologist, name, Randy Rand. Two years before an Alex got to the programme, Doktor ran psychology. Licence was suspended for gross negligence and unprofessional conduct. He had testified another case that a child was severely alienated and should go to programme, even though he had never interviewed the child Anna said ran. Was there during her sessions, but doktor war. Shack, who testified in her case, ran the shell, random war. Shack declined to speak to us
Anna says they pushed the parental alienation angle hard and told her and Alex they couldn't leave the programme until they admitted their dad had brainwash them for some miraculous reason Alex, and I have two seconds alone I ran back. He walked on Isaac Alex. We need you fake it till we make it. This is LE, generating only way we're gonna get out of here. Whatever you think, they'd wanna hear tell it that might just be them anything that they wanna hear. Then he was. I almost wish to do that. As I I don't know. I dig deep like take out your inner actor in you and your site try to just act because we're not gonna leave otherwise, and it's like. If I act crackling you don't like I'm slack going home, we both need to be on the same page and then we walked back in after the break as literally two completely different kids, and so on
I walked out heroic. Oh my god, like hi mom, like how are you like fake nice everything the airplane worked, they would, along with everything warships said in the next week. There were back in New Jersey, but they still wouldn't want to see their dad remember. The judge ordered him not to contact his kids for ninety days and his dad says when that time was up. A different judge extended the no contact period another ninety days because he had to Anna Unscathed, a few times during the first order, but when the second ninety days were up, he still wasn't allowed to see his kids. That's because he'd appeal the case and the judge wouldn't lift the order until the appeal was resolved. It was very hard, the first year with absolutely horrible. I remember the few moss I don't even know how I did my job, that's Adrian. Instead, I had my
Friends that told me that I was completely out that they thought I'm going to. Basically, who knows, give up everything. So it looks bad from the outset so from my good friends that I had. The college. They told me that I was in a very bad shape for probably about six months or so Adrian's appeal dragged on in the night they know, contact order stretched into three years. Anna considers that whole part of her childhood lost. They felt very help lesson that there is nothing that I could do size site. Can I take a day by day and focus on school. I tried to not be in my mom's house as much as well well like I'd? Wake up go to school, come home. Do my homework in my room like this, my door shied. Most of all she, Mr Dead, my dad so lived in the same camp. I would see him like referring the game before my game or driving. Intellect I'd seem like through the car window.
Obviously I knew his car it was ago. We are like out about experience, seeing your dad fifty feet from you. Unlike knowingly, can talk to him. Say anything to him and usually go very like unspoken like we were just look at. It like I know, there's just kind of like I love you like I mean sea like I'll, see you soon type thing: two days after Alex turned eighteen. He moved back in with his father six weeks later, Anna Mom's house enjoyed your brother at her dad. She was still just sixteen. Her mom called the police to get in a bag. But they led her stay with her dad over. A few years. Since relationship with his mom has improved, but Anna still refuses to speak to her aunt S. Twenty now about start law, school social.
Can help kids caught up in parental alienation. Cases like hers when we come back. We're gonna, take a closer look at this controversial fear and here for the man who created it. My number one has to be to take the child. Remove the child from the indoctrinated you're listening to reveal from the centre for investigative reporting in p r. Unprecedented is a new pod cast about everyday Americans who pushed the boundaries of the first amendment. Can you post, threatening lyrics, from the centre for investigative reporting and p r eggs. This is revealed an election today, we're looking at family courts, I judges and children live with parents. They dont feel safe. With we heard
Anna and whether Alex and how a judge sent them to live with their mom, even though the kids accused her of being emotionally and physically abusive, the mom got custody because she in a cycle just convinced the judge that the dad and turned the kids against her that this was a case of parental alienation. I'm here with reveal reported pray Bundy to talk about that address here, so trip parental alienation. It's at the centre of the cases you're looking at the concept has been around a long time but I dont think most people know what it really is right, most people, if they ve heard of it at all, heard about it. In two thousand seven, the mother comes home, and the fungus turned off, and I dont speak to the child again for ten days. So that's how it Bob and talking with Rosier Donald and Barber Walter's on the view, he'd split up with his wife Kim Basinger, and they were in an ugly custody battle. Over their eleven year old Daughter, Ireland all been lifted,
is re, most people if they have heard of it at all, heard about it. In two thousand, seven the mother comes home and the fungus turned off and I dont think of the child again for ten days. So that's all it Baldwin talking with rosy O Donnell end Barber Walter's on the view here Now what you wanna Bowman's response was Go public single reason he exploded like that was because Basinger had turned their daughter against him and he became a spokesman for parental alienation
If I never acted again, I couldn't care less. I would like to devote myself to the cause of parental alienation, so ballot Baldwin gives his celebrity endorsement of this theory of parental alienation. But why does it play such a big role in child custody cases, partly because offer judges a solution to a complicated problem when they can't decide whose telling the truth about child abuse a psychologist comes in and offers them a blueprint, and judges sometimes take the word of a psychologist over other evidence like the testimony of children. So how long is parental alienation been around? They got started the nineteen eighties and it was first called parental alienation syndrome or p S. Ps- is the Charles diagnosis, the child parental alienation send that's doktor, richer, Gardner, a New York psychologists and he created parental alienation,
syndrome in his audio he's luxury lawyers and therapists back in eighteen. Ninety eight. He describes an epidemic of vindictive mothers, turning kids against their fathers and making false sexual abuse allegations. That was the foundation of Pierre S, a talks about in his lecture, and we should warn folks it gets a little graphic. Let's play a funny trick on them. Says mom to a seven year old, let's go in to the police station and you tell them the value play with your penis that'll be fine job. True story gardener argued that false allegations were rampant in custody cases. But he had zero evidence to prove that. In fact, most study see that more than ninety percent of child abuse allegations are to some extent true address. All this play out and court will family court is the only place, parental alienation ever really comes up and a lot of people think it shouldn't even come up there. It's never been accepted as a mental order by the American Psychiatric Association in Doktor garter, even
talked about it more as a legal strategy than a psychological condition, and he drew up a kind of playbook for using Pierre to counter child abuse allegations and get custody of the kids Read number one has to be to take the child the child from the indoctrinated. The indoctrinated is the so called alienated. The parent who says the king was abused when the child wants to live with. Two extremely restricted visitation by the for parent and the supervision of necessary events. Embarked formations again Gardener is saying to limit the time children spend with the parents they want to live with, and if that doesn't work, give primary custody to the alienated parent. The alienated parent is one accused of abuse right and he saying to give that parent, full custody and cut out the other parent yeah.
Just like what happened with an Alex. So what happens if the kids don't want to go along with the custody switch? Doktor gardener said that would just confirmed the PS diagnosis and he had a plan for that too. So an option- and I'm very serious about this- is to take can put him in jail a day or two juveniles she sat down my putting one criminals. The kid wants it. We, it is pretty much what the judge did to Alex when he didn't want to live with his mom. Pretty much. That's that's absolutely ridiculous! You're taking a child's already in the midst of a costly battle in traumatized them, even more yeah will go Nor had a lotta twisted ideas about kids. He said that adults having sex with kids as part of normal human sexuality. He wanted to abolish laws that require child abuse to be reported to authorities. He also The court should appoint tough therapists to deal with Purnell alienation cases, people who wouldn't be tempted to believe the child's allegations inside.
Tenderness. Sympathy. Empathy have no place in the treatment of clear gardener committed suicide in two thousand three and by then mental health experts had discredited his theories. They called it junk science, some states. Courts even ruled inadmissible but it didn't go away. A group of Judges, lawyers and psychologists still believed there was something to gardeners theory and went to work redefining it It decided it's not a mental health disorder and they change the name to parental alienation. Minus the syndrome. It's now an umbrella turned to explain why some kids reject their parents. Do we know how often parental alienation comes up in child custody cases theirs not much data on this, but I spoke with one
named Joan Meyer she's, a law professor George, Washington, University and she's finishing a national study on alienation cases. She studied fail the courts for twenty years and is written federal legislation on domestic violence was seeing terrible things happen. In the family courts and a lot of it seemed to be related to parental alienation defences. I call it a defence. Because it's usually raised by someone who is accused of abuse as a response to abuse claim. She says that defence is so dangerous, but she almost didn't wanna talk about it publicly. I am afraid to say it is a very good strategy which is part of my ambivalence about doing this interview, because I'm not trying to help abusers get out from under the implications of their abuse in custody. But it's a very
the strategy, that we should take a minute here to point out that, while the cases were looking at today, show involve mothers who are accused of abuse. Most of the time is the fathers and mothers are the ones losing their kids. We chose the stories we did because the kids in those cases are old enough to talk to us about their experiences. Joan Meyer study looked at more than three hundred cases where one parent was accused of abuse, and the other of parental alienation, the finding showed the claiming alienation raises, the odds that courts will dismiss abuse allegations in the alienating cases where, others defended with an aviation claim. Courts only believed one out of fifty one cases of reported child sexual abuse and in the physical child abuse. They believed only four out of twenty two claims of child abuse. It boils down to this. For parents countering allegations of child abuse, parental ill nation is a powerful tool and when judges make custody decisions, they tend to favour pair.
I who cry alienation. We have calculated that when fathers claim alienation as a defence, the claim of abuse there almost three times more likely to take stay away from the mother Joneses? Her data shows you're serious, still influencing family court judges, she's convinced colonel alienation is more about money that protecting kids. She points to the lawyers psychologists. Reunification programmes I dont have any color. In any of these reunification programmes. In effect, they give me the Willie's for a number of reasons. There is no proof that it works there. Some anecdotal evidence is very destructive to children and there's really no justification for these programmes they didn't they make money and they further the thing: hurry that alienation is a thing that abuses often false and that we can you're it and make a lot of money in the process. So it's it's a cottage.
Industry that a lot of people are making a lot of money off on the backs of children and unprotected. Parents who have suffered a lot so Jake she's talking about reunification camps like family bridges right? That's right! That's where and in her brother, were sent with a judge, gave custody to their mother? No one from fairly bridges would talk to us did talk to a woman named Rebecca Bailey. She runs a reunification, program called transitioning families in California, but before we hear from her let's hear from a young woman who went there a few years back, calling her Melanie coal, we're not using her real name, because she did gonna be identified as a victim of abuse. I met her in two thousand seven. At her fathers office in Miami it's two days after thanks and Melanie Something college she's. Nineteen study, mechanical engineering and an Ivy league school five years ago. She was
in the middle of a nasty custody battle. She says her mother nanny was emotionally abusive. She says it got so bad, she kept running away from our moms house. One time she was gone more than two months, the main actors of me actually running away and leaving what drove me to that point as I actually had guards watching. My room as I slept, I had no door and my windows were bordered with would just like within and Alex a psychologist said: Molly was the victim of parental illegally, and that her dad had brainwashed her into believing her mom and mistreated her Melanie the judge, a letter begging to live with her dad in her best fourteen year old prose, she wrote my mom screamed at me so much I started getting panic attacks. I wanted to kill myself just to make the pain go away. Please consider my needs and let me live with my father.
Those completely powerless. My letter did nothing meeting with the judged and nothing no one listens to me. Child protective services had looked at Milanese case and found her allegations credible. Still, the judge took the word of the psychologist custody to Tony's mom any sent into transitioning families to work on their relationship. They told it's only gonna be five days Melanie held tied to that promise. She flew with her mom to California. She didn't want to go, but everyone was telling her. It was the right thing to do. You know it sounds. There's horses, I've been riding for twelve years. I love forces on and there's cooking a bunch of other things and it just fine. These with your mom. You know, I think you should go and you, you'll be back here soon and will figure this out when they arrive Transitioning families they found a beautiful setting, rents normal one country and a retired cop D. Have retired police officers searched her on my stuff to make sure that there was
the phone there, and then I had no access to internet either. Each day Molly had therapy sessions with her mother and three psychologists. You said they mostly talked about personal alienation and how she was a victim of it. They purposely tell kids what it is they make you. Educational videos about alienation and brainwash I mean I I tried out- But you can, you can argue with that, because you it's fun people against one kid: how do you argue with? I am fourteen Melanie says: Doktor Bailey and the other therapists insisted she was Regional transitioning family is kind of tried to talk me out, Certain memories are events and the beginning there, and I think it took them a while to realize that we weren't going get anywhere. With that some days she just tried to block everyone out. I saw a member towards the beginning of therapy, something
there were times where everyone around me was hitting me so hard with information that I started covering my ears and yelling soldiers couldn't hear them anymore and they keep going, and I felt like that, Philip ten minutes, it sounds more like a cop than a therapist at times Yes, I can agree with that at times. I think that's what led me into covered my ears, sometimes some, because at that point it wasn't. Thereupon anymore, I was kind of like grilling. When we got to certain events that my mom would attest to, I was told them My memory was not accurate and that a lot of times my dad it in the captain serviced at times. Yes, I can agree with that. At times, Five days, transitioning families came and went. Bailey and Milanese mom tolerable. Time to go home? Yet today's became weeks the excuse of what
A lot of times was that the court memories we worked out where they want me to go when I come back, and so I was just stay there and keep working on my mom's relationship until we figured out what they're going to do is make us? No one knew all this time Melanie couldn't talk to her brother or any relatives on her dad side of the family. She had occasional supervised phone calls with her dad this is Doctor Billy and her staff would stop them. Whenever he asked about the programme, remember Melanie was told she would only be there. Five days, I was explain what we might be here. A little longer and I kept getting. Ought to her brother or any relatives on her dad side of the family. She had occasional, supervised phone calls with. At the end of those ten months many more central to a boarding school, because her mom had for custody Melanie in her dad. We're rarely allowed to speak at a handful of foam,
calls and they alone visits with no other contact for four years. I don't think ripping a child. Parents and family members and siblings. For years can be best for anyone honestly. So Melanie says Ordeal was really about healing. It was more about business and when I say the business I mean the family court business, so therapists, lawyers, judges and unfortunately, these people dont, look it In my opinion, don't look at kids like where people with feelings melodies, first five days, a transition, families costume when he nine thousand dollars, we found cases with a programme charged forty five thousand dollars for the same amount of time. In the end Milanese ten months day, it transitioning families costs the coals two hundred and fourteen thousand dollars.
And there was an emotional price to looking back at my life. That is the saddest thing to me that I kind of lost out on my childhood. I lost out on my father. I lost it on my brother being there and I lost out on all the other family members, and it's is really sad and that's something that's going to haunt me forever and they that to me, after Melanie was sent to a boarding school. Her mom and Doktor Billy were not ready to cut ties. They worked together to open. A new Reunification camp in Miami next day has some questions for Doktor Bailey about Do you ever worry that reunited reuniting abuse it, I think, I think I would challenge not. This is reveal Therefore investigative reporting and pr eggs
Ex tray has some questions for Doktor Bailey about our program. You ever worry that year, reuniting incompetent abuse it in. I think from the centre for investigative reporting in p r. Ex this is reveal a mallet story. We just heard from Melanie. Coal is an example of the family court system, sticking kids with parents. They dont want to be with According to Melanie the ten months she spent with her mom at a reunification program cause more pain than healing reporter Trey Bundy went to talk to the woman who ran the cat doctor Rebecca Bailey. She agreed to talk on the condition that we didn't ask her about specific cases. Trade picks up the story after Billy started transitioning families in two thousand six and despite
I heard from many and other families. Bailey has some boosters. In fact, for a psychologist, she's kind of famous this is She do words therapists, Doktor, Rebecca Bailey, who says you have to stare fear in the face until cannot hurt you any more. Bailey was the therapies for Jason to guard she's. The men who was kidnapped in the nineties and tortured for eighteen years before her rescue May National NEWS Bailey appear, but to guard on talk shows like Doktor OZ and twenty twenty with Diane swear. Doktor vaguely owns the ranch. Why Animals are used to help victims of trauma, learn their own strength. I meet doktor bill. He had a property and Sonoma County and Northern California. One country it's where she lives and runs report. Graham, but when I arrive, the house is gone burned down in the twenty seventeen North Bay wildfires, there is to be a house here now the house here
so I wonder how this thing survived. This is all back house here as I walked toward it. I see Doktor Bailey, she's, fine Your phone call in heading my way having a little voice. Great, oh, my dear little he's got injured, an hour ago, Doktor Billy's Intermit Fifty's, she's long brown, hair and a confident, demeanor she's, not unfriendly, which is all business talking. The injured horse and reminding me not to ask her about any of her clients like any doktor. She has to protect their confidentiality. She introduced me to three of her colleagues and we all crammed into a tiny room connected to the horse stable to get out of the wind thousand, really know about the best grand adventure I believe this we get started in as soon as I mentioned, Doktor Billy's Reunification programme. She corrects me,
I think the word reunification is over use of their programme. Its reintegration reunification, basic family therapy see harsher before talking to our traditional models: dont, really so well with families in conflict. You talk a little bit about what different. Your bottle behind came up with it, so the traditional those are the sacred dynamic talk base face to face we're talking more about the experience all in some kind of behavioral techniques for self soothing mindfulness. Doktor Billy uses a lot affair, be terms in her answers, some of its tough to understand what I want to know is whether there is any evidence that our programme actually works. The evidence based material comes from the trauma field and. One of the issues with programmes they do intensive is the criteria for what is the it is.
What are we trying to achieve is mixed all over the board. The key phrase an explanation is evidence based. It's been a buzzword. The mental health field for a long time is used to give treatment programmes, legitimacy. It means that a practice has been observed by experts who gather data and measure results. Doktor Bailey says: transitioning. Families is built on evidence, base therapy method I want to know what the data says about her programme. There's a lot of programs out there in my mind. They have not have made great claim. Based on their own data analysis, and so we have to. In two areas side of not putting data analysis out there. We say the chosen, not appropriate analysis out there in the data has been some data analysis regarding now have no, no no good quest, we're in queue for a group at the University of Toronto to look at the families? But the challenge
then and you'll see this in the research. The challenges been apples to oranges What are we saying these programmes do Doktor Bailey says she's handled about two hundred and fifty high conflict custody cases. I've talked with a half dozen parents whose kids were sent transitioning families without them all unsatisfied customers, but Bailey, says mode, the family. She worked with. Don't fall into that category, typically, by the end of the first day they relax in it because we do any Jijiu magic? It's it's in a week. Some good, solid, concrete work. I ask her. She can put me in touch with some clients who could talk about that, but she says no doing that would violate ethical guidelines. But she insists families. We spoken to or outliers in a very, very minute piece of this people that you will have a kid. Maybe that leaves here and says it was terrible was miserable. I was so unhappy and that's about the extreme loyalty
flat bind in the pressure these kids get into the families. We ve talked to say it's Doktor Bailey, who puts pressure on kids, but she tried to convince them. They ve been alienated. Remember a lot of. Or health community doesnt by into parental alienation, so ask her whether she thinks it's a real disorder. It is a cluster of thumbs, and there are certain cases where there appears to be a cluster symptoms, it may be supporting resistance contact resistance, but We use contact resistance, more than alienation, it's hard to cut through the semantics here. But what you say is theories about parental alienation are still evolving, and so are the names for it She does acknowledge that parental alienation has been weapon eyes by parents, fighting abuse allegations, but she says transitioning families doesn't work with a piece of parents. There's a question mark enough. We won't take em. So when you say to a kid who
was now in your programme and says I was abused Maybe I was abusing nobody believes me or not. I want to be with his parents right now in this reunification situation, because I'll feel safer and this person or they were abusive. What do you say to that? Can I think that the abuse peace? Is it such a small part of the work that we do, such a small if we consciously in our hearts in our perspective in our clinical opera information had a concern about a parent. Of course. We would report it. Of course, We would would make a statement to who cps Do you ever worry that year reunited gave us an abuse it. I think I think I would challenge
of course we I mean even in outpatient therapy, when you have an unsubstantiated case, you use think about it, but with what Italy would a keg into specific, cases, but I would honestly taken that I would I would Oh is that assertion its frustrating that we can talk about the specific cases I'm looking at the ones with apparent or angry because they lost their kids. Appoint Doktor Bailey makes over and over is that you really wants to help those parents, but sometimes there too, unstable to work with so unstable. She says that few psychologists are willing to do this work. I think it's. There is a relatively small group, because people get scared out of this.
Killed because a litigious aid is the wild west. It needs to be better regulated. It needs to be looked at responsibly and their does need to be support for the practitioners they come like. I believe we do from a very ethical perspective straight. It sounds like doktor, barely fix or industry is under siege, yeah she's totally frustrated with somebody's parents, but they ve lost, he's nasty custody, fights and other dumping all of their anger under her programme? And yes, I told you that she doesn't work with parents if there's a hint that there was some sort of abuses. Is it true? It doesn't seem clear. She wouldn't talk about specific cases with me, no, that child protective services in Miami believe melodies allegations against her mom. I also know of another case where the judge didn't whether a father had abused his daughters, but he sent them all to Doktor Billy's programme anyway. So how many reunification
programs like Baileys are there in the? U S, that's hard to say There is really no regulation of these programmes. We looked at five of them in her the same complaints that we heard about transitioning families that they favour parents over kids. They insist Children have been alienated and their expensive doctrine we actually has a better reputation and most of them, and she was the only one who would talk to us in defend her programme MRS expensive, but she says she does pro bono work sometimes with families can afford to pay so attorneys a psychotic. These are making money on these high conflict. Costly cases but aren't judges responsible for a lot of stuff. I mean they're in charge of the court's. They decide whether not believe the kids and they send the kids to these reunified.
Two programmes that right and I had a really interesting interview with the Miami judge. He sent Melanie Cold Doktor Billy's program, you burned out, you're frustrated. The system is not built to handle high conflict cases, especially alienation cases that big gruff voice belongs to judge Leon foretell. He spent eight years on the bench and family port and has that I've seen it all kind of confidence is easy to imagine and presiding over a quorum. He says he became so frustrated during melodies case that he left family court. He said he'd rather preside over criminal trials than any more Kay is like the coals. I mean there's a lot of things that you say that you think, but for You just speak it on the record yeah. I must have been very frustrated. Custody cases are always a channel
but had allegations of child abuse and parental alien nation. To that wow. That's a mess. Foretell says he dealt with that mess by leaning on psychologist to help and make decisions like whether to believe that children were alienated are actually abused. They see a child for avi generous half an hour, ok, they see a mother for half an hour and they see a father for half an hour on the beach, it is about. They come back with an opinion to tell me of the child is or is not. Alienated and in this is what's wrong, or this is was right. Like a lotta judges, He went to seminars. We're psychologists, encouraged him to consider parental alienation as a valid argument. Court. What do you say to people whose this is just made up. This is just for abusers to get out of abuse accusations It was created by a guy. Who is a questionable psychologist we'll? What would you say?
people who said it did just isn't real into you. Come too You see one of these deals and see the people talk to the mother and talk to the father, then talk to the children tell me that if that doesn't exist exists, and then you will put the kid with parent. They don't want to be with you them in that world? And that was the answer. From richer gardener back in the eighties, when it came up with us, so doesn't seem like its change too much in the last thirty years. That's a general plan you another one I have discussed the issue with lawyers, judges and mental health professionals over the years
We are not alone try and that we don't have a better solution in Melanie case Patel believed her dad alienated her from her mom and ordered her to Doktor Baileys Reunification Are you aware of any researcher evidence that says it Family Reunification programmes are effective. They actually work in terms of healing relationships between parents and key who do not want to see them. I am not aware of any such research because its it is experimental. It's not that like and are you you're gonna fix a broken arm? This is what you do Ask him about Melanie specifically if you knew she was a Bailey's camp for ten months instead of five days, but they took her phone kept her out of school and cut her off from her family and friends, or that she barely saw her dad.
For four years. I didn't know until you when I talked that she was therefore, but she was there for longer than a week or two foretell says most judges dont know these programmes are really like, the no phones, no contact the extended. How long how successful. Those programmes are, I dont, think the judges in general, though there are four tell says, family court was the toughest job he ever have. He go home and weakens and stew over his disease, now he's clearly bothered by what is learning about Milanese case Now, I'm sorry, I wonder whether the that's the rights, ocean in the first place. Whether we should really be doing that to achieve that He doesn't want to be with the other parents. Are we playing guide and and trying to get the child to be reunified, with apparent that there
that they themselves believe that they don't want to have a contact with Melanie call still working on our relationship with her mother. She says the times spent at the Reunification Camp was good practice for how to keep things civil between her and her mouth, but the transitioning families didn't heal her emotions, Judge Patel, says the big problem. In the family courts is. It is not enough time money or training to deal with the complexity parental alienation cases they straight Bundy for bringing story and his reporting partner Whitney to read more about the debate Parental alienation subscribed to our newsletter. By going to
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Transcript generated on 2019-12-19.